Monday, July 16, 2012

The Familiars

The Familiars (The Familiars, 1) by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson, 2010. 360 pages. Published by HarperCollins. Source: Library.
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.
First Sentence:

It all started with Aldwyn's whiskers beginning to tingle-the way they always did when he got hungry.

So I finally got around to ordering The Familiars from the library- did not even bother to read what it was about- and I must say it was absolutely delightful. I devoured it in a few hours.

I rarely read books were the main protagonist is an animal, or in the case of The Familiars, with a cast of talking, furry characters. While I generally do not read books with non-human protagonists, I thought that The Familiars was an excellently written book with some of the most entertaining characters.
Since The Familiars was a little out of my reading norm, I bet you're wondering why I loved it so much. Well, that would have to be that the writing, plot, and characters were absolutely intriguing and believable. I liked that Aldwyn, Skylar, and Gilbert all had their faults and  of their past that they would rather keep to themselves. I found it interesting that the author gave them each such complex pasts and how their pasts ended up playing a pretty big role in how the plot unfolded.

While the characters themselves and their backstory was interesting, I really liked mystery aspect of the story.

Aldwyn was so cute, and funny. I thought he made for an interesting protagonist because he was just so clueless at first while still trying to fool everyone into thinking that he was something that he wasn't...
Skylar, I must say that I did not care too much for the little blur jay. I found her extremely hard to like at the beginning of the book because she was just too much of a know-it-all. Although, I did enjoy the little reveal about her past near the end of the book.

The one thing that I can easily say was my favorite thing about The Familars would have to be the familiars. I absolutely loved them, especially Aldwyn. I really liked that fact that they had such diverse personalities and that they were funny without trying to be funny. Got some funny looks from my sisters and parents every time I startle giggling while reading this one.

While I really enjoyed reading The Familiars there were a couple of points during the book where the story kinda dragged along, and where the plot got a little sidetracked. Although there were some slow parts and whatnot, I felt that it did not really take too much away from my enjoyment of this book.

Final Verdict: Totally loved The Familiars and am quite excited to read the next installment.

The Familiars earns 4 out of 5 pineapples.

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