Circle of Heroes (Familiars Series #3)
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Circle of Heroes (Familiars Series #3)

4.6 60
by Adam Jay Epstein, Andrew Jacobson
     
 

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Aldwyn, a street-smart alley cat, pretended he had telekinetic powers so young wizard Jack would chose him as a familiar. Aldwyn then learned that he and two other familiars—Skylar the blue jay and Gilbert the tree frog—were destined to undertake a perilous quest to defeat Paksahara, an evil hare who'd been familiar to the queen.
 
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Overview

Aldwyn, a street-smart alley cat, pretended he had telekinetic powers so young wizard Jack would chose him as a familiar. Aldwyn then learned that he and two other familiars—Skylar the blue jay and Gilbert the tree frog—were destined to undertake a perilous quest to defeat Paksahara, an evil hare who'd been familiar to the queen.
 
In Circle of Heroes, the third book of The Familiars series for middle-grade readers, Paksahara and her undead animal army control the Shifting Fortress. Aldwyn and his friends have to recapture it to return magic to the queendom of Vastia.
 
Fans of The Guardians of Ga'hoole series and Erin Hunter's Warriors books will love the mix of humor, magic, and animal adventure story in Circle of Heroes by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Rachelle Andrade
When an evil rabbit wizard and her army of zombie animals threaten to take over the queendom of Vastia, there seems to be little chance of stopping her. After casting a disenchantment spell to remove magical powers from all human wizards, Paksahara, the diabolical hare, has commandeered the nearly invincible Shifting Fortress. This invisible floating fort can only be accessed through a magical union of seven descendants of the original heroes of Vastia. Since the realm has become too dangerous for their human loyals to navigate, the ?Prophesized Three' animal familiars seem to be Vastia's only hope. Aldwyn the cat, Skyler the blue jay, and Gilbert the tree frog must bravely embark on a quest to enlist the help of each of the seven needed species. They encounter resistance and peril at every turn as they race against the clock to complete their mission before the three glyphstones are destroyed and the Fortress can never be summoned again. This fast-paced and entertaining juvenile fiction story is the third in the enchanting saga of "The Familiars." While the book makes mention of many of the events and experiences of the previous two books, it is not necessary to read the entire series in order to enjoy this epic tale. Black-and-white illustrations scattered throughout the book help the reader to visualize the scenes and action sequences. Children will be fascinated by imaginative creations of the author, such as the lightmare, an electrified horse-type creature, and "neveryawn" nuts (used for staying awake, of course). Wit and humor are used well in the story, and it is easy to identify with the very human hopes, fears, and emotions that the animals experience. Teamwork, loyalty, and finding courage and greatness within oneself are a few of the moral lessons imparted by the story. Young readers with an interest in magic and fantasy will be spellbound by the adventures of this unlikely trio. Reviewer: Rachelle Andrade
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—What if everyone thought you were destined to save the world, but you thought the prophecy wasn't true? Aldwyn, a black cat, struggles with these thoughts even as he continues on the quest with his two friends and fellow familiars, Skylar the blue jay and Gilbert the tree frog. They need to rescue the queendom of Vastia from the evil gray-haired rabbit Paksahara, who has built a zombie animal army. In this third installment in the series, readers find themselves in a world in which magical human wizards (loyals) have animal companions (familiars) who possess extraordinary magical powers of their own. In order to restore peace and harmony between animals and humans, Aldwyn, Skylar, and Gilbert must gather seven descendants from different animal families to call the Shifting Palace and overcome Paksahara's magic. Unfortunately, she has taken away human magic and so the familiars must complete the task on their own. This leads to many adventures, great danger, and the discovery of the true history and role animals have played in Vastia, all culminating in a climactic battle. Readers need to start at the beginning of the series, since earlier characters and plotlines are not reintroduced. Though much of the plot will be predictable for any fantasy reader, the interaction of the animals and the personalities associated with the different species are highly entertaining. The implied promise of more books to come will keep interest in this series high. A perfect recommendation for fans of Kathryn Lasky's "Guardians of Ga'hoole" (Scholastic) and Erin Hunter's "The Warriors" series (HarperCollins).Clare A. Dombrowski, Amesbury Public Library, MA
Kirkus Reviews
Despite obvious new injections of suspense and complexity, this quest-ender is mediocre. The "Prophesized Three"--telekinetic cat Aldwyn, illusion-summoning blue jay Skylar and frog Gilbert, who sees the future in puddles--leave their human "loyals" behind for safety (human magic's been stolen) and journey to collect "[d]escendants of the seven species that formed the First Phylum." In their way stands an army of ravaging zombie animals, raised from the Tomorrowlife by evil hare Paksahara. Paksahara claims she wants animals to rule themselves rather than being enslaved by humans, but it's clear that in this world a human-animal alliance is the morally superior goal. Obstacles are variable and sometimes adorable ("very, very small hippopotamuses….no taller than cucumbers wearing body armor and carrying blowguns"), but they're incredibly easy to defeat. (Knife thrown? Aldwyn's telekinesis will turn it aside. Exhausted? A neveryawn nut offers "a full night's sleep in mere seconds.") Beginning a sentence with the word "Amazingly" can't force excitement, nor can superlatives ("the fake glyphstone must have been their cleverest trick yet"). Welcome notes of unpredictability--an alternate-history concept and the question "what if… prophecies d[o]n't always come true?"--buckle before the obvious ending. The prose doesn't live up to the nuance it attempts, and narrative thrust is weak; hand this off to readers who crave episodic danger that doesn't feel too dangerous. (Fantasy. 7-11)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061961168
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
06/04/2013
Series:
Familiars Series, #3
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
327
Sales rank:
43,027
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.90(d)
Lexile:
880L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Adam Jay Epstein spent his childhood in Great Neck, New York, while Andrew Jacobson grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but the two met in Los Angeles. They have been writing together for film and television ever since.

Their interest in space dates back to their early years, when Adam attended Space Academy in Huntsville, Alabama (and won the Right Stuff Award!), and Andrew went to a movie theater (for the first time) to see a rerelease of Star Wars.

Adam Jay Epstein lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Jane, and their daughters, Penny and Olive. Andrew Jacobson, his wife, Ashley, their son, Ryder, and their dog, Elvis, live close by.

Adam Jay Epstein spent his childhood in Great Neck, New York, while Andrew Jacobson grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but the two met in Los Angeles. They have been writing together for film and television ever since.

Their interest in space dates back to their early years, when Adam attended Space Academy in Huntsville, Alabama (and won the Right Stuff Award!), and Andrew went to a movie theater (for the first time) to see a rerelease of Star Wars.

Adam Jay Epstein lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Jane, and their daughters, Penny and Olive. Andrew Jacobson, his wife, Ashley, their son, Ryder, and their dog, Elvis, live close by.

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