Rat Queens, Volume 1 : Sass and Sorcery – Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch

Rat Queens

Like many of the graphic novels I have been reading this one was passed to me by a colleague, it was something she thought I would enjoy and let’s be honest a graphic novel about four strong female characters is right up my street. Rat Queens follows a group of mercenary, trouble making, alcohol drinking girls who are sent on a quest to clear out some troll infested hills when they are ambushed by an assassin; someone wants them dead.

All the girls are different and each has a special ability that they can bring to the group. Betty is a ‘a hippy smidgen thief’, Violet is a ‘hipster dwarven fighter’, Hannah is a ‘rockabilly elven mage’ and Dee is an ‘atheist human cleric’.  I really liked Hannah because she was such a badass in the plot; she made some impulsive decisions which brought some fun and crazy aspects to the novel. I also like Dee because of her honesty and approach to religion; she also possessed an amazing power as she could heal using her hands over a wound. Betty was fun and sweet; her character really surprised me when the girls were faced with a challenge as the sweet hippy smidgen turned into a violent, skilful fighter. Finally Violet is a very interesting character as she seems grounded and I found her to be the most human of all the girls in her mannerisms and personality.

As the plot is set in an other-worldly town, it can go in any direction and I found this unpredictability encouraging when reading the graphic novel. I read it in one sitting as it was full of action and I really enjoyed the different species and individuality of the characters as this once again added to the mystery of where the plot was going.

The dialogue in this graphic novel was humorous and I actually found myself laughing out loud at points. These girls are honest, they don’t hold back anything they need to say and they are confident and even cocky at times. They reminded me a bit of Alana from the Saga graphic novels with her confident and sassy attitude. I also loved the appearance of the girls as they were all shapes and sizes creating realistic characters, or as realistic as it’s going to get when elves and dwarfs come together. Also different sexual preferences are represented in the plot too and I was really surprised how much was in this novel given it was only the first volume, Wiebe really represented different areas of society in a handful of pages.

The images were colourful and very well drawn, it was an attractive book to read and observe throughout. The layout was unique in certain parts of the plot as some of the illustrations blended into each other along with the dialogue. From the very first page the reader is landed in the middle of action with the girls assigned a mission. They are one of many groups in their town so the plot is filled with fun and intriguing characters. This is definitely a series I want to continue with, I want to read more about the characters and see what direction the plot will go in next.

I gave Rat Queens 4 out of 5 stars on goodreads, it was a great read and one I would definitely recommend to those interested in graphic novels. This is perfect for someone searching for a plot with strong female characters and fantasy combined in one place.



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