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Amulet: Book Two - The Stonekeeper's Curse

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Amulet: Book Two - The Stonekeeper's Curse

Credits

  • Words: Kazu Kibuishi
  • Art: Kazu Kibuishi
  • Colors: Kazu Kibuishi, Amy Kim Kibuishi, Anthony Go Wu, et. al.
  • Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic, Inc.
  • Price: $10.99
  • Release Date: Sep 2, 2009

Amulet is a homage to the great fantasies of the twentieth century. It is also a heart-warming tale about the importance of family.

Navin and Emily travel deep into the world of Alledia with their great grandfather’s inventions in tow. They are intent on saving their mother, but quickly learn that a world needs them to secure freedom from the tyranny of the Elves’ rule. While fighting the evil hordes of elves, they learn to pilot houses and harness magical amulets, going from one dangerous quest to the next.

Kazu Kibuishi takes the best of Star Wars, Narnia, Mimzy and the work of Miyazaki, throws in a little del Toro and Mignola to taste, and creates a fun filled fantasy for the younger set. Like Jeff Smith’s Bone, this story is squarely aimed at 9-12 year olds who have become independent readers, but it should also be an engaging read for kids of, well, more advanced age.

Like Mice Templar, this is a tale that creates something new and exciting by stirring up the ideas of older lore in a big old pot. While creating this book, Kibuishi has compared himself to a DJ, and considering the mash up on display here, it is an apt analogy. Like the best alchemists of homage, the joy Amulet takes in its source material doesn’t make it a lesser work as much as the familiarity allows it to breathe with a different vitality. The connections to the reader are made all the quicker and the story can move on.

Don’t be lulled in by the book’s cute characters and bright colors. This volume is a darker book than the introductory episode. The elves take on a more menacing place here and the king of the elves would be at home in either Hellboy II or Pan’s Labyrinth.

Of course, being a book aimed at young readers, there are messages aplenty to glean from this story. From the importance of one’s family to finding self control to the needed respect for the differences of others, there are morals brimming in each sub-story presented. However, the author never talks down to his audience or becomes preachy. As with those most famous tales of Aesop, the messages just pop up without necessarily having to be spelled out.

Kibuishi’s art is just as reflective of other works as his writing is. Miyazaki, Mignola and the designs of Star Wars all play into the look of his book. However, he also reaches out to other more kid-friendly sources. His anthropomorphic animal designs recall Marc Brown’s talking aardvarks. When he blends all of this together with his own style, the look of the book takes on a feeling that is new and feels like home all at the same time.

Given Kibuishi's ability to set mood with expansive backgrounds or bring imaginative inventions to life, Amulet becomes a master course in fantasy illustration. From the founder of Flight, any less would be unacceptable.

Amulet is a fun filled journey for kids of any age. Scholastic has indeed found the perfect follow up to Bone.

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Comments

  • Defunkt

    Defunkt Jul 19, 2009 at 11:59am

    Just can't wait! Preordered my copy and I always like to read your reviews, Lee. No spoilers yet enough info to wet the appetite. Plus try to get your hands on the books of Rod Espinosa. His books will
    appeal to fans of Kibuishi. My "holy grail" is Espinosa's Neotopia. Incredibly hard to find.

  • Lee Newman

    Lee Newman Jul 19, 2009 at 12:02pm

    I have the second volume of the digest of Neotopia and the trade of his Alice in Wonderland, as well I get Prince of Heroes in my pulls! Love his stuff, can be light on story, but the art is wonderful.

  • Andy Oliver

    Andy Oliver Jul 19, 2009 at 12:28pm

    Nice review Lee. Going OT but... Think I ordered the Espinosa Alice in Wonderland for work when we were trying to get examples of as many versions of Wonderland as possible for some of my students. Worth a look?

  • Lee Newman

    Lee Newman Jul 19, 2009 at 12:37pm

    Espinosa is always worth a look. It was not my favorite of the recent Wonderland stuff, that goes to WOnderland from SLG, that was amazing, but Rod's was decent.

  • Eric Lindberg

    Eric Lindberg Jul 19, 2009 at 3:18pm

    I enjoyed the first volume of Amulet so I may track this down one day. Interesting that the Elves are the bad guys in this. That definitely plays against most fantasy stereotypes.

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