Page 45 Review by Stephen
"I have never travelled there to help someone remember.
"These memories are the kind you want to forget."
These memories are also the kind which others want buried, forgotten.
They have been wiped from the minds of individuals and hidden deep underwater in The Cortex, a space ship the size of a city. It's there that Emily must travel next, in the company of one other Stonekeeper and an old enemy whom she has little reason to trust, except that he warned Emily so long ago about her Stone and its Voice and she singularly failed to listen.
But trust has to be earned, and it has to be reciprocated in order to mean anything worthwhile. I'm afraid in one instance here, it may prove everyone's undoing...
I don't think we've been underwater in AMULET before, have we? What creatures do you imagine lurk in its vast, inky depths? What does a Tenta-Drive look like? The Cortex itself, shimmering in the dark, will take your breath away!
AMULET is our best-selling all-ages fantasy renowned for its majestic landscapes; its Hayao Miyazaki flourishes like the library in the lake surrounded by pale, mist-shrouded mountains last volume, its ancient structure built on the back of a gigantic stone sculpture of the Elf nation's very first leader, holding it aloft like Atlas.
Here there's a vast mountain range whose massive, craggy, snow-ridged peaks rise high above the clouds, and I love the dry-brush effect of the yellow-green grass on their sweeping plains and the perilous path which Navin and company must negotiate in their next step to be reunited with his sister Emily and the rest of the resistance.
AMULET began with family and here it comes back to the fore.
There's the flying restaurant where Suzy makes a point of treating her staff like family and ensures the patrons feel like they are dining at home. There's the Elf King, his son Trellis and Trellis' Uncle Virgil: Uncle Virgil taught knowledge, history and the importance of asking questions; Trellis' father dismissed all those in favour of training in tactics and military exercises as well as blind obedience.
Specifically AMULET began with the death of Emily and Navin's Dad in a car accident back on Earth, after which their Mum took them to live at their great grandfather's empty and abandoned house in the countryside.
Swept through a portal into the world of Alledia, they've made many allies but also enemies and become embroiled in a war between humans and elves, the real reason behind which will finally be revealed. Along the way Emily found herself in possession of a Stone which granted her telekinetic powers. Or did she become possessed by it? We've since met other Stonekeepers, some kindly, some less in control than others. Crucially none of them were ever trained to become Stonekeepers but selected instead.
Then the Stone started speaking to Emily, and less and less has she liked what it said.
"Vigo... do you think all Stonekeepers are cursed? Maybe that's why we were chosen.
"Not because we were the most powerful... but because we were the most vulnerable."
As AMULET VOL 7 opens Emily awakens from a heart-wrenching dream of her Dad to find that her Stone seems particularly interested in their new destination: a supply station which was attacked but not ransacked and is now flooded with echoes, with memories. Which is where, I believe, we came in.
"Be careful who you trust, Chief.
"Not everyone you believe is an ally has your best interests at heart."
Trust, trust, it's all about trust and while the above is most certainly true - leading readers to watch old allies and newcomers anxiously! - what's very refreshing about this series is how many supposed enemies have proved themselves capable of reconsideration, gratitude and honour. Throughout AMULET Kibuishi has made it equally clear that you cannot judge individuals by their race or nation, and the majority by the actions of the minority at the top. Humans versus Dark Elves: it may seem clear-cut on the surface but everything is a matter of perspective, and humans, as we know, are capable of many atrocities and much injustice. So many here have become moulded by their past.
Much of which Kibuishi has carefully laid down long ago is finally coming together - so much more than expected. It's not over yet but, given the scale of the revelations and reactions - the most shocking in the series so far - we're certainly getting close!