Amazingly, I only discovered that I could download graphic novels to my library app a few weeks ago, and my son and I have been tearing through some pretty good ones since then. He mentioned that they read the first book in the Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi, The Stonekeeper, at school, so we sought the second one. Thus, I went into reading this book with an 8 year old’s synopsis of the first book.
Briefly, Emily has inherited a stone amulet that confers power, but also is a curse that can take over the wielder . She and her brother are ferrying their poisoned mother across the forest in a giant walking house seeking help. They arrive in the cursed city of Kanalis, which is also under a curse that turns citizens into various humanoid animals – foxes, rabbits, pigs, mice, oxen, and slugs (!), among others. In order to procure the antidote, they must retrieve a fruit that only grow at the peak of Demon’s Head Mountain.
Meanwhile, elves are after them, and elves in this book are not ethereal beauties; instead, they are violent gray humanoids with pointed teeth who follow the orders of the masked elf king. The elves fire on the town and pursue Emily, her mechanical stuffed bunny, Miskit, and her talking fox ally up the mountain.
Emily trains and slowly learns to control her new powers; along the way, she sees, firsthand, what can happen when the wielder cedes control to the stone. She and the fox, Leon Redbeard, slowly learn to trust one another, as he helps her learn to control it.
The atmosphere of this novel is gorgeous and rendered in a lovely, painterly, foggy style, with elements of steampunk. The stakes are high and the adventure is exciting. While there is certainly a strong good versus evil framework for the story, there are nuances and characters can change, which I appreciate. Overall, I highly recommend this book and can’t wait to read the next one!