The Familiar

The Familiar

by Leigh Bardugo

Narrated by Lauren Fortgang

Unabridged — 12 hours, 57 minutes

The Familiar

The Familiar

by Leigh Bardugo

Narrated by Lauren Fortgang

Unabridged — 12 hours, 57 minutes

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Overview

Notes From Your Bookseller

There are the books that you read, and then there are the books you experience — like the ones Leigh Bardugo writes. So if you're looking for magic in all the right places, catch her latest historical fantasy.

#1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER * #1 INDIE BESTSELLER * NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

“An immersive, sensual experience.” -The New York Times

"Essential." -The Washington Post

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author Leigh Bardugo comes a spellbinding novel set in the Spanish Golden Age.

“A must-read for those who are seeking a little magic in their lives.” -Deborah Harkness, #1 bestselling author of A Discovery of Witches

In a shabby house, on a shabby street, in the new capital of Madrid, Luzia Cotado uses scraps of magic to get through her days of endless toil as a scullion. But when her scheming mistress discovers the lump of a servant cowering in the kitchen is actually hiding a talent for little miracles, she demands Luzia use those gifts to improve the family's social position.

What begins as simple amusement for the nobility takes a perilous turn when Luzia garners the notice of Antonio Pérez, the disgraced secretary to Spain's king. Still reeling from the defeat of his armada, the king is desperate for any advantage in the war against England's heretic queen-and Pérez will stop at nothing to regain the king's favor.

Determined to seize this one chance to better her fortunes, Luzia plunges into a world of seers and alchemists, holy men and hucksters, where the lines between magic, science, and fraud are never certain. But as her notoriety grows, so does the danger that her Jewish blood will doom her to the Inquisition's wrath. She will have to use every bit of her wit and will to survive-even if that means enlisting the help of Guillén Santángel, an embittered immortal familiar whose own secrets could prove deadly for them both.

A Macmillan Audio production from Flatiron Books.


Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

★ 02/05/2024

Two people with magical powers and sketchy pasts plot their escape from the Spanish Inquisition in this poignant romantic fantasy from bestseller Bardugo (Hell Bent). After Luzia Cotado, a housemaid hiding her Jewish heritage, allows her ambitious employer a glimpse of her ability to cast spells using “refranes” (Hebrew-Spanish proverbs), he enters her into a competition for royal miracle workers. Sponsored by Víctor de Paredes, a wealthy social climber, Luzia is trained by his “familiar,” Guillén Santángel, an undying retainer who long ago traded away his luck and freedom for immortality. Despite being initially suspicious of each other, Luzia and Santángel find that among the competition’s fake psychics, dangerous real magicians, and even more deadly patrons, they can only rely on their own powers and their growing mutual attraction. Bardugo puts an earthy spin on heavenly miracles, with much attention given to the mundane drudgery of daily life that is not erased—even with magic that can unburn bread. Luzia’s pursuit of her powers, even at risk of burning at the stake, comes across as both empowering and practical compared to a life of unrewarding toil, making it easy to root for her through the competition. The sharp realism mixes with a genuine feeling of enchantment to create a top tier historical fantasy. Agent: Joanna Volpe, New Leaf Literary. (Apr.)Correction: An earlier version of this review misspelled the name of one of the characters.

From the Publisher

"Reading Bardugo is an immersive, sensual experience... One can’t help sinking into Luzia and Santángel’s world and wishing never to leave."
—The New York Times

"The Familiar feels distinct from similar tales — including Bardugo’s own — because it explores a brutal and shameful real-life history... Bardugo brilliantly explores the wavy line between the supernatural and the divine: Magic is forbidden, but miracles come from God."
—The Washington Post

"Full of hidden perils and twisting machinations, The Familiar is Bardugo’s most assured and mature work yet, a remarkable portrait of the magic of exiles and the traumatic echoes of the Spanish Inquisition."
—BookPage (starred review)

"The sharp realism mixes with a genuine feeling of enchantment to create a top tier historical fantasy."
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"The Familiar highlights all of the things that make Bardugo so well loved: a romance with maddening chemistry, an artfully built world, side characters with their own deep backstories, and a plot full of dark twists and spiderweb connections."
—Booklist (starred review)

