February 18, 2013
by Mrs. McGriff
The Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi is extremely popular with my 8th graders. Since so many of them are reading these graphic novels and raving about them, I thought it was time for me to finish the series and release the new copies into my classroom.
Book One: The Stonekeeper (Scholastic 2008)- A fatal accident prompts Emily and Navin and their mother to start over in an old house that has been in the family for years. Once they arrive, all three are drawn into a mysterious world where they find their great-grandfather. Emily is given a choice to become the newest Stonekeeper. Either choice she makes will have far-reaching consequences, but can the Stone help her rescue her mother?
I was drawn into this vividly imagined world. I loved the quirky creatures who inhabit this world as well as the danger that lurks within it. Emily and Navin are characters I can cheer for as they seek to rescue their mother and learn the ways of Alledia. Usually when I read graphic novels, I tend to rush, but I found myself lingering over the pictures in these books. The colors are lush and vivid.
Book Two: The Stonekeeper’s Curse (Scholastic 2009)- While Book I introduces the world of Alledia, Book II sets up the central conflict with the Elf King. The Elf King is a rogue Stone Keeper who wants all of Alledia for himself and will destroy the world in order to get what he wants. Emily learns more about using the power of the Stone and about the curse that comes with accepting its power. If she cannot control it, it will control and destroy her just as it did with the Elf King.
Again, there are more characters to love. In addition to Miskit and Cogsley (created by Silas to train and protect Emily), Leon, the red warrior fox makes his first appearance. I love Leon, who reminds me a bit of Puss in Boots with is fierce bravado. Navin learns of the role he plays in fulfilling the prophecy to overcome the Elf King. I also love the gadoba trees and hope we hear more from them in later books.
Book Three, The Cloud Searchers (Scholastic 2010)- Emily and her crew must search for help from the missing city of Cielis. They find an old pilot and his airship to take them on this journey. Old Enzo has been ridiculed for years for searching on his own for the city. Will he trust Leon and Emily enough to try one more time? Meanwhile, time is running out. Will Emily’s crew of resistance fighters find the lost city before the Elf King finds–and destroys–them?
I love the portrayal of Emily and Navin’s mom now that she is awake and with them. She won’t leave them to return home. Even though she worries (it’s her full time job) and wants to protect them, she allows them to make their own choices and stays with them to offer what guidance and support she can. Sometimes, though, the “mom” in her just pops out as when she insists on cleaning out Navin’s wound because we just don’t know what dangers lurk in this strange world. We also get a more complex view of Trellis (the Elf Prince) and Luger (once a loyal servant to the Elf King).
Book Four, The Last Council (Scholastic 2011)- Now that Emily and Navin and Leon and their crew are finallly in Cielis, they hope to find help from the Guardian Council. Unfortunately, they areseparated at the city gate and Emily is asked to compete for a spot on the Council. It’s not long before they all realize that something is rotten through and through. Not completely through and through, Leon finds a few willing helpers left in the city even though most of the once bustling streets are now deserted. The prison, however, is overflowing. Will they learn the truth and reunite before it is too late? Is there anyone left in the city who will become another ally?
Once again, I meet another character or two to love–and some more villains to hate. The old Stonekeeper has an uncanny way of showing up at just the right time. Cogsley and Miskit pick up Dagno, a baby wyvern bird. I trust Leon even more, but not Max. Max is not what he appears to be. Even though their situation seems more and more dire by the minute, Navin reminds Emily of an important truth at the end–she is not alone. Each of them may be imperfect and weak alone, but when they come together, they can do so much more. How true that is for all of us.
Book Five, Prince of the Elves (Scholastic 2012)- Oh no! The story doesn’t end. That means I have to wait to see if Emily and Navin and their friends finally defeat the Elf King. Meanwhile, this installment fills in some of the past for some important characters. Trellis visits the void to learn from and to try to change the past of the elves. Max also visits the voids and we learn of the event that drove him to the dark side of the Stonekeepers. I still don’t trust him, but I understand him better now. Emily also learns of the true nature of the stonekeeper’s curse on her visit to the void. It’s much worse than anyone thought.
Don’t worry. The action keeps coming, too, as the elf army attacks cities on their way to conquer Ceilis. It seems as if nothing can stop them, much less the rag tag army of resistance fighters that are left. Navin and Ally have to call on all their skill as pilots while Cogsley and the other robots struggle to get the fighting machines running in time.