The Amber Anthem graphic novel takes the reader right back into the story of Oona and her friends, An Tzu and Jax, as they try to save their 5 Worlds. I highly recommend reading the previous books before diving into The Amber Anthem, which is the fourth volume in the 5 Worlds series. The latest and penultimate installment by Mark Siegel, Alexis Siegel, Xanthe Bouma, Matt Rockefeller, and Boya Sun, was full of adventure and friendship.
Oona has lighted three out of the five planetary beacons with the Living Fire. But landing on Salassandra, home of many religions and peoples, brings them new challenges. Oona is now well known throughout the planetary system, and while some of the people are hopeful she will bring positive change, others are confused and doubtful, while some openly distrust her. Plus, Stan Moon (aka the Mimic) is plotting against Oona and her friends and has many greedy allies.
The evil Jax look-alike is out to thwart them, while the media is on the side of Stan Moon, who is trying to control the people by confusing them, “It’s not about them believing what you say, it’s about making sure they can’t believe anything at all.” Oona will have to strengthen her own beliefs and faith to win this round. But Stan Moon seems more interested in An Tzu in this book, claiming to know him. An Tzu, who is still suffering from a strange illness, has a startling revelation that will change everything.
Meanwhile, Jax tries to get his StarBall fans to rally around Oona’s cause. Unfortunately, the crowd is more interested in sports than saving the 5 Worlds. The three friends have a seemingly impossible task this time. Will Oona be able to light the beacon?
The Amber Anthem is fast-paced and exciting. Yet there is plenty of heart and time to meet new friends, like Flower, one of the plant people. The artwork is bright and flowing from one scene to the next. My favorite scenes are with Oona’s expression in her dance as she discovers more insight into the Living Fire. The creators know when to linger and show an event from every angle.
There is a huge scene in The Amber Anthem that truly captures the theme of the series: “We are joined in the same fates…we celebrate living…we celebrate giving…” And a small panel with just the three main characters hugging, knowing that if they believe in each other, they can accomplish anything.
50% female speaking characters- yay!
The creators of 5 Worlds have put together a free coloring book available online and encourage you to submit your work. Go here!
You can read my interview with Mark Siegel about the entire series.
Highly recommend The Amber Anthem for middle grade- junior high.