The enemy grows stronger… Emily survived the chaos of the Guardian Academy, but Max Griffin has stolen the Mother Stone. Wit it, the Elf King forges new Amulets that will give him the power to invade and destroy the nation of Windsor. Emily and her friends lead the soldiers of the Cielis Guard in a fight to stop him, but Max stands in their way. And when she seeks information from the Voice of her Amulet, she discovers that the Voice is much more sinister than she ever could have imagined. –back cover.
Amulet vol5: Prince of the Elves by Kazu Kibuishi
Graphix (Scholastic), 2012. 199 pages, tradepaper. soon-to-be owned.
Emily’s relationship with her stone has always been tenuous at best: could she trust it’s advice or no. Little did she realize that the fact her stone even speaks with her is a terrible sign. Stones were merely meant as conduits through which the Keeper’s may channel power. The only ones ever known to have spoken with their Keeper’s have led to bad ends. The already sinister presence of the Voice deepens substantially (and rather deliciously). The stakes of the game it and Emily play have heightened and Emily can no longer resist half-heartedly. She, like the Kingdom on the verge of war, must fight.
Kazu Kibuishi continues to complicate any effort for a straight-forward action-adventure fantasy. The decisions that lead the young toward “the dark side” are of considerable interest and what constitutes “action-adventure” varies rather wonderfully. The character explorations of hero and villain alike makes each volume of the series richer, but it also creates lovely juxtaposition for Emily and her brother (even their mothers’) development as characters in their increasingly demanding roles. In Prince of the Elves we learn more about Max Griffin who when he was as young and talented as Emily (maybe moreso) knew love and loyalty and he was also faced with conflicting paths; whose guidance, whose destiny should he fulfill? The world was so much bigger than he and so much was beyond his control. But Max was bold and decisive–and the risk did not end well. His emotions overcoming his intellect? Few characters’ situations lack compassion by the storyteller, there is a tension in knowing a villain may have once been “good,” and in witnessing someone like Trellis who must find the courage to return to his youthful potential and promising origins. The struggles within the cast members surrounding Emily, Navin and Mom give them greater dimension. A young Max and Emily are not unalike, what implications does this create for Emily and how does her statement at the end make her difference so vital.
I’ve mentioned before how parents are not absent from the series. I adore the struggle of the mother to continue in her role as Mom, but also deal with the incredible risks her children take. Her children have been called forth as leaders, possessing more and more the experience, power, and guts to lead armies. But for Emily and Navin’s mom, they are still her children. She is interesting to think about in comparison to the other parents, like Max’s father and Vigo who represent the risks of underestimating and properly estimating. For the young reader, Mom is probably more a place of rest and humor. The sequence on 60-1 felt so typical, like Mom is sending her son off to school. And then there is that last panel at the bottom corner of 61, her reflection caught, somewhat split, by the elevator doors closing. The courage called upon in this adventure takes on so many forms.
As the series continues the scope of the Kingdom and what is at stake in the war with the Elf King increases dramatically. The Elf King’s creatures/assassins become more terrifying. And the reader’s investment in the characters solidify—even as the cast expands. It is becoming harder and harder to wait for the next installment, even as the toll of a great war is inevitable and I’m not ready to encounter its cost. Kazu Kibuishi has truly created a remarkable series with Amulet.
Kazu Kibuishi shares on his site:
This book was tremendously difficult to write, as I chose to stray far from conventional story structure, and I decided to simply let the characters be my guides. I think it proved to be an effective gamble. It was such a joy to discover so much about the characters and the world in this way, and I think the readers will enjoy the ride as much as I did.
It was a very effective gamble–and I truly love knowing there are craftsmen willing to take such risks. I know readers will enjoy the ride–both the young and less-young.
you can go to Amazon, here, and click to see images inside.
my review of books 1-4 (where are there more images, I talk about the artwork, and wherein I know I do not give Jason Caffoe credit for incredible color work.).
I’ve since learned the reason Amulet has a cinematic feel is because Kibuishi went did Film Studies at University.