In Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld, written by Shannon and Dean Hale with art by Asiah Fulmore, a lost princess returns to her world with a giant sword and makes adorable friendships.
Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld
Becca Carey (letters), Asiah Fulmore (art), Shannon and Dean Hale (writers)
November 9, 2021
Amaya, firstborn of House Amethyst, a princess of Gemworld, and her little brother Quartz are always getting into magical scrapes. Amaya is just a kid, but one with a ton of power and not much direction or oversight. One day when they push things too far, Amaya is “grounded” to Earth for a week to teach her a lesson. The next thing we readers know is that it is three years later, and it seems she has forgotten Gemworld entirely. When she’s summoned back, her good friend Autumn is pulled with her, and together they learn about a Gemworld in peril, threatened by a villain called Flaw.
Both the color scheme and premise of Amethyst are much like that in She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, a world where different realms’ giant magic gems form a network that protects it, and a foretold hero with great hair and a giant sword has impressive powers.
At first, it seemed like Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld would pair well with I am Not Starfire. Both are about mom issues in the beginning. However, Amaya is right that her mom is ignoring her. Her mom does not seem that interested in parenting, and surprisingly, there isn’t a governess or nanny figure to pick up the slack. Unsurprisingly, no one expects Amaya’s dad to mind the kids, either.
However, after Amaya returns to Gemworld with her friend Autumn and the plot revolves around them figuring out how to address the issue of Flaw with their new pal Prince Topaz, the mom issues are not addressed. Instead, it turns out that Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld becomes a friends’ adventure story, and a fun one.
Asiah Fulmore’s art is great, with swirling lines, clear resemblances among family members, and a range of body types among characters. The depictions of people and places are both atmospheric and easily understood. The colorwork is fantastic, too, which seems really important for Gemworld since the different realms are suffused with the color of their gems. When the friends’ team battles Flaw, Fulmore’s sensitive depiction conveys what kind of a creature Flaw eventually turns out to be, in the story’s big reveal at the end.
Fulmore’s art is new to me, but Shannon and Dean Hale have been one of my favorite writing teams for a long time since their Princess in Black picture book series illustrated by LeUyen Pham is entirely charming. Another middle-grade graphic novel written by them, Diana, Princess of the Amazons, is also beloved in my household. Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld is in a similar vein but not my new favorite from this team.
The friendships and dialogue are fun, but the plot and premise are complicated. Things that are thematically important at the beginning of the story are not resolved, like the lack of parenting Amaya and Quartz’s parents do. Luckily, I doubt those issues will matter for the intended audience of child and tween readers, who will be drawn in by the wholesome sleepover party games Amaya, Autumn and Topaz play together and the brave things they yell to each other while flying.
Asiah Fulmore’s beautiful art makes the book extremely pretty, and the plot has kids working together in some wholesome magical swashbuckling. I will definitely be handing this one to my fairy-princess-loving kid.