Tag Archives: Kibuishi (author)

Amulet: Escape from Lucien Review

amulet_6Amulet, Book 6: Escape from Lucien by Kazu Kibuishi

Graphix, 2014. 978-0545433150.

Synopsis: Things are complicated. But when there is a war going on, what isn’t complicated? There’s so many things that could tip the balance and it’s hard to know where loyalties lie. But with this mysterious Voice calling the shots, there’s no telling what will happen next, or even if those fighting will see another day. With so much at stake, the group once again splits: Emily goes with Max to see if the Voice can be reasoned with while her brother Navin and his classmates journey to the abandoned city of Lucien to seek out a rescue beacon. Danger lies around the corner, but Emily and Navin are both confident that they will be able to make their way back to each other and their family.

Why I picked it up: I basically love everything about this series.

Why I finished it: This is the part where I quantify that last statement. Kibuishi’s series is for middle readers and young adults, but there are so many complexities to the plot and the characters that makes it appealing to readers of all ages. The reader has been introduced to a world in which there used to be a clearly defined contrast between what was ‘good’ and what was ‘evil’, but over the many years before our story has begun, those lines have become blurred. As a result, even those characters who believed they knew what they were fighting for are forced to question the motives behind their actions. And the more the series goes on, the more in depth we are seeing the conflict, not only externally but also internally for these heroes to which we have been introduced. Emily and Navin continue to be faced with conflicts and puzzles for which they and their comrades must coordinate some plan of action that will get us to a happier ending. With the group splitting once again, the drama has become more heightened, and the reader can’t help but feel nervous as each party expands and contracts. The art, in my opinion, continues to be top notch and within each panel the reader can feel the emotions coming through in the color schemes Kibuishi and his colorists have created: earth tones give us a heightened sense of anticipation as confrontations become violent, blues give a simultaneously calm but eerie quality to many interactions. The fantastic and the realistic are beautifully blended to give the reader a story that transcends not only age, but genres. As the series continues, I will eagerly follow the path our heroes are taking and look forward to seeing how the journey will eventually end.

Other related materials: Amulet, Book 1: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi; Amulet, Book 2: The Stonekeeper’s Curse by Kazu Kibuishi; Amulet, Book 3: The Cloud Searchers by Kazu Kibuishi; Amulet, Book 4: The Last Council by Kazu Kibuishi; Amulet, Book 5: Prince of the Elves by Kazu Kibuishi; Explorer: The Mystery Boxes by Kazu Kibuishi; Flight Explorer, Volume One edited by Kazu Kibuishi; Zita the Spacegirl graphic novels by Ben Hatke; Cleopatra in Space graphic novels by Mike Maihack; Babymouse graphic novels by Jennifer L. Holm & Matt Holm; Squish books by Jennifer L. Holm & Matt Holm; Bone graphic novels by Jeff Smith; Missile Mouse books by Jake Parker; The Secret Science Alliance books by Eleanor Davis; Dragonbreath books by Ursula Vernon; Big Nate books by Lincoln Pierce; Chickenhare by Chris Grine; Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot graphic novels by Dav Pilkey, illustrated by Dan Santat

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Amulet: Prince of the Elves Review

amulet_5Amulet, Book 5: Prince of the Elves by Kazu Kibuishi

Graphix, 2012. 978-0545208895

Synopsis: Max has captured the Mother Stone and Emily and her friends are the only ones who can stop him. With the power of the Mother Stone, the Elf King plans to create new amulets and create an army to destroy Windsor. When Emily seeks help from the voice of her amulet, she finds that it could be much more dangerous to trust that she initially thought.

Why I picked it up: Well, it’s a series, and I want to know what happens next!

Why I finished it: Kibuishi is definitely upping the ante in this book and the story is definitely going in a slightly darker direction as we discover more about the voice of the amulet. We are also learning more about Max and the Elf Prince Trellis, adding a little different dynamic to the book as we move the focus off Emily and Navin. Both Max and Trellis both have wrongs in their past that they are trying to right which is helping to fuel their actions and helping the reader better understand their motivations for doing what they are doing. Emily’s conversations with the voice of her amulet are equally enlightening, giving the reader the impression that she probably shouldn’t be relying very heavily on the voice for advice. Then again, the voice has been at this a lot longer than Emily, so it knows what it is talking about, but it is clear that Emily needs to be in touch with herself and her own convictions in order not to fall into a trap that she won’t be able to make her way out of. I can’t wait to see how things develop as we continue to move through the story.

