Story Arc: The Stonekeeper.
Writer(s): Kazu Kibuishi.
Illustrator(s): Kazu Kibuishi.
Release Date: January 1st, 2008.
Genre(s): Comics, Fantasy, Middle-Grade.
My Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆.
There’s a moment in your childhood where adult supervision is crucial to your development, where you need an authoritative figure to hand you over the rules that should serve as a guideline to your life. It’s through their education that you learn to understand the world in a certain way that allows you to grow as a person and to form an identity that will unconsciously follow you as you grow old. Sometimes, the absence of such a guardian can also be disconcerting but how you hop back into action with confidence and determination can change you forever. Planned as a trilogy of trilogies, the first book within the Amulet series, The Stonekeeper, is creator Kazu Kibuishi’s manifesto underlining his love for magic, imagination, and self-discovery.
What is Amulet: The Stonekeeper about? Two years after a tragic accident, Emily Hayes, her brother Navin and her mother Karen move to their great-grandfather Silas’s ancestral home in hopes of embracing a beautiful new life. While their mother sets them up into their new residence, Emily and her brother discover a stone amulet hidden within the household. Little did she know that it would speak to her, warning her of a grave danger looming around the corner, its claws set on their family. It is in the middle of the night that an abrupt sound wakes them up and sets them off looking for its source in the dark basement while their mother was nowhere to be found. What follows is the discovery of a brand-new world hidden within their new home that will launch them on a magical and whimsical adventure.
Juggling both a middle-grade and young-adult target audience, the story draws upon classic fantasy tropes to illustrate the courageous expedition of children into an unfamiliar territory filled with mystical beings and strange powers. While reminding the children of the tremendous responsibility that comes with powerful abilities, the story serves as an enchanting escapade immersing both the young protagonists and the readers into an unusual world. Where it especially struggles to stand on two feet is in its intent of being an introduction to the world rather than a full-fledged and self-contained story-arc. Inevitable in its nature, it, however, delivers exactly what it needs to hook the reader to this series, inciting them to discover more of the magical reality introduced here.
To capture the spellbinding qualities of the story, creator Kazu Kibuishi utilizes a unique and clever visual style. Expressive, colourful, round-edged, the artwork delivers an engaging vision that illustrates the subtlest moods that can be identified within the atmosphere. On top of fear and joy, there’s also a light eerieness that veils this story, allowing it to possess a certain thrilling edge without necessarily being horrifying despite certain tentacled creatures that appear within the story arc. The colours also heavenly alleviate the tone by softening the threat and danger in which bathes these characters. While the story and the artwork are appealing, their level of familiarity greatly reduces the overall originality of the volume.
Amulet: The Stonekeeper is a welcoming yet familiar fantasy adventure that follows the Hayes family into a realm of magic and mayhem.