PLOT The year is 1986 and Kenzo Tenma, a Japanese genius surgeon working in post-Cold War Germany, has a bright future admired by his colleagues, loved by his patients, and due to marry his boss’ daughter, Eva Heinemann. Doctor Tenma is faced with a decision…saving an orphaned boy’s life or save the mayor of Dusseldorf, whose recovery would raise the hospital’s status as one of the best. The complication is the boy came in first. Just as Tenma is about to operate, he’s ordered to help the mayor. His decision will change his life forever.

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What makes a great manga? Is it the epic fight scenes? Is it the undying love story that carries our two central characters? Is it the fantasy world that becomes a setting we all fall in love with?

Monster Vol. 1 has a sever lack of fight scenes, a story that isn’t centred around love and a world that is set in a German hospital. But still…Monster Vol. 1 is one of the best Manga novels I’ve ever read. If you’re looking for an intense, incredibly written manga, then head to your local Waterstones now and treat yourself to Monster.

Monster’s story is the aspect that it excels the most in. It features an intellectual and complex story that has you flicking from page to page within seconds. It’s a manga you feel like you just can’t put down.

They say never judge a book by its cover but I must admit when I first saw the manga on the shelf among hundreds of others, its cover is what attracted it to me.

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Released by Viz Media (Naruto, One Punch Man), Monster Vol. 1 introduces us to many unique and memorable characters, shocking twists and turns along with deep morals and ideas that serve as a common theme throughout.

The first few chapters are a slow burn – establishing the setting and the cast of characters, making us wonder when the drama will arrive. It feels like reading a novel dedicated more to Grey’s Anatomy than a manga. However, this all changes around Chapter 5, when the book raises the stacks and offers us a more thrilling and exciting premise.

I guarantee this is the point you’ll be hooked. Some plot points may seem bizarre at first, but that confusion is soon cleared up as you read on.

Our main character, doctor Kenzo Tenma, is compelling and extremely likeable. He is one of the most fleshed out and developed character you can find,  and there’s always reasoning behind his actions and the fast thinker serves as a hero for the surrounding characters and the reader.

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From the first few chapters you would never predict that you see him grow from a young doctor with all the potential to a man who looks as though he hasn’t washed or seen a barber in at least two months.

Monster Vol. 1 is a great, if not outstanding, novel to introduce a manga series. The story is fantastic, the writing is masterful at points, the main characters are complex and compelling, the artwork just as good, and it’s only volume one. It sets up a magnificent tale of suspense, thrills and constant shocks. If I was asked to compare it to another manga then I wouldn’t shy away of mentioning it in the same sentence as Death Note. It offers a similar suspense and crime story that is so cleverly written it’s hard to predict what will happen next.

Whether you’re new to manga or have a collection in the hundreds, Monster appeals to any type of reader.

5/5

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