The Amber Amulet by Craig Silvey

craig-silvey‘The Masked Avenger can make things happen.’ And make things happen he will!

Using the full spectrum of his energy-driven superskills – granite for Poise and Determination, tiger’s eye for Speed and Agility, amethyst for Truth and Honesty – he fights for justice, peace and the safety of all Citizens.

This is the story of 12-year-old Liam McKenzie who, disguised as the Masked Avenger, introduces us to the world of precious stones and secret identities, magnetometers and latent energy sources. It is his calling to patrol and protect his neighbourhood against evil, crime and household dangers.

In particular, he is concerned about an intense unhappiness and despair that is emanating, unchecked, from the house at the end of the street. The Masked Avenger decides that it is his responsibility to set things right with its resident, a beguiling flame-haired woman named Joan.

This is a story that would fit wonderfully within a collection or series. It continues some of the themes of fraught adventure and superhero antics that Craig Silvey’s 2009 Jasper Jones explored, and is a coming-of-age story of an engaging and unlikely adolescent hero as he unknowingly stumbles into the adult world of his beautiful yet troubled neighbour.

The Amber Amulet is a quaint tale of heroism and bravery – but the adventures of the Masked Avenger teach us that bravery can take on many different forms. Silvey’s playful story and precocious tone cut to the heart of what living can, and should, really be about. The Masked Avenger learns that sometimes truth and honesty are the bravest, most important superpowers that anyone can posses.

Amy Vuleta works as a bookseller at Readings St Kilda.