Page 45 Review by Diamond Previews
Massively popular all-ages fantasy by the editor of the FLIGHT anthologies.
Previously on the AMULET: Two years after the death of their father, Navin's and Emily's Mom takes them to live in their great grandfather's house which has long since been abandoned, their great grandfather having gone missing some time ago. But on their very first night things go bump with a fright, and Emily's and Navin's mother is swallowed whole by some voracious cephalopod of sorts, and swept away into a subterranean tunnel that threatens to fall apart behind them. They run.
As the second book opens, Emily and Navin have survived their initial encounters with dark elves, squishy pink slugs and cat-eyed ectoplasmic monsters, and with the help of their new-found allies have even rescued their mother. Unfortunately she's dying of a poison which can only be cured using the fruits of the last remaining ancient Gadoba trees high up on a corpse-strewn mountain, but only one in a hundred of those fruits is a panacea: picking the one of the others means certain death. In addition, the entrance to the only known path through the mist-shrouded forest is blocked with explosives, and the ferocious elves are in hot pursuit. Emily must learn to control the power-hungry amulet she's been bequeathed without letting it control her whilst evading or engaging those who want her dead, one of whom has an amulet of its own
It's a beautifully drawn saga which wears its myriad influences on its sleeves (Miyazaki, Tolkien and any number of computer games like Soul Reaver, early Final Fantasy and even Ratchet & Clank), and in doing so the more derivative aspects are far easier to forgive. Amulets and elves, curses and prophesies, talking trees, a comedy robot with heart and courage, a swashbuckling fox, temptation, redemption... it's all been done before, but such a strong reaction to the first volume suggests that it's done so well that younger readers in particular see it not as derivative but as a cherry picking of all their favourite story elements into one colourful quest. The mechanically operated, colossal walking mansion that forms the eclectic heroes' base of operations is particularly impressive.