Amulet Book One: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi

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Amulet Book One: The Stonekeeper
By Kazu Kibuishi
Scholastic/Graphix

Kazu KibuishiThe mountains of praise that Jeff Smith heaped upon Amulet prior to its publication on Scholastic’s Graphix imprint, have likely already served as something of a mixed blessing for author Kazu Kibuishi. To have an artist of Smith’s stature fawn over what is arguably the author’s first major work is surely any young cartoonist’s dream come true, ensuring both instant recognition from the comics press and from Smith’s own legendarily rabid fanbase, both of whom are well aware that the Bone artist has no immediate plans to relive the epic cartoon majesty of his beloved series—at least not in comics form.

Kibuishi’s Smith-approved graphic adventure story seems like an ideal place to turn in order to fill in the void left when Bone wrapped up its dozen year run in 2004.  Adorable heroes, nightmarish villains, swashbuckling adventures—all are present and accounted for. At the moment, however, the book is missing one major component. After 187 pages, Kibuishi has only begun his yarn, a mere drop in the bucket when juxtaposed with the 1,332 pages that comprise Smith comic epic.

The first volume of a multi-book series, The Stonekeeper is in many ways something of a reserved book compared to what we’ve come to expect from adventure comics, and while Kibuishi includes a number of action scenes, many no doubt included with the intention of holding the reader’s interest—primarily those youngsters who approach the book by way of a Scholastic catalog. The author is seemingly more interested setting his characters and scenarios up for greater adventures to come, an essential aspect of creating a sustainable epic, something that many of us on the other side of Bone’s 55 issues have long since forgotten was present in that book’s earlier volumes.

In terms of story, Kibuishi’s work owes much to the genre of kid-centric mythologies typified by works like Peter Pan and The Chronicles of Narnia, exercising the now familiar conceit of children cast into an equally fascinating and terrifying fantasy world not of their own creation. It’s a world that presents new challenges for its chosen few, tasked with pushing deep into this new universe to complete a seemingly insurmountable task—one whose presence is thankfully enough to take away from the real-world tragedy that jolts open the book’s first few pages.

While Amulet is greatly indebted to a good number of familiar storybook tropes, Kibuishi’s own vivid imagination makes the story his own, piece by piece, sending his heroes and readers deep into an ominous realm of spunky cartoon good guys and demonic enemies, with stunningly painted visuals that slowly build to the book’s final panel, a cutaway offering the first glimpse into the grandeur of Kibuishi’s intentions, an eerily silent moment amongst an action-packed climax which invokes panoramic universe present in many of Hayao Miyazaki’s later works.

The Stonekeeper is nothing if not a slow burn. There are certainly a number of instant payoffs for the reader, but by the end of this first volume, one gets the sneaking suspicion that the greatest moments of the work are still a ways off. The adventures of Kibuishi’s human protagonists, Emily and Navin are merely beginning, planting the seeds for something grand that, with a little patience, will no doubt make Smith and his many fans proud in the not-so-distant future, giving Amulet a long shadow of its own.

–Brian Heater

No Comments to “Amulet Book One: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi”

  1. Dylan stevens | June 18th, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    Me and my sister really love book 1 of amulet can you email me for when book 2 of amulet comes out in book stores

  2. Reg | July 26th, 2008 at 9:40 am

    Hi Just wondering is Alulet book 2 out

  3. Lissi | August 3rd, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    Hey! I absolutely love the Amulet series. When is book 2 coming out?

  4. samuel | October 1st, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    hey i love the book i boght it from my school lol i am only 9 so when book number 2 coming plz right to me when at centeno.samuel@yahoo.com bye!!!!!

  5. Grant Calvin | October 22nd, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    We are reading it in class. I love the creepy goblin like dude. When is book two coming out???????? Please let me know.

  6. Elise Otwell | December 6th, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    ya hi my name is Elise loved the frist book that came out of the Amulet. i gess every buddy else wants to know when the 2nd book is coming out. so the frist day it comes out im geting is ones agen loved your book please tell me when the book is comeing out lol plz reaply!!!

    p.s. cant wait till the book comes out!!!

  7. Jenny | December 13th, 2008 at 10:16 am

    I absoutely love the first book! Once i started it I just can’t stop reading it, it soo intresting. I just can’t wait until the second book comes out.