Other related materials: Amulet, Book 1: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi; Amulet, Book 2: The Stonekeeper’s Curse by Kazu Kibuishi; Amulet, Book 3: The Cloud Searchers by Kazu Kibuishi; Amulet, Book 5: Prince of the Elves by Kazu Kibuishi; Explorer: The Mystery Boxes by Kazu Kibuishi; Flight Explorer, Volume One edited by Kazu Kibuishi; Babymouse graphic novels by Jennifer L. Holm & Matt Holm; Squish books by Jennifer L. Holm & Matt Holm; Bone graphic novels by Jeff Smith; Missile Mouse books by Jake Parker; The Secret Science Alliance books by Eleanor Davis; Dragonbreath books by Ursula Vernon; Big Nate books by Lincoln Pierce; Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Search, Part 1 by Gene Luen Yang; Chickenhare by Chris Grine

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Amulet: The Last Council Review

amulet4coverAmulet, Book 4: The Last Council by Kazu Kibuishi

Graphix, 2011. 978-0545208871

Synopsis: Emily and her friends think they will find the answers they seek in the lost city of Cielis, but something isn’t right. Emily is separated from her family and taken to the Academy, where she is told she will compete for a spot on the Council of Guardians. Meanwhile, while her friends roam the streets they notice that the city seems to be abandoned. Is Cielis a ghost town or a trap?

Why I picked it up: I am completely, totally, and utterly addicted to this series.

Why I finished it: The mystery deepens further in this volume as we are introduced to more new characters that will aid or hinder Emily in her quest. This volume also as a Hunger Games element to it: young stonekeepers compete for a place on the council through war game-like trials that test their strength both mentally and physically. As if the reader wasn’t aware by now, there are more pieces of the puzzle surrounding the disappearance of the city and the seclusion of the Guardian Council, some of which are being fit together, but there is still a lot of storytelling to go before we can see the bigger picture. This volume is also darker in terms of the color palate Kibuishi uses for the city of Cielis; the exterior of the city is colored with soft browns an beiges contrasting with the city catacombs are deep blues and greens that heighten the tensions between Emily and the other Academy members. The drawing is very lyrical and everything flows as we move from the city streets down into the underground chambers and lends itself well to helping the reader understand the story. I’m anxious to see what comes next.

Other related materials: Amulet, Book 1: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi; Amulet, Book 2: The Stonekeeper’s Curse by Kazu Kibuishi; Amulet, Book 3: The Cloud Searchers by Kazu Kibuishi; Amulet, Book 5: Prince of the Elves by Kazu Kibuishi; Explorer: The Mystery Boxes by Kazu Kibuishi; Flight Explorer, Volume One edited by Kazu Kibuishi; Babymouse graphic novels by Jennifer L. Holm & Matt Holm; Squish books by Jennifer L. Holm & Matt Holm; Bone graphic novels by Jeff Smith; Missile Mouse books by Jake Parker; The Secret Science Alliance books by Eleanor Davis; Dragonbreath books by Ursula Vernon; Big Nate books by Lincoln Pierce; Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Search, Part 1 by Gene Luen Yang; Chickenhare by Chris Grine

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Amulet: The Cloud Searchers Review

amulet_3Amulet, Book 3: The Cloud Searchers by Kazu Kibuishi

Graphix, 2010. 978-0545208857

Synopsis: Emily and Navin continue in their quest to restore order to the world of Alledia, and in order to get help for their cause, they must search for the lost cloud city of Cielis. But first, they have to find an airship to get them there, a pilot who doesn’t think they’re crazy, and a way to throw off the Elfin assassin following the group.

Why I picked it up: Read the first two and had to keep going – isn’t that how series work? 😉

Why I finished it: The title reminded me of the anime Last Exile, which shares a lot of the same steampunk elements of this chapter of Emily and Navin’s story. In this volume, we also see the tension heightening as old enemies become uneasy allies and more formidable foes enter the picture. The reader also sees Emily and Leon continue to hone her skills as a stonekeeper and learns more about what it means to have the power of an amulet. Navin is continuing to have more of a role and gets a chance to show off his own special set of skills that I hope will continue as the series goes on. The art continues to be just as solid and entertaining as the writing. I liked the contrast between the lighter colors of the city and the darker colors demonstrative of the danger that lurks in the corner of the character’s eyes and just around the next corner. I’m excited to see what happens in the next chapter in Emily and Navin’s journey.

Other related materials: Amulet, Book 1: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi; Amulet, Book 2: The Stonekeeper’s Curse by Kazu Kibuishi; Amulet, Book 4: The Last Council by Kazu Kibuishi; Amulet, Book 5: Prince of the Elves by Kazu Kibuishi; Explorer: The Mystery Boxes by Kazu Kibuishi; Flight Explorer, Volume One edited by Kazu Kibuishi; Babymouse graphic novels by Jennifer L. Holm & Matt Holm; Squish books by Jennifer L. Holm & Matt Holm; Bone graphic novels by Jeff Smith; Missile Mouse books by Jake Parker; The Secret Science Alliance books by Eleanor Davis; Dragonbreath books by Ursula Vernon; Big Nate books by Lincoln Pierce; Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Search, Part 1 by Gene Luen Yang; Chickenhare by Chris Grine

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Amulet: The Stonekeeper’s Curse Review

amulet2_mainAmulet, Book Two: The Stonekeeper’s Curse by Kazu Kibuishi

Graphix, 2009. 978-0439846837

Synopsis: With her mom growing sicker, Emily and Navin journey toward the city of Kanalis to find a doctor and hopefully a cure. But when they reach the city, a passerby warns them that they are being followed by elves that want to kill them or die trying. With the help of a fox man named Leon Redbeard, Emily continues her journey to master the power of the amulet and find a way to save her mother.

