Nov 11, 2014

ARC Review--Familiar Things by Lia Habel

Sixteen-year-old witch Everrose Morgantwill isn’t sure which monster is causing her more trouble—the ten-foot-tall wildcat she’s attracted as her familiar, or her emotionally unstable boyfriend.

Half her spells go nowhere, and people always have trouble remembering her name, but even so—Everrose’s life is idyllic. Born and raised in All Hollows County, a secretive world created by powerful witches and warlocks for the protection of the magically inclined, she’s never had to fear persecution. In All Hollows, magic is used openly. A great spell known as the Nestle Ward isolates and protects it, though there is one odd little side effect.

In our world, it’s 2015. In All Hollows, it’s 1958.

Between sewing the perfect high school wardrobe, experimenting with red lipstick and cake mascara, and dreaming about prom, Everrose has a lot on her mind. When her steady boyfriend returns from a trip to “the Layside” a changed warlock, however—she notices. Handsome Vincent Olwen was affectionate and self-effacing when he left, but he’s come back acting sullen and withdrawn. Everrose is lost for an explanation—and lost for what to do.

Troubled by the changes she sees in Vincent, Everrose tries to distract herself by searching for her first familiar—a rite of passage for sixteen-year-olds in All Hollows. But when she does make the Connexion, it’s with the last animal she would’ve ever expected—a massive, terrifying wildeor called a trothenbeast. Only powerful witches and warlocks attract wildeors as familiars. Yet, when it comes to magic, Everrose is completely inept. It makes no sense. Weirder still, the beast fails to alert Everrose to the presence of magic, and refuses to shadow her. In short, he doesn’t act like a protecting, guiding familiar animal at all.

Faced with all of this, Everrose is just about ready to throw in the towel. Before she can, though, she learns that the trothenbeast has been cursed by an evil witch named Ebonella Rosu—and that Ebonella wants him back.

Everrose must contend with a witch who wants her dead, a familiar who needs her protection, and a boyfriend who’s changing before her eyes. When she finally reaches out for help, she finds it from an unlikely source—her boyfriend’s moody, somewhat mysterious father, the mayor of her little town. What secrets does Roderick Olwen harbor? And what do they have to do with Everrose herself?

I received this ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review, I was in no way compensated for this review.

Lia Habel is back with an all new series starting with Familiar Things! It was an intriguing read, although at times I struggled to grasp certain things. The world is definitely a bit of a puzzle as where Everrose lives, it's 1958 and the world outside their bubble like place is in 2015. It's odd how Everrose and the rest know that 2015 exists outside their sphere of life. Some of the explanations of why this is the way of things wasn't detailed enough or in a way I could understand. Basically, the world is this way because the universe or things are just wonky! *grins*

In Everrose's world, there is also magic. And by the time one turns sixteen they are to find a familiar to be able to work magic and all that jazz. Well, Everrose is behind on that matter. She's been sixteen for awhile now and she still has no familiar. Until one day, she gets one. Though a trothenbeast was not at all what she was expecting, plus he doesn't always behave the way a familiar should. Life just couldn't get more grand then that!

Until it does! Everrose grows more distant from her boyfriend who returns from a visit to 2015 with other boys his age. He's more withdrawn and hung up on his journey there and Everrose feels left behind at times because of this. And if that weren't enough, her best friend starts treating her poorly because Everrose has acquired the ultimate familiar while hers is a guinea pig.

There's a lot of hard luck for Everrose, but yet, she's still an enjoyable character. The story itself wasn't all too bad. It was fast paced, for no sooner than Everrose acquires her familiar then a witch comes a calling and claiming that the trothenbeast is hers. And having a witch mad at you is definitely not a good thing!

What had me struggling the most was the worldbuilding. It's an intriguing idea and all, I just couldn't grasp the whys of it all. And that left me stumbling. As well as some of the magical bits, but that gets tied back to worldbuilding in a sense! It was still intriguing and all because soon there's a mystery to Everrose herself that explains for a lot of her hard luck in life. 

One thing I wished there was more of though was romance. I never thought I would find myself saying that, but as time has gone by, I do find myself a sucker for some romance. Nothing huge or anything, but just a little more than we got. Everrose does have a boyfriend, but pretty much upon his return we can note a difference in his behavior, even though we don't meet him until he returns. There's just a coldness about Vincent that I couldn't get over. 

Overall, this was an interesting read, but not without a few flaws. Of course that can always be expected when starting a new series from a beloved author! I am curious to see if Lia writes more in this world. It was different in both sense of the word, but it has definite promise and potential so I am not throwing in the towel yet!

Overall Rating 3/5 stars


  1. The synopsis and cover of this book are amazing! Great Review!
    Naomi @The Perks Of Being A Bookworm

  2. Sounds suspenseful and very interesting~ :) No book can be perfect, I totally understand. ;D

    Great review!
    Cindy @ In This World of Books..

  3. Lia Habel has a new book??? I love this cover but this sounds confusing...


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