Amethyst: Princess of Gemworld by Shannon and Deal Hale, Illustrated by Asiah Fulmore
Published: 11.9.21 by DC Comics
Genre: Middle Grade Graphic Novel
Details: 156 pages, Paperback, E-Book
Rating: 5 Stars
Series: Book 1
Disclaimer: DC Comics sent me this graphic novel in exchange for an honest review. I accepted and reviewed this book voluntarily. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Content warnings at the end of the review.
Amaya, princess of House Amethyst in Gemworld, is something of a troublemaker. She and her brother have great fun together until a magical prank goes much too far and her parents ground her…to Earth! They hope a whole week in the mundane world will teach her that magic is a privilege…and maybe washing dishes by hand will help her realize the palace servants should be respected.
Three years later, Amy has settled into middle school and ordinary life. She doesn’t remember any other home. So when a prince of the realm brings her home and restores her magical destiny, how will she cope?
Let me begin this review by discussing the themes of this story – which includes self discovery, the dedication of friendship, standing up for what is right, and learning that privilege is power. I enjoyed this middle grade graphic novel as it was the perfect gateway into superheroes for young and/or reluctant readers! This story packed a punch right from the get go as we see Amaya growing up extremely pampered and spoiled – causing trouble wherever she goes. She gets one heck of a reality check when she is sent to earth as a punishment – sans her magic. When something goes wrong, Amaya gets stuck on Earth with her mage Aunt and they forget about magic. Amaya acclimates to her new environment relatively quickly, making friends and warding off enemies in middle school. I loved the age appropriate and modernized language (including doing the floss!), eliminating toxic masculinity through their friend Topaz, found families, and showing strong, powerful girls kicking butt!
The illustrations are fun and colorful! Sure to attract the eye of many types of readers. I found that teaching my kids to read and being excited about reading came in the form of graphic novels! They peak their interest and gives them context to the limited words and world building that comes with the territory of these types of stories. I loved the bright bold colors, I loved the diversity of the characters and I think the illustrator nailed it!
I gave this story 5 stars because 1) it’s meant for middle grade readers and 2) I don’t rate as an adult for books not targeted for me. I rate according to whether or not myself back in that age would have loved it. I truly believe that I would have enjoyed this story. My 9 year old read it in one sitting!
content warnings: bullying, threats of mild violence, divorce, amnesia
ABOUT THE AUTHORS/ILLUSTRATORS
SHANNON HALE (AUTHOR)
New York Times best selling author Shannon Hale started writing books at age ten and never stopped, eventually earning an MFA in Creative Writing. After nineteen years of writing and many rejections, she published The Goose Girl, the first in her award-winning Books of Bayern series. She has since published 30+ books for young readers including the Newbery Honor winner Princess Academy and its two sequels; multiple award winner Book of a Thousand Days; and graphic novel memoirs Real Friends, Best Friends, and Friends Forever (with LeUyen Pham). With frequent collaborator LeUyen Pham, she created the adorable picture book Itty-Bitty Kitty-Corn. Her novels for the adult crowd include Austenland (now a major motion picture starring Keri Russell). Shannon and her husband Dean Hale have collaborated on several projects, such as Eisner-nominee Rapunzel’s Revenge (with Nathan Hale); early chapter book series The Princess in Black (with LeUyen Pham); two novels about the unbeatable Marvel superhero, Squirrel Girl; and the DC graphic novel Diana: Princess of the Amazons (with Victoria Ying). They live with their four children and two cat overlords near Salt Lake City, Utah.
DEAN HALE (AUTHOR)
Dean Hale is the coauthor of the award-winning graphic novels Rapunzel’s Revenge and Calamity Jack and Scapegoat, his picture book debut. He lives in Utah with his wife and co-author, Shannon, and their children.
ASIAH FULMORE (ILLUSTRATOR)
AAsiah Fulmore is a freelance illustrator who currently lives in Columbia, South Carolina, with her two dogs, Ali and Ash. She spends her free time reading and loves to travel. If she got the chance to visit Gemworld, she’d hang with House Ruby, because they have the best food, obviously!
Rachael @rqdreads on Instagram!