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The Familiars by Adam Jay Epstein
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The Familiars (2010)

by Adam Jay Epstein, Andrew Jacobson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Familiars (1)

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Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
E' una storia molto carina ma che secondo me pecca in alcuni punti di troppo semplicismo o comunque di una scrittura non eccellente che banalizza un po' le situazioni..
Il libro è un fantasy indirizzato ad un pubblico giovane ma leggibile tranquillamente anche dagli adulti per passare qualche ora spensierata.
I personaggi principali sono i famigli, ovvero degli animali deputati ad essere i compagni di ragazzi che studiano da apprendisti maghi.
Ci sono Skylar, una ghiandaia blu che sa sempre tutto e che ha come dono principale quello del creare illusioni, e Gilbert, una rana un po' pasticciona che sa leggere il futuro nelle pozzanghere, che sono i famigli di Marianne e Dalton.
A loro si aggiunge, casualmente, Alwin un gatto randagio che sta scappando da un cacciatore di teste e che non possiede nessun potere magico, che viene scelto dal giovane apprendista Jack.
La trama è molto simile alle storie fantasy per bambini: un evento nefasto rovina la serenità dei ragazzi che stanno studiando magia: vengo rapiti e rinchiusi in un posto segreto, i tre animali, quindi, partono per un lungo viaggio nel tentativo di salvare i loro leali.
Ovviamente il viaggio non sarà semplice e i tre animali dovranno superare parecchie prove e conoscere mostri, animali mitologici e inaspettati benefattori.

Il giudizio è comunque positivo, è un libro che, nonostante io non ami il genere, scorre veloce e si legge facilmente anche in spiaggia. ( )
  Feseven78 | Apr 17, 2019 |
Full review to come. ( )
  Melissalovesreading | Sep 30, 2018 |
DNF couldn't get past the first few chapters. I just don't like talking animals.
  wrightja2000 | Sep 6, 2018 |
I've had this on my to read list for a long time but I finally picked it up for a book club which needed a Wisconsin author (and then didn't finish it and didn't go to book club anyways. Ahem.) anyways, I admit that I bogged down a bit but managed to finish it, which makes me wonder if I've lost my taste for middle grade fantasy or if this just....wasn't very good.

Aldwyn is a clever alley cat, able to avoid any dangers in the medieval town he lives in. But he can't survive being chased by the most dangerous of the bounty hunters, especially when the hunter uses magic. A series of lucky occurrences and Aldwyn finds himself mistaken for a magic-working familiar and going home to a new family, which includes his "loyal" Jack, know-it-all blue jay Skylar, who has some secrets of her own, and the friendly but dim frog Gilbert. Aldwyn barely has time to settle in to his new life when there's a catastrophe of epic (and magical) proportions and he finds himself on a dangerous journey with the other two familiars to save their loyals.

There are black and white sketches, some of them full-page, throughout the book, but they don't add much to the story and are mostly forgettable. The story...well, forgettable is a kind word. Chaotic, random, cliched....it clearly was not for me. It appears to be the typical quasi-feudal/medieval fantasy world with added magic, weird creatures, etc. The history sounds interesting, but it was revealed randomly and in bits and pieces that were irrelevant to the main story. The plot is vague and wandering, heavy on the foreshadowing and there are no surprises in the ending; the familiars save their loyals, Aldwyn turns out to have magic, the queen is innocent, etc. Even the building of the characters is cliched and doesn't add up. At one point Aldwyn is thinking about how he doesn't have any loyalty to his new "family" and could just leave and only a few paragraphs later he's thinking about the tight bond he's formed with Jack (in the space of....less than a week?)

It's no surprise that the authors are screenwriters since this book reads a lot like the screenplay for an animated movie - lots of quirky magical creatures and descriptions of scenery, some simple twists and turns, and a cliched ending with a soppy moral. The series itself has been optioned for a film, but is listed simply as in development, no actual release date is planned.

Verdict: Even with a movie planned, this doesn't strike me as the type of project that increases demand for the book when the movie is released; more the type of thing where people are surprised to learn it's based on a book. It's predictable, poorly plotted, and rather boring overall. However, plenty of kids have enjoyed the series and it's no worse than, say, the Warriors series or any of the gazillion and one medieval-fantasy-with-animals books out there. There are, however, quite a few of those and this is nothing particularly new. So, an additional purchase if you have a plentiful budget, demand for this type of book, or fans of this series in particular.

ISBN: 9780061961083; Published 2011 by HarperCollins; Borrowed from another library in my consortium
  JeanLittleLibrary | Aug 29, 2015 |
Adult Reader Reaction: What a fun, fast read. Events start at a fast pace and the speed of the action continues to the last page. Readers will easily identify with specific characters (human and animal) and keep turning the page to learn more about them (as well as what happens next). There are lots of subplots, too. Jack, Marianne, and Dalton are orphans, and it is nice to see that they have positive adults in their lives; these are not Oliver Twist- or Harry Potter-type situations.

Pros: Lots of action and well-developed characters will wrap readers into this story from beginning to end.

Read our full review and add yours at The Reading Tub®.
  TheReadingTub | Apr 15, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Epstein, Adam Jayprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jacobson, Andrewmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Bhose, SabineÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chan, PeterIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pappalardo, Antonellasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
For Jane, my wife, who supports and encourages every dream, no matter how fantastic.

For Penny, my daughter, this story is for you.
--A.J.E.
For Ashley and my familiar, Elvis.
--A.J.
First words
It all started with Aldwyn's whiskers beginning to tingle - the way they always did when he got hungry.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061961086, Hardcover)

THE FAMILIARS are the magical animal companions to a wizard or witch. When three young wizards-in-training get kidnapped by the evil queen of the land, it is up to their familiars to go a dangerous journey to rescue them. You'll meet Aldwyn, an orphan alley cat pretending to have telekinesis; Skylar, a know-it-all blue jay who can cast illusions; and Gilbert, a hapless tree frog with the ability to see visions of the future in pools of water. See what happens when these three animal assistants -- typically relegated to the background or found sitting quietly on their wizard's shoulders -- go on a heroic adventure of their own!

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:16 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

When a scrappy alley cat named Aldwyn passes himself off as a magical animal companion to Jack, a young wizard in training, Aldwyn and his fellow "familiars," a know-it-all blue jay and bumbling tree frog, must save the kingdom after the evil queen of Vastia kidnaps Jack and two other wizards.… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

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