Originally posted on Moonshine Arts magazine.
Amulet (Book 1) The Stone Keeper
GRAPHIX (January 1, 2008)
Amulet, a graphic novel by Kazu Kibuishi (Flight, Daisy Kutter), is geared towards the 9-12 age group. However, the novel will captivate anyone that begins to read it as they are swept along a moving story with beautiful illustrations. This is book one of a scheduled five part series
Our young heroine Emily witnesses the death of her father in the opening pages of this novel. Time passes and Emily, her mother, and her brother Nevin move into the home of their missing great grandfather. It’s an older home, unlived in since his disappearance many years ago and full of dust bunnies and shadows. While exploring the house Emily discovers her great grandfather’s study, with an amulet hidden in secret panel. But, there are more secrets lurking within the house, one that soon ensnares Emily’s mom. She’s dragged from the basement by a tentacle through an open door and Emily and Nevin must go on a rescue mission. They are taken to another world, with nothing to guide them, but the voice of the amulet. Along the way they encounter demons, robots, and talking animals. The amulet leads them to a house, where they find their great grandfather and some of his creations. With the help of Misket, a rabbit robot, Emily and Nevin set out to find their mother, and learn more about their family’s history, their great-grandfather, and the amulet that Emily found in his study. The amulet’s motives are unclear. Does it have the best interest of Emily and her family in mind? And where will the next adventure take them?
This story captivates the reader from the beginning. The reader is compelled to feel for the characters of the story, from Emily witnessing the death of her father to watching her mom being dragged away by some unknown creature. Although this is only the first part of the series the reader gets a true sense of the characters, their feelings, and their emotions and is left hanging at the end of this book and wanting more.
What really sells the story are the illustrations as they capture and convey the moods of the characters and their surroundings. The drawings have a light airy quality to them, with a simple, but moody, color palette to show off the extensive use of shadows to convey emotions of the character in graphic detail. The reader is never left wanting or wondering what the characters are thinking, the colors clearly display what they feel—the age of the great-grandfather is written into the lines on his face, the fear and courage of Emily as she seeks to save her what’s left of her family. As the story progresses a darker palette is used and we are left wanting the lighter colors to return. Something unique about the drawings is that when the story first begins the characters almost look undefined. While we can read their emotions they are merely shapes on a page. However, as the story progresses they gain more depth and emotion.
This novel is a must read. A strong young heroine, with monsters and robots as well, enough to keep any crowd entertained. The moving illustrations and compelling story make this a great read and the book is highly recommended for all ages.