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