Review of The Familiars by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review of The Familiars by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew JacobsonThe Familiars by Adam Jay Epstein, Andrew Jacobson
Series: The Familiars #1
Published by HarperCollins on 2011-06-07
Genres: Action & Adventure, Animals, Cats, Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

When Aldwyn, a young alley cat on the run, ducks into a mysterious pet shop, he doesn’t expect his life to change. But that’s exactly what happens when Jack, a young wizard, picks Aldwyn to be his magical familiar. Finally off the tough streets, Aldwyn thinks he’s got it made. 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 telekinetic cat he claims to be. But when Jack and two other wizards in training are captured by a terrible evil, it will take all of Aldwyn’s street smarts, a few good friends, and a nose for adventure to save the day!

Do you remember being enchanted by tales of valor and noble deeds? Of wizards, dragons, and magic? The Familiars by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson features an orphan cat named Aldwyn who holds the fate of the kingdom in his paws.

Y’all, I am such a Redwall/Brian Jacques fangirl. So of course, any sort of anthropomorphic novel appeals to me. When I saw The Familiars up for grabs at BEA of course I had to snatch it. I read The Familiars in about 2 hours, having fun pretty much the whole way.  Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t as great as Redwall, but it stands on it’s own two feet.

Aldwyn, as I mentioned before, is an orphan alley cat. One day, he’s stealing food, when he is almost caught by a cat-catcher. He then finds refuge in a store that sells familiars, as in the animal assistants of wizards and witches. Of course, Aldwyn, the non-magical cat is sold almost immediately. His life drastically changes for the better as he is whisked away to the countryside for magic lessons with his young companion. He then makes friends with the other familiars, Skylar – a blue jay and Gilbert – a frog. Adventure later ensues.

As it’s been about four months since I’ve read this book, I hope you will forgive me for not being overly detailed. Certain parts escape me, as that happens when you read a whole lot and it’s been months since a book.

If you do have a cherished middle grader, or a child who enjoys fantasy, I recommend you hand The Familiars to them, as it is a book with heart and a wonderful message.

Other Reviews:

The Lost Entwife
Electrifying Reviews
YA Book Shelf
Bookworming In The 21st Century

About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. My niece would love this book and her birthday is right around the corner. Thanks for the recommendation!

  2. I loved this book! Addie and I got to see the authors at Hicklebee’s and we bought two signed copies. However I didn’t see at at BEA *grumbles*

  3. Thanks for the link to my review, April. Like you, I really loved this novel and think that any middle grader will have a lot of fun with it.

    Have considered giving a copy to one of my cousin’s kids, but not sure if he’s a big reader.

    • Sometimes the right book helps spark a small reader into a big reader, so maybe giving this to your cousin’s kid is worth a shot.

      • Hmm…that is true. I guess I’ve just been hesitant because I had someone arguing with me recently that buying kids (or anyone really) books for Christmas was a bad idea on FB. This guy told me that it amounts to telling someone that you don’t care about them and that you want to give them somenthing that they’ll never use.

  4. I also read the Familiars an loved it. I THINK IT WAS A ENCHANTING STORY AND ABSOLUTELY GREAT! I could never predict what would happen next, which in these days we very much can. I cannot believe that someone could work so many details into one story. Groundbreaking!

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