Bezkamp by Samuel Sattin and illustrated by Jen Hickman was interesting. In a world where history and the written word are basically condemned to the point that it is outright banished, the son of a warrior on a planet filled with terrifying aliens finds himself more fascinated with learning about what came before than he is in following in his father’s footsteps. As everyone in the society sort of falls into their given roles, Nem rebels from his as much as he is able under the tutelage of his father and aunts until one day an unexpected disaster strikes that changes everything.
I was honestly kind of blown away by Bezkamp. From the deterioration of both the society’s education and language, you’re not quite sure what to expect from this story but as it progresses and piece by piece the truths of the world are revealed, you’re left with a story that’s actually quite brilliant. While admittedly a number of plot points are somewhat easily predicted, you still find yourself invested in the story and the characters.
As Nem stumbles through his shocking adventure, he happens upon a young girl who has sort of been left on her own in the world but holds many answers that he has been searching for. And together they continue on a journey to answer even more. What was most shocking to me, in fact, was how much I did care about what happened to the people of Bezkamp, a name that I didn’t quite understand until later on in the graphic novel. It was one of those lightbulb moments for me, which was genuinely fun to experience.
The ending was, unfortunately, a bit rushed in the hope of tying up loose ends and leaving this graphic novel as a standalone, which I don’t think was necessary. I feel as though this story would have worked far better with a sequel or perhaps a little bit more of a transition and less of an all-happy ending. Conflicts were resolved far too quickly for it to really be believable and a time jump just feels contrived.
The artwork worked for me, though I wouldn’t say I was blown away by everything. While the characters were excellently drawn, the aliens were quite odd and the landscape somewhat bare. Ultimately, however, this didn’t really affect much with my ability to enjoy the story. I’m actually rather fond of it all as a whole and I appreciated the fact that areas in which battles and wounds were depicted weren’t too terribly graphic or disturbing, though one scene did stand out to me as slightly uncomfortable.
All in all, I’m definitely glad I got a chance to read this one.
I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.