ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED THROUGH INDIE ENGINE: IE LINK
Beastlands takes an idea we’ve seen visited before but finds a unique voice in presenting it. In this gorgeous book we get a fantasy tale featuring powerful beasts that are friends, act as guardians, or are teammates. The adventure centers around the rash decision of a king that sees the beloved ‘Keepers’ (the beasts) outlawed to the point of kill on sight. Why? Well, he suffers a deep personal loss and feels that it was the responsibility of the Keeper as they failed to do its job. There’s more rash decision making as we’re introduced to a boy that is on the hunt for his dad. The problem is that the father is constantly on the move and continuously stays a step ahead of the search party. Seemingly falling further behind the pace the kid, Mac, decides to send away his Keeper and his friends. This leads to a further mystery when after failing yet again, Mac returns to the camp to find that his Keeper is still gone. Now they’ve got to go find the keeper and fall further behind catching his father.
Overall the book looks excellent. This is easily one of the best looking self published efforts I’ve seen. One of the best aspects of the art is that it fits the story and atmosphere extremely well. There are subtle changes in tone and color throughout that truly enhance the book. I love the look and feel of the design choices for the humans and the Keepers alike. More so than that, the purpose and thoughtful decision making that has gone into the driving aspects of the characters shines through. I was surprised at just how much this book felt like it had a major publisher logo slapped on the front of it.
There are elements and clear indications of a much bigger world at play. It’s hard to balance the minutia while also providing the larger context and Beastlands manages to hit on both. I do feel that some of the smaller scale (not read less important) aspects suffered a bit due to the effort put into the bigger aspects. It is a first issue and a brand new world, idea, narrative, etc. It has quite a bit too do in order to nab the reader and make them want to come back for more. For my money it absolutely does do that even with some (expected) hiccups. Overall there is much more to like and draw you in with this book than there is to bother you.
Simply put, I liked the book. There’s definitely quite a bit of story to tell and plenty more in depth takes on our characters to explore. This book is clearly just getting going and I would certainly like to see where this goes.
Head over to Kickstarter and see for yourself and back the campaign: Beastlands on KS
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