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Waverider (Amulet #9)


Readability Age Range



Year Published

Book Review

After finally coming to understand the true power of her magical amulet, Emily Hayes must join together with new friends to face the corrupting forces of evil.

Plot Summary

Emily Hayes’ adventure began after her father died in an accident and she, her mom, and her younger brother, Navin, moved into her great-grandfather’s mysterious house.

There, she found a hidden-away magical amulet that began to talk to her. Then her mother was kidnapped by a tentacled monstrosity. And she and her brother were led into an exotic world of magic, elves, robots and talking animals.

All that, however, was only the beginning of the winding, incredible story that unfolded before her. Since then, Emily has found great friends, learned to use her amulet’s power, given battle to a wyvern and an elf assassin, and eventually faced off with even more dangerous dark forces.

The darkest and most deceptive of these foes is that Voice—a whispering, malevolent entity that uses people’s emotions against them. Emily has since come to know it as Ikol. It uses shadows, dark power and half-truths to possess and control.

Emily has learned enough about her amulet’s power to dispel Ikol’s shadow creatures. But it’s time to face off with the greater darkness. She’s not alone: there are other “Stonekeepers” like her. But Ikol and its darkness is a huge powerful force.

This showdown will require that Emily and all her friends—those from her past and present—to rally together to face off with the great threat before them.

Only then can they hope to survive.

Christian Beliefs

There are no directly Christian themes in this book, but there are a number of conflicts between good and evil, truth and lies and light versus darkness that could suggest biblical parallels.

Other Belief Systems

This is a story of magic fantasy mixed with science fiction elements.

[Spoiler Warning] Along with the use of magical blasts, curses and what appears to be spiritual possession, for instance, we learn that Ikol is actually a computer program. And his “masters” are a small group of robots. All of that is also tied back into the special stones that Emily and others wield.

There’s also something called “the Void” in the story mix; an alternate spectrum of reality that can be accessed through an individual’s stone. Stonekeepers can channel memories of the past, gain information, battle foes and even alter the past there. However, Ikol is much stronger in the Void, and if a Stonekepper dies in that Void, their physical body is turned to stone.

Authority Roles

Since this book concludes the entire series, there is a plethora of characters who pop up and disappear as their stories resolve. It’s clear that some older characters have a strong influence on the younger characters, but we don’t take a great deal of time to fully get to know them here.

One older character, however, is a Stonekeeper named Vigo who appears to sacrifice his life in an effort to save a young boy by giving himself to a dark entity and disappearing. (We learn later that he didn’t actually die, but he did give up his life as he knew it.)

One character also walks away from a position of great power, realizing that positions of leadership and authority demand a great deal and can sometimes change people in terrible ways. “They would destroy even their friends and family if they believed it would help them succeed,” someone says of that type of corrupted leader.

Emily comes to realize that the forces of darkness use someone’s anger and hatred against them. And though she still pushes back against Ikol and his darkness, she makes a clear decision not to cling to those sorts of heated feelings. “I don’t hate anyone. Not even you,” Emily tells the dark entity. She even encourages Ikol to let go of the things he clings to.

Profanity & Violence

There is no alcohol or profanity in this story. But people are possessed by shadows and then rage against others.

Emily magically casts huge fiery blasts. She turns a library to ash and hits large shadow beasts with the power from her amulet. Large robot ships pummel one another. People possessed by shadow creatures cry out from the painful feelings in their heads. And Stonekeepers turn into giant animals.

Sexual Content


Discussion Topics

Emily makes a choice to turn away from her anger and feelings of hate. How did that help her? Do you think that kind of choice might be helpful in our real world? How do you think someone does that?

Take a look at Psalms 37:8-9. How does this verse encourage us? What does it say that our wrath often leads to? Why is that true?

Have you read the Amulet series? One ongoing part of the story deals with Emily’s ongoing grief over the loss of her dad. Have you ever lost someone close to you? How do you deal with that grief? Have you ever looked to Scripture for guidance with that?

Take a look at Psalm 34:18, Psalm 73:26 and Matthew 5:4. What are these verses saying about how God sees our grief?

Additional Comments

After a five-and-a-half year wait, Waverider (Amulet #9) concludes the long-running Amulet series. And this has been a very popular series indeed, with over 7 million copies of the books in print since 2009.

It should be noted, however, that those who have never read any of previous graphic novels in this winding fantasy/sci-fi series should probably start with an earlier entry, since author Kazu Kibuishi attempts to tie up the many story threads here. And it’s not always easy to follow as a stand-alone book.

Those who do dive in, though, will find a colorful, artistically pleasing story of a resilient girl (and others) fighting against the deceptive ways of evil. Light-focused magic dispels dark shadow creatures that want to infect and possess the innocent.

In that context, then, you can draw some spiritual parallels to biblical stories of sacrifice and love. (One character literally gives his life, for instance, to vanquish a darkness and save others.) The story repeatedly encourages readers to turn away from anger and hate and embrace a life of grace, service and love.

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Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not necessarily their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book’s review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Review by Bob Hoose