So I’m back into reading graphic novels! 🙂 Apart from The Walking Dead graphic novels last year, where I managed to only read until Volume 4 (which contains issues 19-24), it’s only until now that I got myself into reading graphic novels again. And I’m on a roll! 😀 I actually started three different graphic novels. I managed to finish all the first volumes of Saga by Brian K. Vaughan (Writer), Fiona Staples (Artist), Lumberjanes by y Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke A. Allen (Illustrator) and Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi so expect my reviews for each the next coming days. If you’ll ask me how I chose those graphic novels, well, blame Booktube. 😀 Lumberjanes, Amulet and especially Saga are always on the recommended list of my most trusted Booktubers and so far I’m enjoying all all three.
The first graphic novel that I finished was Amulet, Book One: The Stonekeeper. I must say that’s it’s a good start for the series. The book starts on a serious note by way of a tragedy but as the story progressed the tone lightened. That style worked for me as it made me even more connected to the characters more. It gave an in-depth background which made me more understand the characters’ personalities.
The book follows the story of Emily and her brother Navin, who at an early age lost their father because of a car accident. Two years after the father’s death, now financially struggling and wanting to start anew, the kids and their mother, Karen, decided to move to an ancestral house in a town called Norlen that was originally owned by their mother’s grandfather, Silas, who’s gone missing and everybody assumed to have already died. The night of their first day, an unusual thing happened. A strange noise coming from the basement woke up the three in the middle of the night, and when Karen decided to investigate she was taken by a tentacled beast, called an Arachnopod.
They followed the monsters and found themselves in a dark magical parallel world, Alledia, filled with rugged terrains, talking robots, unusual animals and a monster stalking them who is after the amulet that the kids found at their new house. The book then follows the kids’ adventures as they try to get used to the new world they stumbled upon. Will they be able to stand up to the challenge of becoming the new keepers of the Amulet, that has imposing powers, entrusted to them by their great grandfather, Silas, whom they finally meet living in Alledia? Will they be able to keep up with the secrets that are slowly unraveling in front of them? Will they be able to live up to the expectations set to them tagging them as heroes meant to rescue the world? Will they be able to rescue their mother? When family is all that’s left to them, is that enough to keep them surviving? The book talks about growing up, dealing with loss and the value of families.
First, let’s talk about the artwork which I’m a bit torn about. I consider the drawings and illustrations to be done in a very simplistic way. I was not a fan of it to be honest as the drawings were made too simple for me. The drawings lack the intensity that I was looking for in a book that was supposed to be dark and gripping. It was all throughout airy and light making it hard to clearly show or reflect the emotions of the characters. One thing though that I have to commend though about the artwork was the color palettes. I like how it matches with the mood of the scenes and intensify as the story progress.
On the other hand, the author was able to fill the book’s lack of appealing drawings with its story. The story made me want to continue reading it. From it’s exciting storytelling, the author was able to make the characters stood out. The graphic novel was able to make its pacing consistent with the storytelling making me devour it instantly. It has a lot of clever dialogues that revealed more of the characters feelings and their emotions.
Overall, I was captivated by this first volume. It provided a good introduction to the story. Like any other first books in a series or volumes, the plot was not totally resolved which means that it can be a springboard for the upcoming volumes. How the story ended left a promising start for the upcoming volumes. This totally brought out the kid in me again. And did I already say that it has this Studio Ghibli vibe? 😉 I’ can’t wait to start to read the next volume! 🙂
4 stars out of 5.
Author: Kazu Kibuishi
Part of a Series: Yes (Volume #1)
Release Year: January 2008
No. of Pages: 192 pages
About the Author
Kazu Kibuishi (born 1978) is an American graphic novel author and illustrator. He is best known for being the creator and editor of the comic anthology Flight and for creating the webcomic Copper. He has also written (drawn) the Amulet series. The webcomic artist and noted critic Scott McCloud has said that some of Kazu Kibuishi’s work is so beautifully drawn that “it hurts my hands when I look at it”.