The third volume of this inventive all ages title is on the shelves, can it live up to its pedigree or will it succumb to its influences.
Credits & Solicit Info:
Amulet Book Three: The Cloud Searchers
Published by Graphix
Written and Illustrated by Kazu Kibuishi
In the third installment of the thrilling Amulet series, Emily, Navin, and their crew of resistance fighters charter an airship and set off in search of Cielis, a mythical city believed to be located on an island high above the clouds. The mysterious Leon Redbeard is their guide, and there's a surprising new addition to the crew: the Elf King's son, Trellis. But is he ally or enemy? And will Emily ever be able to trust the voice of the Amulet?
Amulet has been an entrancing fantasy for the young and the young at heart. It is filled with heartwarming moments and exciting fun. We have learned to love Emily, Navin, Leo, and the rest as the tale has gone on. They feel familiar and are written in a natural manner.
Familiarity may be becoming a problem in the series. Volume two was a master class in how to take various stories stored in the collective unconscious and utilize them to teach valuable lessons while not resorting to down talking or outright preachiness. Much the same is accomplished here, but it would seem Star Wars has become the lead inspiration as scenes from the Mos Eisly Cantina and Cloud City are almost lifted from the famous science fiction epic.
No, there is no plagiarism going on here. Lines are not copied. Sets are not plundered. There is just the feel to it. The book feels like that second act to the original trilogy, The Empire Strikes Back. There is a bit of darkness and brooding to this chapter as our heroes embark upon a journey to find a city in the clouds that may or may not exist.
The Elf King is not happy with his minions' inability to capture a little human girl and has sent a more menacing assassin after his son and the band of rebels. Meanwhile, Emily must help the group hire a pilot and the adventure takes to the skies full time.
Along the way are lessons about kids becoming confident in their abilities. The story is evolving into a meditation on the act of maturing and Kibuishi's characters take to their new challenges with the mashed teeth of determination.
At the center of the book is the writer's beautiful art work. The designs for spiring cities, flying creatures of all type and wonderfully inventive steampunk blimp like ships create a new world for readers of the series. This is awesome considering how much world had already been introduced in the previous volumes.
Like the previous entries to this tale, this one concludes with a bit of a hangover wetting the reader's appetite for the next volume and probably making them desire to reread while waiting it out. Despite some feeling of déjà vu, Amulet remains one of the most refreshing and engaging children's titles on the stands.
Review by: Lee Newman