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“The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read.”
Summary: Aldwyn, Skylar and Gilbert know the truth. They, the familiars, are the Prophesied Three; not their loyals. When, Paksahara, Princess Loranella's rogue familiar, turns off all human magic, the Three are called upon to save Vastia. They have just three days to find the Shifting Fortress - but they need the Crown of the Snow Leopard to do it. The key to finding the crown is deciphering the clues locked in the verses of a nursery rhyme. Time is running out, and the challenges are growing! This is the second title in this fantasy series about three wizarding animals.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, read aloud book, reluctant reader
Recommended Age: read together: 9 and Up; read yourself: 12 and Up
Interest Level: 9 and Up
Reading Level: 6.6
Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Adult Reader Reaction: I'm glad I read this right after finishing The Familiars (Book 1). There are subtle yet important references that I would likely have forgotten if the story wasn't still fresh in my mind. The plot has a few more twists than Book 1, which made it even more enjoyable. Deciphering the nursery rhyme added to the depth of the plot, kept the curiosity going, and expanded the reader's knowledge of the Familiars and Vastia.
Pros: Readers will cheer on Aldwyn, Gilbert, and (even) Skylar! From start to finish, this engaging, unpredictable adventure is a wonderful read. It is an excellent read aloud choice for mixed-age audiences.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. This is an excellent gift choice for readers who like adventures and/or fantasy.
Educational Themes: The Familiars is a middle grade series for leisure reading. One of the main themes is prejudice (humans thinking they are better than animals), which is understated but could be easily drawn out. Reader discussions can also explore problem solving, teamwork, judging others (Aldwyn and his father).
Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.
Literary Categories: Fiction - adventure, animal stories, fantasy
Date(s) Reviewed: November 2014
Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.