Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Amulet - Book Two

Amulet - The StoneKeeper's Curse
Author & Illustrator: Kazu Kibuishi
Publisher: Scholastic

Almost a year back, I had blogged about a wonderful new comic for young kids called Amulet. The Book Two of this series is a thrilling follow up.

In this second book of almost 218 pages, the pace never falters and keeps one hooked from the first page. It is action packed and would remind one of various fantasy books that we might have read. The book seems to have picked up a lot of sub texts from various fantasy books and made its own identity. This book invokes one of the most famous of fantasy tropes - There is very little difference between good and evil magicians - whether the magic controls the wielder or the wielder controls the magic forms the basis of these books.

The earlier book ends with Navin and Emily about to leave to the beautiful city of Kanalis. Emily and Navin reach the wonderful town of Kanalis and find out about problems being faced by this wonderful city dwellers due to the powerful elves. Do they go in pursuit of the cure for their mother or use the Amulet to help the citizens of this town against the evil elf king? Their dilemma is resolved by the end of this book - but, during every point of their journey there is a constant struggle between two opposing forces - whether they should work towards what is important for them or what is important for people? The answer is not simple yes or no - and you will not get an answer in this book. But, you will definitely get a glimpse of the conflicting ideas and how certain things get resolved due to decisions taken at certain time.

There are certain characters that remain in the mind longer than other - like Trellis, the son of the evil elf King. The characterisation of Trellis is complex and keeps us guessing whether he will jump over to protagonist side or will he continue to support his father and his evil ways? He reminds me a lot of the character Zuko in the wonderful television series Avatar: The last Airbender. Sometimes, I think there is too much of similarity with Zuko.

The illustrations by Kazu Kibuishi is amazing and some of the the full page layouts stand out as great individual pieces that I would love to hang in my home.

Kids at home enjoyed the book during our bed time reading and we had to split it across 2-3 days before we could finish it - thanks to almost 218 pages of wonderful illustrations. At certain places, the dialogues were almost intuitive. There is a sequence where Emily is frustrated with the magical Amulet and wonders why she cannot live like a normal kid? During this sequence Sooraj wondered loudly - "Why can't she just remove the Amulet? Why does she keep on wearing it if she does not like it?". Almost immediately after our discussion regarding this query, the same question gets answered in the book. It was almost magical that the question came up at the appropriate time and answer followed immediately after that in the book.

A great comic for kids and adults. I feel there is a wide gap in the comics for younger kids and this book definitely works towards filling up this gap.

Enjoy it and bring your own magic to the world!

The picture of the forest was taken from BoltCity.


Praba Ram said...

Interesting pick, as always. Thanks! You have aptly captured the excitement surrounding magic and mystery.Graphic novels certainly seem like lot of fun and very "in" with kids. Once I brought home Babymouse from the library. Didn't interest K, though.Will have to wait, I guess.

Choxbox said...

Interesting Sathish!

We haven't really gone beyond the usual - ACKs, TinTin, Calvin & Hobbes and Asterix, as far as graphic books go. No graphic novels as far as I can remember, my issue with this genre being that they distract me more than I'd like from the story because they are too busy. But that's me - will check your pick out for the kid. Who knows - maybe I'll change my mind too :)

Did recently pick up very interesting graphic books about Astronomy and Physics though - by Uday Patil and T.Padmanabhan resp'ly.

sathish said...

Praba, I would suggest you to try Jeff Smith. Check out his Little Mouse for younger kids and his Bone series for a bit elder kids. A great series and very difficult to go wrong with Jeff Smith! Before I continue to droll as a Jeff Smith fan, I will stop.

Chox, thx for the pointers on those graphic books on astronomy and physics.

Regarding your point on comics/graphic novels - I have noticed that many folks get irritated with them - some how the combination of images and popup texts distracts many. Not sure what might be the cause for that though.

My son never picks up a comic book - but, he does not mind reading a full fledged book on his own; but, he finds comics very distracting and likes it only when I am reading it with him.
-And I thought kids like comics!!!

ranjani.sathish said...

Most of you ST guys know that me and fantasy are poles apart. I don't read graphic books too. This book has been lying around in our house for a long time and I have never felt like picking it up to even browse it. But now reading this review makes me think that I should atleast give it a try :-)

Sheela said...

The sample illustration you posted is amazing, Satish! So, Sooraj likes to picture the book in his head rather than have it presented in graphic novels, eh?

Btw, not sure I asked you this before: ever heard of "Irumbukkai Mayavi"? (aka Steel Claw). Thanks to an older brother and Sivakasi litho press ties, my dad brought a bunch of these home when I was little and I still remember them fondly... my first brush with darker fantasy style comics at about the age Sooraj is now...

sathish said...

sheela, you did tell me about "Irumbukkai Mayavi" earlier. but, I have still not been able to get my hands on it though.

Kelley said...

Great books. Thanks for sharing! Be sure to check out my new book also!

Praba Ram said...


Thanks for the pointer on Bone books byJeff Smith. K felt very proud to have completed reading a full-fledged graphic novel this weekend - bone book 1 Out from Boneville. And her mom finished - book 8, the treasure hunters. :)
It was lot of fun! :)


sathish said...

Hey Praba, I have finished till 5. Need to buy the rest of them from the book shop.

Scholastic had initially only published the first 4 in India. Recently, they have published the rest of them. So, hopefully, in one of my future rendezvous at bookshops, I will burn a hole in my pocket!

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