“Lush, gorgeous, precise language and propulsive plotting sweep readers into a story as intelligent as it is atmospheric.”
—Kirkus (starred review)

"Bardugo masterfully weaves magical realism with historical fiction and romance, which makes this book impossible to put down."
—Library Journal (starred review)

“A richly imagined, intricate tale... I loved every word of this novel, and it’s a must-read for those who are seeking a little magic in their lives.”
—Deborah Harkness, #1 bestselling author of A Discovery of Witches

"
Riveting... Leigh Bardugo's characters are so three-dimensional you want to reach through the page."
—Diana Gabaldon, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Outlander

"
A wonderful, transporting ride through a moment in history, where you can see the height of Spanish power but also sense the rot underneath. I really enjoyed it, it definitely made me think, and, of course, it's deeply romantic."
—Katherine Arden, author of The Warm Hands of Ghosts

Library Journal

★ 02/01/2024

In Madrid, under the reigns of the king and the Catholic Church, during the time of the Inquisition, lives a scullion maid named Luzia who is hiding her ability to create little miracles such as restoring burned bread to new and stitching torn dresses. Luzia is hiding not only her abilities but also her Jewish lineage, both of which could get her executed for heresy. When Luzia's mistress discovers the scullion maid's abilities, she uses them to gain social power, only to have Luzia discovered by the wealthy Víctor de Paredes. Víctor is looking for someone to submit into a tournament for the king's holy champion, as being the patron of the king's champion would give him a chance to obtain even more power. Víctor provides Luzia with a mentor—his immortal familiar, Guillén Santángel—to improve her chances of winning the tournament. Santángel has been bonded with Víctor's family for generations, but Víctor offers to release him from service if Luzia succeeds. Soon, Santángel's feelings for Luzia complicate things. VERDICT Bardugo (Hell Bent) masterfully weaves magical realism with historical fiction and romance, which makes this book impossible to put down. Great for fans of Rebecca Ross, Heather Fawcett, and Holly Black.—Leigh Verburg

Kirkus Reviews

★ 2024-02-03
In 16th-century Madrid, a crypto-Jew with a talent for casting spells tries to steer clear of the Inquisition.

Luzia Cotado, a scullion and an orphan, has secrets to keep: “It was a game she and her mother had played, saying one thing and thinking another, the bits and pieces of Hebrew handed down like chipped plates.” Also handed down are “refranes”—proverbs—in “not quite Spanish, just as Luzia was not quite Spanish.” When Luzia sings the refranes, they take on power. “Aboltar cazal, aboltar mazal” (“A change of scene, a change of fortune”) can mend a torn gown or turn burnt bread into a perfect loaf; “Quien no risica, no rosica” (“Whoever doesn’t laugh, doesn’t bloom”) can summon a riot of foliage in the depths of winter. The Inquisition hangs over the story like Chekhov’s famous gun on the wall. When Luzia’s employer catches her using magic, the ambitions of both mistress and servant catapult her into fame and danger. A new, even more ambitious patron instructs his supernatural servant, Guillén Santángel, to train Luzia for a magical contest. Santángel, not Luzia, is the familiar of the title; he has been tricked into trading his freedom and luck to his master’s family in exchange for something he no longer craves but can’t give up. The novel comes up against an issue common in fantasy fiction: Why don’t the characters just use their magic to solve all their problems? Bardugo has clearly given it some thought, but her solutions aren’t quite convincing, especially toward the end of the book. These small faults would be harder to forgive if she weren’t such a beautiful writer. Part fairy tale, part political thriller, part romance, the novel unfolds like a winter tree bursting into unnatural bloom in response to one of Luzia’s refranes, as she and Santángel learn about power, trust, betrayal, and love.

Lush, gorgeous, precise language and propulsive plotting sweep readers into a story as intelligent as it is atmospheric.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940159889416
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Publication date: 04/09/2024
Edition description: Unabridged
Sales rank: 200,027
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