Review: The Familiars by Adam Jay Epstein & Andrew Jacobson

October 28, 2010 7-10 years of age, 8-12 years of age, Harper Collins Publishers, Kid-Lit/Middle Grade, Review 4

  • Reading level: Ages 9-12
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st edition (September 7, 2010)
  • ISBN-10: 0061961086
  • Source: Publisher

Aldwyn is a rough & tough alley cat on the run from a bounty hunter.  He’s able to sneak into a shop and avoids capture.  Aldwyn finds himself surrounded by animals of all shapes, sizes, & colors.  They aren’t your standard pet store animals, however.  They are familiars-animal companions of witches & wizards-and within moments Aldwyn is mistaken for one and adopted by a young boy

When he arrives at his new home, Aldwyn is introduced to the other familiars in the home: Skylar, a blue jay, a bit arrogant about her abilities and Gilbert, a red-eye tree frog who spends most of his time obsessing about when he’s going to eat next.  Fearful for blowing his cover, Aldwyn tells the others that he has telekinetic & mind-reading powers.

Just as he starts to get settled into his new home, Aldwyn’s “loyal” Jack, his sister, and another student are kidnapped. Aldwyn, Skylar, & Gilbert are the only ones who can save them. Throughout the journey, Aldwyn learns a great deal about the others, and himself. It turns out he might be a little more than the “average” alley cat!

I read THE FAMILIARS aloud to both of my boys.  Despite their six-year age difference, both boys thoroughly enjoyed this book. We’re a house full of Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, etc. so it wasn’t a surprise.  We all fell in love with the familiars (it doesn’t hurt that our cat, Sylvester, is the spitting image of Aldwyn).  They enjoyed the fast-paced excitement; there really is never a dull moment in this book. The art by Peter Chan & Kei Acedera really enhanced the reading experience as well.  My youngest is 5, so sometimes it takes a few pictures to keep him engaged. Here are just a few samples of the art:


Considering this is a book written jointly by two authors, I assumed the writing would be disjointed or unorganized.  Far from it!  It’s seamless, impossible to tell the difference in the writers’ voices.  I’m excited to see that Adam & Andrew plan to continue this series and a move is in the works as well.  Highly recommended!

Don’t forget to check out yesterday’s post about the Familiars Halloween Scavenger Hunt!

4 Responses to “Review: The Familiars by Adam Jay Epstein & Andrew Jacobson”

    • Jenn
      Twitter: jennbookshelves

      They’re hooked! The next book isn’t released til next fall! It will be a long wait, but well worth it, I’m sure!

  1. carol

    I think my daughter would love this one. And I would be glad to hear about a cat that isn’t one of the Warriors.