The Familiars (Familiars Series #1)

The Familiars (Familiars Series #1)

4.7 235
by Adam Jay Epstein, Andrew Jacobson
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

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

…  See more details below

Overview

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.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
After starving alley cat Aldwyn steals food from a fishmonger once too often, he is chased by a notorious bounty hunter intent on exterminating him. He takes refuge in a pet store that sells animal familiars to local wizards and is purchased by Jack, a young apprentice. Aldwyn likes his cushy new life in Stone Runlet with Jack and two other students, but he struggles to convince his fellow familiars--a blue jay named Skylar and a tree frog named Gilbert--that he's as magical as they are. When a prophecy foretells that three spell-casters from Stone Runlet will save the world, the formerly benevolent Queen Loranella kills the students' mentor and takes the young novices prisoner, leaving it to the familiars to rescue the children. Screenwriters Epstein and Jacobson's children's book debut is a grand adventure with entertaining characters and magic-induced fun, written in an appropriately cinematic style (Sony Pictures Animation has optioned the story). Even adults will appreciate a tale in which street smarts mix with book learning, and resourcefulness and confidence are matched by loyalty and respect. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)
Michael Buckley
“The Familiars combines the magic of Harry Potter and the adventure of Warriors into an enchanting story readers will love. Whether furry [like Aldwyn], flippered [like Gilbert] or feathered [like Skylar] you’ll be taking a closer look at your family pet.”
Becky Anderson
“Kids who love animal stories, adventure, fantasy and good humored friendship will be waiting impatiently for the next book in this rich and fantastical trilogy. So get familiar with the Familiars!”
Children's Literature - Amy McMillan
Aldwyn is an alley cat living in the queendom of Vastia. One day, when running from an angry bounty hunter, he ducks into a shop that sells a vast array of magical animals used as wizard's familiars. There he is chosen by young Jack and taken to live with him while he completes his wizard training. Aldwyn is torn by his desire to tell the truth about his lack of powers and his enjoyment of his new life. But his pleasure is short lived. The queen visits their little camp, killing the wizard tutor and taking Jack, his sister and friend captive, thinking they are the three spellcasters foretold in a prophecy. Aldwyn and the other wizards' familiars, Gilbert (a frog) and Skylar (a bluejay), set off on a quest to rescue their loyals. Together they fight off a seven-headed dragon, brave cave trolls, spyballs and more before rescuing their loyals, as well as the true queen. There are lessons of friendship and honesty learned along the way as Aldwyn's lies catch up with him, though he does discover his powers in the end. There is nothing grand or particularly new in this story; however it is a fun tale of animal fantasy and adventure, perfect for fans of the "Warriors" series or those not quite ready for the depth and darkness of Harry Potter or Redwall. Reviewer: Amy McMillan
School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—This series opener won't disappoint. Escaping from a bounty hunter, a streetwise cat becomes the familiar of a boy magician-in-training. Almost before Aldwyn gets to know his new surroundings, Jack, his sister, and a fellow student are kidnapped and it is up to him; Skylar, a magic-adept bluejay; and Gilbert, a clumsy, red-eyed tree frog, to rescue their "loyals." The consistently suspenseful narrative moves quickly and is full of twists and turns. The characters are genuinely familiar: Aldwyn feels inadequate and works hard to conceal his humble origins; Skylar has secretly studied human magic and can be arrogant about her abilities; bumbling Gilbert thinks mostly about food and fears the father he has disappointed. The history of the queendom of Vastia is smoothly worked into the narrative. This winning combination of action and humor will keep readers turning pages right up to the ending, which successfully concludes this adventure but leaves room for more.—Kathleen Isaacs, Children's Literature Specialist, Pasadena, MD
Kirkus Reviews

The calculated invocation of too many tropes makes for a joyless fantasy debut. Aldwyn may be an orphaned alley cat with a mysterious past, but he has street smarts in abundance, so when young wizard-in-training Jack adopts him as his "familiar," Aldwyn knows he's on to a good thing. To secure his position among the other familiars--Skylar, the know-it-all bluejay, and Gilbert, the goofily genial tree frog--he pretends to possess magic as well. But when the three apprentice wizards are kidnapped by an evil sorceress, Aldwyn's lie puts their already-impossible rescue mission in danger. There isn't a fantasy cliché left out of this tale nor anything particularly clever or original in their use. The familiars might as well have been named Harry, Hermione and Ron, with only the barest nod to nonhuman traits; the magical system is painfully muddled; the plot is driven by random encounters and ridiculous coincidences; the climactic Big Reveal is telegraphed far in advance; the denouement serves only as a blatant advertisement for a sequel. Pass. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062009630
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
09/07/2010
Series:
Familiars Series , #1
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
89,924
Lexile:
920L (what's this?)
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Videos

What People are saying about this

Becky Anderson
“Kids who love animal stories, adventure, fantasy and good humored friendship will be waiting impatiently for the next book in this rich and fantastical trilogy. So get familiar with the Familiars!”
Michael Buckley
“The Familiars combines the magic of Harry Potter and the adventure of Warriors into an enchanting story readers will love. Whether furry [like Aldwyn], flippered [like Gilbert] or feathered [like Skylar] you’ll be taking a closer look at your family pet.”

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, their daughter, Willa, and their two dogs live close by.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >