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Hugo Nominees 2015 — Rat Queens: Sass and Sorcery


Let me preface this by saying I’m far from an expert on graphic novels. I’ve read some of Buffy Season 8 (but found it too weird for my tastes), and, more recently, some of the Fables series (until it got too disturbing), but after a few failed attempts, I’d concluded that I’m simply “not a comic book person.”

And then I read Rat Queens.

I ended up devouring the entire thing in one go.

The back of the book describes the series as “Buffy meets Tank Girl in a Lord of the Rings world on crack.” But I’m not sure this description does it justice. It’s a Dungeons and Dragons-esque quest and monsters fantasy, except it’s about an all-female team of total badasses who joke and fight and scheme their way through life and have more personality in their little fingers than anyone in the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The dialogue is laugh-out-loud funny. The art style is just plain gorgeous to look at. And the characters… the characters! There’s Hannah, the reckless elf mage with a very short temper, Betty the Smidgen (like a halfling) who loves girls, sweets, being adorable and breaking and entering, Dee, the atheist introvert cleric, and Violet, the rebel dwarf fighter who shaved off her beard to make a statement but might just regrow it now everyone is copying her.

The secondary characters also have a lot of life to them, and the comic is bursting with diversity — diversity in skin color, in sexuality, in fantasy races (female orcs! Female trolls!), and even just in body type and general look. None of that “all female faces are alike” Disney thing here. They’re all different, and they’re all badass in their own way.

I was absorbed into their world within a couple of pages, and by the end, I was converted from a reluctant comic book reader to someone absolutely desperate to see what would happen next.

A very funny, tongue-in-cheek take on D&D adventure, that somehow also manages to have a strong emotional heart. I need the next volume immediately.


Rhiannon Thomas is the author of A WICKED THING and KINGDOM OF ASHES. She lives in York, England.

One thought on “Hugo Nominees 2015 — Rat Queens: Sass and Sorcery

  1. I’m glad to hear it’s so good! Rat Queens has been on my radar for some time as I’m following the DeviantArt works of one of the artists involved. Though I found the artwork amazing, I’ve stayed away so far mostly for the same reason as you – I’m not much of a graphic novel person. I pushed through the Buffy Seasons 8, 9, and parts of 10 just because I love Buffy, and I needed to know what happens, but I admit at points I was tempted to just read the summary and be done with it.

    I think the only comic books I’ve enjoyed in the past few years have been the Avatar: The Last Airbender comics, which are, like Buffy, a continuation of the original series. I guess it’s much easier to get into a comic book based on an animation since the characters look the same, and the stories stayed in the same spirit as the series. I’d recommend the comic books if you ever watch the show (which you should!)

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