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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Patricia Hoban Reviews *Amulet Book 3*

Title: Amulet: Book Three The Cloud Searchers
Author: Kazu Kibuishi
Artist/s: Kazu Kibuishi
Publisher: Scholastic, Graphix
Publication Date: 2010

This graphic novel is the third book in a series of four. It may seem at first like a long read, but once one starts reading one really cannot put it down. The story is a continuation of the adventures of Emily and her friends, however, in this book the Elf King’s son, Trellis, and his companion, Luger, have joined Emily and company on their search for Cielis, the lost city. Many believe that Cielis was destroyed when the Elf nation attacked the Guardian Council, however, others believe that the Guardian Council moved the city in order to protect it. As the reader reads one learns why Trellis has asked for Emily’s help to defeat his father, and to one’s surprise it is because of the stones. The stones play a large role in the story as well. At first one may think that it is only a source of power for the stone keepers, but the story of the stones runs much deeper. As the journey continues, there are many elements who wish to stop the travelers, the Elf King and his “hunter”, Gabilan, who was sent to finish the job of killing the stone keeper Emily, as well as Trellis for “treason” in not completing his task of killing Emily.

The journey takes the travelers into the Golbez Cycle, a terrible storm, in which they encounter not only bad weather but horrible flying creatures called Wyverns. Once through the threat of the Wyverns and past other terrible natural weather elements, the travelers reach the beacon that will help them find the lost city. One last encounter with Gabilan tests the strength of Emily. Then it is off to the lost city of Cielis, where the Guardian Council is choosing their successors before they all die off.

Although the story is not told in the point of view of the protagonist, Emily, it does have the essence of a third person, omniscient voice. The readers are not given just one point of view but the point of view from different characters and even their thought process is clear, even through the illustrations you can gain an idea of what is happening in their mind, almost as if one were taking a walk through their thoughts. This story does fall under certain aspects of the “Best of the Best” because although Emily has not completely harnessed the power of being a stone keeper, when needed she acts to battle an enemy or protect a loved one using the training she has gained and is able to take credit for her accomplishments. Although it does take training to help her control her powers, in the end it is only her that can manipulate those powers with her feelings and thoughts.

Another aspect that the story falls under with is it is very fast-paced. The story has the feeling of moving very quickly to get to the climax, the climax being the finding of the lost city and the battle with Gabilan at the beacon. There is definitely different cultures and ethnicities in this story. Although it is a futuristic tale and deals with magic, one does meet all the different characters who are humans, animals, elves and even robots. Even though they are all different they all come together. This story is definitely filled with optimism. Emily has doubts in herself but knows that it is up to her in the end. Not only is it a journey to find the lost city but it is also a journey for Emily to find herself in a way, to find who she is as a stone keeper. Even as a graphic novel this story does deal with emotions that young adults deal with on a daily basis. Emily is in a constant struggle within of what should she do, who should she be, and definitely what she is going to do about it. She knows she has to do what is right, but she struggles with the fact that she must also protect her family.

I do not feel that this story lacks much as far as being categorized in the “Best of the Best” when it comes to YA literature. The story may have been a little easier to follow if was told from Emily’s point of view so that the readers could gain a better idea of what was going on in her mind and what was happening through her eyes. However, it would have been a completely different story at that point, maybe a different series. There is never really a point within this story per se where Emily begins to answer the question of “What am I going to do about it?” This could be because it is part of a series of books and that change may come within the fourth book. Other than that it does carry all the elements to be considered the “Best of the Best.”

I honestly feel that this story, no the series, meets and fits the criteria for young adult literature. Considering that the story is fast paced, optimistic, contains characters that have the different characteristics of YA literature and so many other aspects, I feel that this would be a good book for young adults to read. There are many instances in life where young adults deal with answering the epic questions, “Who am I and what am I going to do about it?” and this book also addresses at least one of those questions. I’m sure the fourth book addresses the other. Not only does it deal with things that fall into the “best of the best” but it is not a difficult read at all and the illustrations help to guide the reader and draw them in.

I have to agree with one of the reviews of this book from Jeff Smith, “Five-no three pages into Amulet and you’ll be hooked,” (Back cover). Now granted this may have been about the first book, but after reading this book I know I definitely want to get the others and read them.
I would definitely recommend this book too anyone who loves futuristic anime type stories and books.

The story is a tale of adventure, friendship and so much more. Honestly, I would recommend this story to anyone. It is kind of like watching a movie that ends only to carry on into a second one (kind of like the last Harry Potter movie). Once the reader reaches the end one wants to know what happens next. The hook is definitely there and it draws the reader in. It is a book that one can’t put down once they’ve started.

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