In the fourth installment of the 5 Worlds graphic novel series, Oona and her friends An Tzu and Jax Amboy are on their way to light the fourth beacon on Salassandra. They’re closer than ever to completing their mission of lighting all five beacons to balance the five worlds, which means that their enemies are also ramping up their opposition, sowing seeds of untruth and misinformation to thwart our heroes’ task.
When they arrive on Salassandra, they find the planet’s beacon encased in amber; the only way for Oona to light it is to lead 10,000 voices in the singing of the Amber Anthem. But first, they have to figure out what the Amber Anthem is – and find 10,000 people to sing it with them.
I’ve been a fan of this series since Volume 1, and The Amber Anthem doesn’t disappoint. Longtime readers will be particularly gratified as we see the series mythology deepen, with this volume delving more into both An Tzu’s and Ram Sam Sam’s true natures (and definitely raising the stakes for what’s to come next!).
I was also struck, more than ever, by the series’ resonances in our own time. Not only does Oona’s quest resemble our own fight against climate change and the frustrating obstacles that struggle faces, but villain Stan Moon’s nefarious tactics are also a familiar refrain for our time. At one point in The Amber Anthem, Moon instructs an underling not just to lie but to sow seeds of doubt so deeply that lies become indistinguishable from reality: “Once people can’t tell what is true, or don’t believe anything is true anymore, they’re yours to do with as you please.” It’s a statement that is almost scarily applicable to our present moment.
As ever, 5 Worlds continues to be a delight to read, especially as we move closer to a sure-to-be-epic finale. Readers drawn to the series’ vibrant graphics and richly imagined worldbuilding will not be disappointed.
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher, Random House, for review.