Why I picked it up: I liked the first one so much, I had to keep reading to see what happens next.

Why I finished it: Kibuishi continues Emily and Navin’s adventures with the same mastery of storytelling and art as the first book, introducing us to new characters that will help and hinder the journey toward peace and prosperity. The story takes a darker turn this time around as the reader is introduced to the Elf King, who is as mysterious as he is frightening. It’s clear he is going to be a formidable foe moving forward, and it will be interesting to see Emily continue to learn to use her power of the Amulet so that she might eventually defeat him. The colors contributed greatly to the mood, and the pacing moved at a greater clip this time around, but at no time did I ever feel like I was being rushed from one plot point to another. A well-conceived follow-up to the first book that sets the scene for Emily and Navin’s ongoing journey.

Other related materials: Amulet, Book 2: The Stonekeeper’s Curse by Kazu Kibuishi; Amulet, Book 3: The Cloud Searchers by Kazu Kibuishi; Amulet, Book 4: The Last Council by Kazu Kibuishi; Amulet, Book 5: Prince of the Elves by Kazu Kibuishi; Explorer: The Mystery Boxes by Kazu Kibuishi; Flight Explorer, Volume One edited by Kazu Kibuishi; Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke; Legends of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke; Bone graphic novels by Jeff Smith; Missile Mouse books by Jake Parker; The Secret Science Alliance books by Eleanor Davis; Dragonbreath books by Ursula Vernon; Big Nate books by Lincoln Pierce; Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Search, Part 1 by Gene Luen Yang; Chickenhare by Chris Grine

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Amulet: The Stonekeeper Review

amulet_1Amulet, Book One: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi

Graphix, 2008. 978-0439846813

Synopsis: After a family tragedy, Emily, her brother Navin, and their mother move into their mother’s great-grandfather’s home. The first night in the house, the three hear a strange noise downstairs, but when they go to investigate, Emily and Navin’s mother is kidnapped by a beast lurking in the shadows. Following the beast through a door in the basement, Emily and Navin enter a strange parallel universe, full of darkness, robots, monsters, and talking animals. Together with the help of a mechanical rabbit named Miskit, Emily and Navin set off across this strange new land to find and rescue their mother.

Why I picked it up: It was recommended to me by some library school classmates and I was able to meet the author at a convention last summer, which is where I picked up the books.

Why I finished it: I have to admit, I picked it up expecting a fantasy adventure, and that is what I got, but Amulet is so much more than that. The first portion of the story is well-layered and it helps fuel the emotions of the reader and the characters as the book progresses. One aspect of the story is that of overcoming loss: the characters have experienced something life-changing and lost something that is important to them, and the grieving process is having an effect on mom, Emily, and Navin. Another part speaks to the notion of adolescence as a phase of growing up: kids want to be able to take on more responsibility and take charge of their own lives, but there is usually something that holds them back, whether it be rules, parents, other people, or other obstacles that keep us from getting where we think we need to be. The combination of these two parts is what drives the story and motivates the characters. Fearful of losing her mother, Emily will do whatever she can to bring her back. Navin wants to bring his mother back as well, but the reader also sees him striving to seek recognition from his sister, to prove that he is old enough to do something to help. Kibuishi’s art is simple, but thought-provoking, and creates a ery cinematic feel to the story that reminded me a lot of Miyazaki’s film interpretation of Howl’s Moving Castle. It’s sweeping and grandiose in its execution and gives the reader a greater understanding of the wonder and the danger of this parallel world into which we are drawn. Wonderfully moving and imaginative, Amulet is a story with a lot of love and heart, and I’ll definitely be starting the second book soon.

Other related materials: Amulet, Book 2: The Stonekeeper’s Curse by Kazu Kibuishi; Amulet, Book 3: The Cloud Searchers by Kazu Kibuishi; Amulet, Book 4: The Last Council by Kazu Kibuishi; Amulet, Book 5: Prince of the Elves by Kazu Kibuishi; Explorer: The Mystery Boxes by Kazu Kibuishi; Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke; Legends of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke; Knights of the Lunch Table books by Frank Cammuso; Ghostopolis by Doug Tennapel; Cardboard by Doug Tennapel; Bone graphic novels by Jeff Smith; Owly graphic novels by Andy Runton; Lunch Lady books by Jarrett J. Krosoczka; Daniel Boom AKA Loud Boy books by D.J. Steinberg; Smile by Raina Telgemeier; Drama by Raina Telgemeier

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