by Kazu Kibuishi
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars
Emily and her family move to an old house that’s been in the family for generations. Rumors are that the place is haunted, since Emily’s great-grandfather moved in ages ago and was never seen again. The night they move in, they discover the house’s secret and are sucked into an alternate-reality Earth, with new creatures and characters both good and bad. With the help of an amulet and her ancestor’s assistants, Emily fights to keep her family together.
Solid story and very imaginative. I only had to reread a few sequences twice to fully grasp what was going on. In one sequence, a scene between Emily and her mother echoes one from the beginning of the book in a very touching way. My favorite part is the sound effects, which are very accurate. I often find it hard to follow big action scenes in graphic novels, but this one did a pretty good job – in part, I think, thanks to the sound effects. I’m not sure I’ll read more than this first book, but it’s so popular in my library I felt like I had to! Like most graphic novels, it’s a quick read (took me about an hour) and satisfying, though the adventure continues.
The stakes are clear and high for Emily at each turn: if she loses her mother, she and Nevin are orphans. If she chooses to accept the amulet and her role as Stonekeeper, she can rewind time (and, the implication is, ensure that her father doesn’t die) and find happiness again. Etc. A post on the author’s website announces he’s working on books 8 and 9 as of May 2016, which will close out the series.