"The Masked Avenger paces restlessly into the night. In replying to his Important Questionnaire, she has entrusted him with her care. She is now his civic responsibility. He has inherited her unhappiness. Overturning it has become his duty.
But how? He bounces ideas off Richie, who listens intently but seems ultimately unimpressed. It’s a difficult problem to solve without being privy to the origins of her complaint. For all his expertise in the fields of mineralogy and metallurgy, he can’t be sure that there is a gem that cures unhappiness outright." (31)
In the end, this small, easy-to-read novel goes deeper than its pulp fiction presentation might suggest. Liam’s impact on the world around him and his own subtle transformation is as much a coming-of-age as that of the teenager Charlie Bucktin in Jasper Jones. The Masked Avenger has a sad edge, both in the very adult problems of Joan – something that Liam intuits rather than gets, and also in the underlying loneliness of Liam.
Younger children may well enjoy the fun action, the simplicity and imagery of the book, and the appealing character of Liam, his alter ego, and his clever dog, but older readers will pick up on the emotional growth through the soft ache below the surface. The Amber Amulet is an appealing offering from a writer whose fresh perspective on youth has already created such an impact in the literary world.