Kazu Kibuishi – Amulet, Vol. 3 & 4
Length: 208 & 224 pages
Genre: Mid-grade Fantasy
Started/Finished: 05 April 2013
Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? More graphic novels for more stressful times.
Summary: In Volume 3, Emily, Navin, their mother, and the crew they’ve acquired is in search of the Guardian Council, for the Elf King is gaining power in Alledia, and only the other Stonekeepers will be able to help Emily to save the lands. The only problem is that the Stonekeepers’ city of Cielis is impossible to reach – some say it was destroyed long ago, while others claim that the Stonekeepers have used their powers to keep their city protected by having it float in the middle of an impenetrable storm.
In Volume 4, Emily and company have reached Cielis, but they can all tell that something is not quite right in the city. Some members of their company are taken into custody, while Emily is taken to the Academy, where she will await the test that will place her on the Guardian Council. However, Emily feels more like a prisoner than a student, and the testing process is more dangerous than she expected – both for herself, and for the entire future of Alledia.
Review: In my review for the first two volumes of this series, I complained that the story felt haphazard and not particularly cohesive, but said that I would give it a chance to develop its story. And I’m glad I did. That’s not to say that the third and fourth volume don’t still have a piecemeal feeling to them – each of the individual scenes and pieces of worldbuilding are neat, but I still don’t feel like they entirely fit together according to any internal or consistent logic. But the plot really picks up in these volumes, so I finally have a bead on where the story is going, as compared to the first two volumes, which felt more like one thing happening, and then another, but again without a cohesive thread. Having a main plot that I can identify, and interesting subplots woven in, both held my attention and helped me put some of the random-seeming worldbuilding into some kind of context. The artwork is still fantastic, of course, colorful and rich and lively, and I just love Kibuishi’s drawing style. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Recommendation: This series should definitely appeal to mid-grade readers of both sexes; for adults, they’re not the meatiest graphic novels out there, but it’s a pretty way to spend an hour.
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