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Monday, October 3, 2011

The Familiars: Secrets of the Crown

Hi everyone!

Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.

You may have noticed a bit of quiet time on the blog this weekend…or perhaps not if you didn’t have a chance to stop by (no worries, I completely understand…though you were missed - *sniff*)…and there’s a perfectly good explanation for that. What is it? Oh, well…to be honest, life has been a bit hectic of late and this past week was just WHEW! Really putting me to the test so to speak. One day things will calm down I’m sure, but if I was to consult a Magic 8 Ball right now, I’d probably get the “outlook doesn’t look good” response. Cie la vie…that’s why keeping the blog fun and enjoyable for both the reader (you) and the read-ee (me) is so important. It’s an outlet to expression my passion for reading and the joy that even in little spurts here and there it brings into my life…and hopefully yours too! On with the show, shall we?

Today’s feature is a relatively recent release from the great folks over at HarperCollins Children’s Books….and just so happens to be book two in a series that I’ve been fortunate enough to feature on my site before. First time around, a guest post….then a blog tour…, another blog tour…a review of book one….and finally (for now anyway), the very post you are reading today. It’s magical. It’s adventurous. It’s a wonderful read for all ages (in my humble opinion). Today’s book of choice is….

The Familiars, book 2:

Secrets of the Crown


Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson

From the ARC’s back cover…

When human magic disappears suddenly from Vastia, it falls on the familiars -- Aldwyn the telekinetic cat, Skylar the know-it-all blue jay, and Gilbert the gullible tree frog == to find the Crown of the Snow Leopard, an ancient relic that can reverse the curse. To do this they must follow the purple paw prints of Aldwyn’s father, who’d gone mission years earlier while searching for the Crown. His magical spirit trail extends into the Beyond, where our heroes encounter strange new dangers, while Aldwyn learns about his mysterious past.

First off, I love how book two picks up right where book one leaves off. There’s no unexplainable time gap to try and figure out; no unexpected events that transpired during the break to adjust to after the fact. The first battle is over one moment, and then we’re preparing for the “war” the next. Now don’t get me wrong, if for some mysterious reason you care not to share you decided to start with book two, you won’t be completely lost. There is enough information shared to bring you up to speed in order to follow along in the opening chapters, however the journey will feel certainly more complete if one started at the beginning.

The familiars have secured their loyals once again…but Pakashara will have none of this chummy business. She wants to rule them all and put the lowly humans back in their place with the help of an army of animals….dead animals (as in zombie like). Yes, my friends….she plans on raising an army of those animals that have passed in order to claim what she feels is rightfully her future. To stop her, they must find the Shifting Fortress, for it is only within its walls that the spells to save (or ruin) all of Vastia can be cast. But how does one pin down a shifting object when by definition alone it is constantly on the move? They’re about the find or…meet the new undead minions of Pakashara paw to paw.

Filled with danger, adventure, magic, friendship and family these are wonderful stores for Middle Grade fans through adults. You have the old “diamond in the rough” message illustrated thanks to Aldwyn, as well as the “things aren’t always as they seem” adage courtesy of…well, all three of them and several others they meet along the way. We uncover the pasts of all three of our unlikely heroes and learn that family can be flesh and blood….but it is also those that we hold nearest to our hearts that make us whole.

Aldwyn’s character is coming to terms with a past that keeps changing. Skylar shares a part of herself that was no intended for her friends to see. Gilbert reveals the underlying reasons for his shaky sense of his magical abilities. Suffice it to day that there are twists and turns some of which are easy to spot while others take a moment to wrap your mind around (especially the River of Time…there’s a doozy for you…) but it all adds up to a whole lot of fun. Book three is forth coming but for now, get to know this enchanting group of familiar friends through their high adventures thus far. You might want to hurry and get started though….especially since there’s ALSO going to be a movie based on the series! (Whoo-Hoo!)

Many thanks to authors Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson for including my site on both of their fabulous tours as well as giving me the opportunity to share with you fair readers my adventure with this series. Upon receiving the review copy of this title, I couldn’t help but smile at the included letter. Do you have any idea how thrilling it is to hear (err, read) that authors are a fan of your blog? I mean really….it could simply be “form” letter, but either way…it was definitely happy dance inducing news. ^_^ (THANKS GUYS!) ARC for review courtesy of Arianna at HarperCollins Children’s Books. (THANKS!) For more information on the authors or the series, feel free to check out the official website or follow along on Twitter. To explore the series through the publisher as well as investigate their full catalog of bookish goodness, visit them online or check out their Twitter feed.

Until next time…happy reading!

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