The Amber Amulet
Allen & Unwin, $16.99 hb, 81 pp, 9781742379982
Word Hunters: The Curious Dictionary
by Nick Earls and Terry Whidborne
University of Queensland Press, $14.95 pb, 256 pp, 9780702249457
Craig Silvey’s The Amber Amulet is a deceptively simple tale that hides many classic themes within its layers. By night, twelve-year-old Liam McKenzie patrols Franklin Street in the guise of super-hero the Masked Avenger, aided (and sometimes hindered) by his sidekick, Richie the Powerbeagle. The prime belief underpinning the Masked Avenger’s doctrine is the enormous potential of dormant energy that is trapped in gemstones and minerals, which hold specific powers. He believes that energy is omnipresent, but as the world is both positively and negatively charged, he is very aware that the balance between good and evil can easily be disturbed, and he is thus constantly on the lookout for ‘Trouble’.