Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Amber Amulet by Craig Silvey a review by The Bookchook

Another wonderful review by The Bookchook, this time of Craig Silvey's latest title, The Amber Amulet.

Dear Ma'am,

Please find enclosed this AMBER AMULET. It will protect you from sadness.
That must sound unusual to a citizen, but you will have to trust me on this count because the science is too detailed for me to outline here. All you need to know is that the AMBER AMULET will eliminate your unhappiness by counteracting it with POSITIVE ENERGY.

Fear not, you're in safe hands now,
Take care,
The Masked Avenger.

The Masked Avenger is the secret identity of twelve-year old Liam MacKenzie. The Masked Avenger derives his powers by harnessing the dormant energy embedded within everyday objects that other citizens overlook. The powers that lay in certain gemstones and minerals can be used for both good and evil and only the Masked Avenger knows how to unlock their properties. Wearing his green supersuit, featuring his Amazing Powerbelt, and accompanied by his Partner in Justice, Richie the Powerbeagle, who is turned out in a monogrammed tartan Thunderjacket, the Masked Avenger patrols peaceful, suburban Franklin Street. He performs various good deeds, from tending to faulty sprinklers and low tyre pressure, ever vigilant for chaos and mayhem. But now the Masked Avenger faces his greatest mission yet - solving the unhappiness of the beautiful neighbour at the end of the street.

As I began reading this novella, I was tempted to stop as I thought it was another boys' own adventure. However, I was soon enthralled by this tale of honesty and truth, of facing our fears openly and having the courage to unlock our feelings. There is a sadness here, for both the Masked Avenger and his “citizens”, as well as a gentle humour. Liam longs to create “an enormous invisible skull that repels all Evil and traps tranquillity.” In seeking to protect and shield the inhabitants of Franklin Street, Liam also exposes their fears and gives them the energy to defeat them.

The Amber Amulet is a visual delight. Part of the joy of reading it lies in the physicality of the book. It is a lovely size and the thick glossy pages are a pleasure to turn. The book is illustrated throughout by Sonia Martinez, with scrapbook-style pictures and handwritten notes by Liam. This reflects the comic books of the 1940s, when superheroes fought the good fight against the forces of evil.

The Amber Amulet is an unusual short read. The author, Craig Silvey, has been the recipent of many awards, winning the Australian Book Industry Award in 2010 for Book of the Year. Liam's efforts to make sense of a world he doesn't fully understand, and the search for truth and justice, are rewards for us all. A gem.

Publisher: Allen & Unwin, 2012

This book is available as an eBook through our EBL eBook collection, login with your library barcode no. and PIN to access this collection here OR you can get the print version from your local library branch.

 Visit Newcastle Region Library's Catalogue and Website.

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