La Isabela or Jakob Kayne is a graphic novel written by Sylvian Runberg and illustrated by Mateo Guerrero had a fascinating premise, following the quests of two brothers who set out to improve upon the world as a result of their own experiences. With one brother a healer and blind, Jakob himself is a memory-eater, which basically equates to having a face that no one can recall ever seeing once they’ve looked away from it. The story takes place in the time of war and Jakob sets out to save a family by first curing the daughter of a dreadful illness and then safely leading them from within the walls of a city under siege, an incredible task as he first must sneak into the city in order to find them.
I really enjoyed reading this graphic novel, though I will admit that it felt as though it ended too quickly. Imagine an episode of a brand new show that really only introduces you to the world and a few characters, briefly touching on the bigger picture but not much else and leaves you with a massive cliffhanger at the end that, while a cliffhanger, makes whatever is going to happen next within the tale fairly obvious. That’s pretty much how I feel about this story. And, to be completely fair, I think a lot of graphic novels can fall into this trap as it can sometimes be difficult to tell an entire story within the confines of a novel like this. That said, I’ve seen graphic novels do it incredibly well and I left La Isabela; Jakob Kayne feeling as though I’d been cheated out of the whole story, despite the fact that I did deeply enjoy the bit of story that I was given.
I imagine I’ll probably pick up the next volume when it arrives, though I have no real indication as to when that may be, especially as this was originally written in French. I do wish that there had been more to it, but I did enjoy what was there. The premise and ideas behind the tale were quite intriguing and definitely enough to keep my attention for a long time, and so what I think it really comes down to is that I didn’t feel that there was enough story within the graphic novel. Hopefully the next one will come sooner than I picture it will.
I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.