Book Review: Circle of Heroes (The Familiars #3)

Authors: Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson

Genre: MG fantasy
Published: September 4th 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 336
Source: Purchased Hardcover
Available at: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads Summary:

Can the familiars bring magic back to the queendom?

Vastia is in a state of war. Led by the evil Paksahara, whose command of the Shifting Fortress gives her nearly unstoppable power, an army of undead animals is wreaking havoc on the queendom. With human magic still gone, it’s up to the three prophesized familiars–Aldwyn, Skylar, and Gilbert–to capture the fortress and bring Paksahara down.

But it won’t be easy. The three familiars must embark on a quest to gather seven descendants of the most ancient and powerful animals in Vastia. And to make matters worse, Aldwyn finds a troubling scroll that causes him to doubt the very truth of the prophecy that guides them.

With inventive magic, epic action, and laugh-out-loud humor bursting from every page, circle of heroes is an extraordinary adventure you won’t want to see end.

My Rating of this Book – 4 out of 5 stars

My Review:

Though better than the second Familiars, Secrets of the Crown, I wasn’t exactly thrilled with the beginning or the end of Circle of Heroes. First off, I found it strange that certain characters introduced in the last chapter of the second novel – characters I thought were supposed to be vital to the plot – were suddenly dead within the first few chapters of the Circle of Heroes. It didn’t make sense to me. I wasn’t even sure why they were introduced in the first place if they were just to be killed off. Also, the beginning felt stretched a little with all the “good-byes” and information that didn’t seem to play too much of a roll in the novel.

As for the ending, it too seemed to be stretched just a bit, especially when it came to the face off against Paksahara herself. Unfortunately, I do not wish to give any spoilers, but as I read the ending of the battle, it was definitely too long. I wanted it to move a little bit faster.

I did, however, enjoyed the path to search for the circle of heroes which Aldwyn, Skylar, and Gilbert take on their intriguing adventure. It introduced wonderful new characters. I especially loved Orion, a nightmare; Marati, a mongoose; and Navid, a cobra. These creatures were refreshing, breathing new life into the original group of friends. Especially since I missed the initial sense of humor main characters, like Gilbert, had in the prior books.

This was an intriguing middle-grade series to read with the first novel, The Familiars, being my absolute favorite. It’s probably not at the top of my list, but I would recommend reading the series if you have the chance.

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