The Familiars by Adam Jay Epstein & Andrew Jacobson
Is the kingdom’s fate in the hands of an orphan cat? Running fast to save his life, Aldwyn ducks into an unusual pet store. Moments later Jack, a young wizard in training, comes in to choose a magical animal to be his familiar. Aldwyn’s always been clever. But magical? Jack thinks so—and Aldwyn is happy to play along.
He just has to convince the other familiars—the know-it-all blue jay Skylar and the friendly tree frog Gilbert—that he’s the powerful cat he claims to be. Then the unthinkable happens. Jack and two other young wizards are captured by the evil queen of Vastia. On a thrilling quest to save their loyals, the familiars face dangerous foes, unearth a shocking centuries-old secret, and discover a destiny that will change Vastia forever. Their magical adventure—an irresistible blend of real heart, edge-of-your-seat action, and laugh-out-loud humor—is an unforgettable celebration of fantasy and friendship. (From Amazon.ca)
I’d have to say this is one of the best Middle Grade novels I have ever read so far. Not only does it provide a very interesting and different point of view (this book focuses on familiars, not the magic users), but the book also provides illustrations – which were well done and nice to look at to provide a good visual picture for the story.
I absolutely loved the plot. From the start of the book you could already tell this was going to be a book filled with adventure and action. This is definitely a book that you won’t stop reading until you are done. The bits of humor also makes this book a great light read (Gilbert happens to be the great comic relief in this book) for readers of all ages (but mostly geared towards younger readers).
I thought it was an interesting and different approach to have the story told through the point of view of the familiars and not the magic casters – which is what is usually seen throughout fantasy books. The magic system is simple and easy to understand but it’s also interesting to see the Familiars themselves also having to cast and deal with magic as well.
I loved the characters in this book! Aldwyn of course, is my particular favorite because of his underdog status and he’s a great character overall. The Familiars themselves are great characters and are fun to read. Gilbert is there for the comic relief, and Skylar – she can be annoying, but she’s also quite intelligent and has her uses throughout the book. What stands out is Aldwyn and his clever ways to attempt to pretend he’s a magical familiar, although this does have serious consequences, you’ll find it only gets better as Aldwyn finds his true talent deep within.
I am definitely going to get the second book of this series. There’s lot of questions that haven’t been answered and there is so much more to look forward to! It’s really not until the final chapters of the book where the real plot was just about to begin. Yes, you were taken on a journey with three Familiars, but that was just a great big introduction to what looks like a very interesting storyline.
This was a wonderful read, geared towards children, yet I think it’s a fun read for adults as well. Filled with lots of action, fun, you’ll find it’s a great read for those that want a light fantasy, with no complicated plot hooks, magic systems, and worlds. It’s a light fast read that will keep you turning the pages, and wanting to look forward to the next book in this series.
I give it a 9.5 out of 10.
The cover grabbed my attention for this one. I LOVE KITTIES!!!!!