Review. Kurtis J. Wiebe, Rat Queens vol. 1

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned the BookTube SFF Awards and the shortlisted books I set myself to read. One of the categories listed is Graphic Novels and while I am not the biggest fan of the graphic works, I wanted to read them nonetheless since I’ve heard a lot of good things about the nominees.
The first nominee, scheduled for August, was Sass & Sorcery, the first volume in the Rat Queens series.

Who are the Rat Queens?
A pack of booze-guzzling, death-dealing battle maidens-for-hire, and they’re in the business of killing all god’s creatures for profit.
It’s also a darkly comedic sass-and-sorcery series starring Hannah the Rockabilly Elven Mage, Violet the Hipster Dwarven Fighter, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric and Betty the Hippy Smidgen Thief. This modern spin on an old school genre is a violent monster-killing epic that is like Buffy meets Tank Girl in a Lord of the Rings world on crack!

As per usual when reviewing, I start with the plot and here lies my biggest issue with this installment. There is a good amount of worldbuilding and a great backdrop for the characters is being set out, but the story itself felt a little flimsy to me. Sure enough, it was fun and all, but it lacked some depth to it and an overarching idea. The last few pages hinted to something more, and as such the whole volume felt like one big set-up for what’s to come. What we did get, was a fun romp of a heist with lots of action and a whole lot of humour.
diverse and spunky
The main attraction here are the main characters, the Rat Queens. Oh how fun they are! These women were so fun to read about, their humour, the sass, … It was great to see such a diverse and spunky cast, composed of fierce women who have all the agency one can wish for. Their personalities are as diverse as their appearance and each and every one of them is likeable in her own way. Still, I couldn’t help but favour Hannah. Every little thing she did was magic, and she’s not even the sorceress of the bunch. Neither of them is afraid of some strong language, but Hannah has the foulest most of them all and I like her for that. It gave her that extra bit of oomph. Diversity is key here, and the same goes for the other characters. Even though they are barely fleshed out, they form a nice addition to the world.
Another standout here are the graphics. The bigger panels were simply stunning and vibrant. The smaller panels were rather rough around the edges, but it didn’t bother me all that much.

Sass & Sorcery displayed why I’m not that big on graphic novels. There was just not enough body to the story to draw me in and when I was done, I couldn’t help but thinking ‘Was this it?’. Still, the characters were a happy bunch and I quite enjoyed myself reading it, so despite its shortcomings, I’ll be reading the next one in due time.

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Put your own sass in the sorcery! Buy your copy here.


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