Amulet at first glance is another in a long line of “chosen one” adventure books. Don’t let that give you pause. We’ve all read Harry Potter, Lemony Snicket, Percy Jackson and a host of others, but by the third page I realized that in no uncertain terms Amulet: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibushi is a phenomenal graphic novel. Now I know I’m late to the party with this one. The series began in 2008 with this first book, Amulet: The Stonekeeper, and in 2016 is publishing the 7th volume of the series (Firelight)! Here’s the gist of volume one.
Several years after a family tragedy Emily Hayes, her younger brother Navin, and their mother, Karen, move from the city to their mother’s ancestral home. The home had belonged to Karen’s grandfather, Silas, long missing and presumed dead. Emily discoveres that all is not how it appears and she is launched into an adventure full of danger and excitement.
So yea, chosen one, hero’s journey, we get it, been there read that. Much to my amazement Amulet puts a refreshing spin on that formula. Sure Emily loses a parent and her life is turned upside down by change after change, but she, and subsequently the story, never feels hopeless. Emily never acts as though she would give up. In the same token this 12 year old definitely exudes the common traits of her age. She has (mild) temper tantrums, and she get scared, and she gets defiant. Her defiance is what drives this tale, her resistance to being led informing her decisions. How will that help, or ultimately hurt her, is the fun of the story.
The only thing I can find fault with is that occasionally Emily and her brother Navin are a bit too good. I have children the same ages and by god I hope they’d stand up ages and work together the way these two do, but I doubt it would go quite as smoothly.
Kazu Kabushi’s art has an innocent quality and yet at times the images he uses are downright frightening. His character designs lead the reader down the path we need to travel, some characters are surprisingly against type (or are they) and some are exactly what you’d expect, and it works very well.
Amulet: The Stonekeeper gets an enthusiastic 5 out of 5. Go get this one, it is worth your time.
Amulet – The Stone keeper was originally published in 2008 by scholastic and can be purchased from the scholastic website, amazon.com, or at you local Barnes and Noble (if you can find one.) Want to try before you buy? Check out a preview here. And be sure to explore the rest of Scholastic’s wonderful Amulet website, they have character description, games, a comic maker, you should totally check it out.
Have you read Amulet? Let us know your thoughts in the comments…