Page 45 Review by Stephen
AMULET is COMPLETE!
Plus, it's a PHENOMENAL finale, fulfilling all its promise, bursting not with brute force rtriumpahlism, but with humility, compassion and persuasion.. I chose and composed those photographs to your right verrrrry carefully.
"Be careful who you trust. Not everyone you believe is an ally has your best interests at heart."
All-ages fantasy adored by Studio Ghibli fans, for each of the 9 vols has a Hayao Miyazaki flourish: a jaw-dropping landscape, like the library in a lake surrounded by mist-shrouded mountains, built on the Atlas-like back of the very first Elf King.
Two years after a family tragedy, Emily and younger brother Navin are taken by Mum to live in the countryside home of great grandfather Silas who's been missing for years. Cue cat-eyed, ectoplasmic monster! Later that night things go bump with a fright, and Mum's abducted down a tunnel that threatens to fall apart. They run, and the first book's spent searching for help.
A wars brewing, you see, between humans and Dark Elves, but don't jump to partisan conclusions: everythings a question of perspective and history and precedent. Dont expect everything to be clear cut or everyone to be well informed about even their own past.
As to the titular Amulet, Emily acquires one early on. It gives her powerful abilities which she gradually learns to master, but it also starts speaking to her, and swiftly you'll wish it would stop.
So many mysteries! High-speed chases, ferocious battles, aquatic Tombraider-like caverns and monumental, death-trap halls. There are monsters galore, flying mech-suits to master, floating island outposts reminiscent of Roger Dean's, a central floating city which is a spectacular mix of Florentine Renaissance and Roman Baroque, and golden arbours which minded me of Maxfield Parrish.
As to the Amulet, it has its own history AND ambitions....
Remember the warning I began with? So much of this is about trust. Trust in your friends and family, for example, to pull through for you. What's refreshing is that redemption is far from impossible, and initial enemies may prove capable of gratitude, reconsideration and honour.
Kibuishi makes it very clear that you cannot judge individuals by their race or nation or leaders.
Lastly, I can't help but return to the Amulet. That is, after all, what it wants.
"Do you think all Stonekeepers are cursed? Maybe that's why we were chosen.
"Not because we were the most powerful... but because we were the most vulnerable."