Tuesday 27 November 2012

The Amber Amulet

Oh my, I don't think I can say how much I love this tiny gem of a book. An early contender for book of the year.

I love the story, the writing, the styling, the cover, the humour, the warmth, the humanity, the fabulous illustrations. And they all work together to enchance each other. It's extraordinary, quite extraordinary, most unlike anything I've read before I think. I was planning to give my copy to my local library (trying to cut down on the bookshelves, an unwinnable game, but still I try), but I know that I can't part with it. Perhaps I'll buy them a copy? Poor things, they certainly need one.

Fabulous illustrations by Sonia Martinez

The Amber Amulet is the story of 12 year old Liam McKenzie who lives with his mum in suburban Franklin Street. Except Liam is no ordinary kid, he has superpowers, enhanced by geological items on his Amazing Powerbelt, and his special outfit.

Adorning his wrist is a copper bracelet that his grandmother wore to soothe her arthritis, but he knows it is better used to amplify Empathy and Mercy. Pinned to his heart is his grandfather's bronze service medal, for Bravery and Valour. Two clear silicone discs secured in a wire frame rest on the bridge of his nose. They give his eyes Supersight, as well as protecting them against Debris, Hypnosis and Poking. 

Liam doesn't sleep much and at night he prowls his street as the Masked Avenger, aided by his "loyal crime-fighting comrade, Richie the Powerbeagle".

Picture source

The Masked Avenger looks out for his neighbours, he mends loose gates, and notices when their car tyres are flat. Franklin Street is "clean, orderly and respectful", but the Masked Avenger is "particularly concerned by the woman in the house at the end of the street. Something there is deeply amiss, though he can't quite put his finger on it."

The Amber Amulet is so compellingly readable. The Masked Avengers interactions with Joan, the lady at the end of the street are poignant, heartfelt and moving. I had saved this book to read on a short plane flight from Hobart to Melbourne. I'm glad I did, I loved it so much that I read it again on the flight from Melbourne to Sydney.

Craig Silvey is a young Australian writer, a mere 30 years old this year. I read, and loved, his previous book Jasper Jones, and still think of it fairly often. Zombie Cheeses. That still cracks me up. Listen to Craig Silver talk about The Amber Amulet recently on Books and Arts Daily. It's soon to be a short film. Yay. Will look out for it. I must search out his first book Rhubarb.


Brona said...

Like you I loved Jasper Jones, Louise, but I wasn't sure about this one.
You may have tempted me though to give it a try - thanks :-)

Swan Pond said...

Cool cover, I'll look into this one. Right now I'm halfway through the one about the noisy bangs in Norway!!

bermudaonion said...

When I saw the cover, I thought this was an older book, but the inside doesn't appear to be. It looks like an awesome book!!

Unknown said...

I suffer from the same issue, Louise, of overloaded bookshelves. I can't wait to add this one! Thanks for sharing it with us.--Katie

Sim Carter said...

That sounds really good. I love the idea of a power beagle - my beagle could use some super powers. He's hurt his leg and is just lying beside me, looking pathetic. Very cool cover. And a short movie too? Right up my alley.