06 December 2012

Review: Amulet 1: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi

Shortly after I discovered graphic novels a few years ago, I bought Kazu Kibuishi's Amulet: The Stonekeeper, book 1 of a series that is now up to volume 6 of a projected ten-book project. I don't know why waited so long to read it, but I'm so happy I rediscovered this book on my shelves.

The Amulet series is a mix of fantasy, adventure, and steampunk and is perfect for middle grade readers and their parents.

Two years after Emily Hayes's father died in a car accident, her mother moves the family to a small town so they can live in an abandoned house once owned by Mrs. Hayes's grandfather, Silas Charnon. While exploring their new digs, Emily and her brother, Navin, discover a pretty necklace that Emily decides to wear. Later that night, they are awoken by a thumping noise coming from the basement. When the family goes to investigate, Mrs. Hayes is kidnapped by a strange creature. Emily and Navin chase the monster, entering an alternate world in which they learn the secrets of the amulet necklace and look for help saving their mom.

From p. 75
Amulet 1: The Stonekeeper is a fast-moving story that's full of fanciful creatures, mysterious messages, and awesome machines. Emily is forced to make several decisions, including whom to trust and when to use the power of the amulet. The rescue mission is exciting and has unexpected results, which set up the basis for the next book in the series.

I just love the muted blues and teals of the illustrations, which are punched up with a bit of pink (click the scan to enlarge it). The expressions on the characters' faces telegraph quite a bit of emotion, and Kibuishi clearly conveys motion and speed.

The Stonekeeper is a fun and engaging read all on its own but it would also make a great book club selection. Topics for discussion include family responsibilities, brother-sister relationships, loss of a parent, and moving to a new home. I don't want to give away the story, so I have to be vague here, but several of Emily's choices would also make great discussion points, especially because Navin often disagrees with her.

In the following video, Kazu Kibuishi introduces the series and then talks about the production process. The colors in the video are much more vibrant than the finished book.

Buy Amulet #1: The Stonekeeper at a bookstore near you (link leads to an affiliate program).
Scholastic / Graphix, 2008
Rating: B
ISBN-13: 9780439846813

Source: Review (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy).


rhapsodyinbooks 12/6/12, 7:25 AM  

I am totally not a graphic novel person, although I have an appreciation for the art form, and love admiring the pictures!

bermudaonion 12/6/12, 7:45 AM  

Hm, this might be a good way for me to explore steampunk for the first time.

Sheila (Bookjourney) 12/6/12, 7:51 AM  

I am fairly new to Graphic novels and find I really enjoy them. This one looks good!

Jenn's Bookshelves 12/6/12, 9:08 AM  

My oldest JUST started this series and absolutely loves it. He devoured the first one...I think Santa needs to bring him a few more!

Vasilly 12/6/12, 9:22 AM  

This is a really good series! The artwork is fantastic and it's nice to see a strong female character. I hope you enjoy the rest of the series too.

Zibilee 12/6/12, 9:38 AM  

I love creatures, and will often go out of my way to watch movies and read books that feature strange and unlikely creatures that you just can't find in the everyday world. This sounds like a perfect series for me, and I will have to check it out. Excellent review today, my friend!

Julie P. 12/6/12, 1:17 PM  

The color of the graphics are really unique.

Linda 12/6/12, 3:09 PM  

I've been digging this series. The graphics are wonderful plus I love the story.

Margot 12/6/12, 4:10 PM  

I enjoy graphic novels although I haven't read one in about six months. I'm not sure this series is for me, but I'm going to see if our library has at least one so I can check it out. I need to get a few more graphics back on my reading list.

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) 12/7/12, 9:39 AM  

This books looks like one that I had at one point. It looks so familiar to me. I think maybe I gave it to my cousin to read, so it's good to know that it's worthwhile.

drey 12/9/12, 10:57 PM  

I love this series, and so does my son! :) The artwork is fabulous, and the story is really neat. :)

Tif Sweeney 12/20/12, 10:59 PM  

I've been eyeing this one for a while at the library, but have yet to pick it up. Adding it to my list for the next visit!

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