Review by Frank Plowright
Prince of the Elves is unusual outing for Amulet in that Emily and her allies aren’t seen at all during the book’s first quarter, which instead provides more information about Max and why he’d be willing to betray humanity and ally himself with the elves. It’s a clever piece of background on Kazu Kibuishi’s part. In one respect it makes Max a more sympathetic character despite his betrayal in The Last Council. It certainly makes his motivations more understandable, and it provides a surprising reflection of Trellis, the elf prince. Essentially they both feel betrayed, but due to a clever revelation dropped here, they could both achieve what they want.
Contrast has been evident in the art from the beginning. Kibuishi keeps the storytelling simple, but every book includes a few gloriously painted spreads brimming with imagination and detail. These are the treats, though, and although the page to page art is plain, it ensures what’s becoming an ever more complex story can be followed with ease.
As the title and cover indicate, with this story Prince Trellis plays a larger part. Eventually. Before his journey takes place the dangers of it as it occurred to others is explained, although unfortunately not to Trellis. When his turn in the spotlight comes it occupies a good chunk of Prince of the Elves and what’s learned feeds directly into the bigger picture. It’s both enlightening and frightening.
If it wasn’t already clear, there will be no doubts after this that Kibuishi is building an epic on a grand scale, gradually involving more characters, and ensuring we’re never entirely sure whether they’ve been tempted to the Dark Side. Escape From Lucien is next.