I took my kids into Books-a-Million the other day and went hunting for something new. My 9 year old pointed this out to me and I said what the heck– lets try it out. I was glad I did, because not only did she love it, I did as well!
Amulet, a graphic novel by Kazu Kibuishi, is geared towards the 9-12 age group. However, the novel will captivate anyone that reads it as they are swept along a moving story with beautiful illustrations.
Our young heroine Emily witnesses the death of her father in the opening pages of the novel. Emily, her mother, and her brother Nevin move in to the home of their missing great grandfather. There are secrets lurking within the house, one that soon ensnares Emily’s mom. She’s dragged from the basement by a tentacle through an open door and Emily and Nevin must go on a rescue mission to another world. This story captivates the reader from the beginning, leaving us compelled to feel for the characters, from Emily witnessing the death of her father to watching her mom being dragged away by some unknown creature. Although this is only the first part of the series the reader gets a true sense of the characters, their feelings, and their emotions and we are left hanging at the end of the book and wanting more.
What really sells the story are the illustrations as they capture and convey the moods of the characters and their surroundings. The drawings have a light airy quality to them, with a simple, but moody, color palette to show off the extensive use of shadows to convey the emotions of the character in graphic detail. The reader is never left wondering what the characters are thinking– the colors clearly display what they feel– the age of the great-grandfather is written into the lines on his face, as is the fear and courage of Emily as she seeks to save her what’s left of her family. As the story progresses a darker palette is used and we are left wanting the lighter colors to return. When the story first begins the characters almost look undefined; while we can read their emotions they are merely shapes on a page. However, as the story progresses they gain more depth and emotion.
This novel is a must read. A strong young heroine, with monsters and robots as well is enough to keep any crowd entertained. The moving illustrations and compelling story make this a great read and the book is highly recommended for all ages. Every now and then we need to step away from the Capes and Powers, and dive into the unknown to find gems like this!! There are multiple books in the series and we want to read them all!
JQ and my daughter KQ gives this book a 8.8/10!!