The fourth volume of the 5 Worlds series, The Amber Anthem, came out in spring 2020, a beacon (if you will) of joy in a very bleak time. Now that things have improved a bit from that scary moment, it’s a pleasure to finally get to return for the story’s final installment, The Emerald Gate.
Oona, along with pals An Tzu and Jax Amboy, have arrived on Grimbo (E) in search of the final beacon. But close as they are to reaching their goal of lighting all five beacons and saving the Five Worlds, it also feels like they are frustratingly far away. An Tzu is still hiding the fact that he’s infected with some of the Mimic’s evil, a wound that gives him unwelcome insight into the Mimic’s plans. And no one on Grimbo (E) seems even to know if the planet’s beacon exists – an all-consuming sentient moss coats the entire planet, and most assume that if there ever was an Emerald Beacon, it’s long gone by now.
The trio finds unlikely help from an old friend of Oona’s, who connects them with members of the Beanu people, native inhabitants of Grimbo (E). They alone seem to understand how to communicate with the moss, and their legends might hold the key to finding the final beacon. Yet An Tzu is almost sure Stan Moon now wants the beacons to be lit, opening a portal that would allow him to extend his devastating power to other worlds. He knows Oona is determined to complete her task no matter what… but what if she’s wrong?
In all five volumes, 5 Worlds has never faltered, and The Emerald Gate is no exception, sure to please readers who have long been awaiting the story’s conclusion. Plenty happens in this volume, as our knowledge of the Five Worlds and its wonders continues to grow and our heroes face new challenges, but it also effectively weaves together elements from earlier books to make it feel like a fitting goodbye to the story and its characters. All of Oona’s previous experiences help her become who she needs to be to light the beacons and save the Five Worlds, and the creators take care to show us how significant each part of her journey has been.
An appreciation of the series would also be incomplete without acknowledging its three top-notch illustrators – Xanthe Bouma, Matt Rockefeller, and Boya Sun – who made the Five Worlds such a beautiful place to explore. I’ll be looking forward to seeing what all of the creators do next!