Craig Silvey was catapulted into author stardom with the release of his award winning gritty novel, Jasper Jones (2009).
Authors often have a set formula which they follow in order to create the ultimate novel. It seems this is not the case with Silvey. His latest offering, The Amber Amulet, is different in almost every way to his famed Jasper Jones. The only similarity is that his readers, particularly the boys, will enjoy both.
In the age of eBooks it is a joy to see such a tactile book. Together the illustrator, Sonia Martinez, and Silvey have created this beautiful gem of a book packed full of letters, maps and illustrations. The striking front cover resembles covers of noir detective fiction.
The premise behind The Amber Amulet is to eliminate unhappiness, an insurmountable task for most, but twelve year old Liam McKenzie is not daunted, rather he feels it is his calling. As dusk falls Liam McKenzie transforms into the Masked Avenger of Franklin Street as he embarks on his mission to save the local residents. He turns off sprinklers, checks tyre pressure and even takes out the rubbish. Here’s hoping this book inspires a generation of boys to save the residents in their street. It would be most welcome.
Beneath the humour of Liam’s story lies a more intricate one. Liam realises that Joan, a lady in his street, is crippled with unhappiness. As any true Masked Avenger would, he feels it is his duty to eliminate the negative energy responsible for causing her state of unhappiness. He drops a questionnaire into her letterbox, as the Masked Avenger, and awaits her response. Is Joan finally in safe hands? Will the positive energy counteract her unhappiness?
The Masked Avenger must now rescue Joan. He straps on his Amazing Powerbelt full of the essentials necessary for the task. Precious materials such as graphite, nickel and other potent gems make up his power source. With his trusty Powerbelt in place the Masked Avenger will unlock his superpowers on the peaceful neighbourhood of Franklin Street. Truth, determination and strength are necessary to save the world, and Joan.
The Masked Avenger could not even hope to achieve world saviour status without the help of his trusty sidekick, Ritchie the Powerbeagle, whose Thunderjacket wards away dark energy. Together they patrol Franklin Street making sure that the balance between Good and Evil remains as it should and never swings towards the forces of Evil.
Full of pathos and humour, Silvey has written a touching story that celebrates childhood.
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