In Review: Amulet: Book Eight–Supernova

This is a fantastic story that brings fantasy and science fiction together with gorgeous visuals.

Amulet: Book Eight–Supernova by Kazu Kibuishi

Published by Scholastic on September 25, 2018. Hardcover of 204 pages at $24.99 . Paperback of 204 pages at $12.99. Intended for ages 8 – 12, grades 3-7.

Note: I received an advanced copy, so anything may have changed by publication.

The cover: On a bright yellow and orange background that features a ship next to a space station at the top and fiery waters at the bottom, three characters inhabit this frontpiece. Topmost, Navin Hayes and Aly Hunter are geared up to ride motorbikes to an unknown location. In the middle of the book is the series title and author Kazu Kibuishi’s name. Below that is Emily Hayes who wields immense power that’s coming out of the necklace around her neck. This cover properly shows the big players in this penultimate installment in this series. The characters demonstrate the science fiction and fantasy elements in an extremely exciting visual. Overall grade: A+ 

The premise: From the back cover, “When all seems lost…Emily has lost control of her Amulet and is imprisoned in the Void, where she must find a way to escape the influence of the Voice. Meanwhile, Emily’s brother, Navin, travels to Lighthouse One, a space station where the Resistance is preparing to battle the approaching Shadow forces that would drain planet Alledia of all its resources. Emily and Navin must be smarter and stronger than ever to ensure Alledia’s survival.” I missed the previous book, so I hope I won’t be completely in the dark reading this one. I really enjoyed Book Six, so I’m looking forward to reading this. Overall grade: A

The story: Kazu Kibuishi’s tale opens with elf Trellis trying to make his way out of a mysterious location. Before he leaves he witnesses something and reveals some information about himself. The story then falls to Ippo where the Resistance is preparing to battle the forces of evil. Vigo Light speaks with Riva, telling her she’s got to be the leader of a particular group, though she doesn’t think she’s ready. The evil elves land just outside the city and their leader Logi does something very surprising, ultimately revealing something staggering on Page 39. The story then turns to Emily who has a lot of obstacles to getting free. How she overcomes them is very engaging and had me turning pages extremely quickly to see what would happen next. The sequence that begins on 44 is spectacular. The book then transitions to Nevin who is given a task that he must achieve with Aly. The pair make a good team, with each sharing bits of information about themselves with the other and with the reader. There’s a really neat action sequence that ends their adventure. Even after missing the previous installment in this saga, I was able to understand what was going on, who the characters were, and what the stakes were. This was an very engaging read. Overall grade: A

The art and colors: Kibuishi is also the artist of this book, but he didn’t work alone. Colors and backgrounds are credited to Jason Caffoe, Amy Kim Kibuishi, Forrest Dickison, Tim Probert, Polyna Kim, Audra Ann Furuichi, Dereck Tsai, Amanda Jane Sharpe, Joe Marquis, and Kelly Hamilton. Additionally, page flattening was done by Crystal Kan, Megan Brennan, Polyna Kim, Joey Han, Audra Ann Furuichi, Lindesy Reimer, and Preston Do. No other book looks like this in graphic novels or comics. The characters look terrific, be they human, elf, or alien. Their reactions will make readers’ hearts sing and bring them to tears. My favorite character was Emily because she has incredible power,that reminded me of another character from another medium named Jean Grey; the artists made Emily awesome. When not in full power mode, she appeared to be a normal human, but she shows that she is capable of much more. Ippo is very much a fantasy setting, with the city being a marvelous looking location. If the book had just had the characters walk among its streets for several pages talking I would have been absolutely content. Ippo looks so good that when the book moves to the science fiction setting with Nevin it’s jarring, and it should be. It visually reminds the reader that there are other forces at work in this universe. As with Ippo, I would have been ecstatic to have the characters just walking around the space station. I’m a huge fans of aliens and robots and there several outstanding ones in this book, as well some incredible neat giant robots controlled by crews inside them. Fantasy and science fiction blend seamlessly when Nevin and Aly reach their destination. It’s a credit to Kibuishi and his team with how exceptional this book looks. Overall grade: A+

The letters: There’s no specific credit given to the letterer of this book, but there should be because the lettering looks unlike anything in other graphic novels. The lettering has a very hand drawn look, as opposed to the clean computerized texts of most comic books. This adds to the appeal of the book’s visuals by making the panels seem more organic. The sound effects also have the same impact, with them being sensational each time they appear. Overall grade: A

The final line: This is a fantastic story that brings fantasy and science fiction together with gorgeous visuals. Outstanding tension will keep readers on their toes as they try to turn pages fast enough to see what happens next. There’s only one more volume to go before this saga ends. One can jump in here and easily get caught up in the power of Amulet. Overall grade: A

To order a hardcover copy go to https://shop.scholastic.com/parent-ecommerce/books/amulet-8-supernova-9780545850025.html

To order a paperback copy go to https://shop.scholastic.com/parent-ecommerce/books/amulet-8-supernova-9780545828604.html

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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