Familiar Path (Familiar Way #1), A.M. Burns
Publisher: Silver Stream Press
Genre: YA, Fantasy, LGBT (G)
Length: 140 pages
“Water swirled all around. In the distance, someone called his name, but he could barely make it out over the roar of the river.”
At the beginning of Familiar Path we meet Lugh, waking up on his 15th birthday. Lugh has only recently arrived in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, having moved from Florida after the death of his father and family dog in a boating accident. That morning, Lugh feels strangely drawn to the local river after having a strange dream that night. Upon arriving at the river Lugh thinks he hears a voice calling for help.
Searching, Lugh cannot find anyone but does spot a cat, stranded and distressed, on a rock in the middle of the river. Unable to leave a ‘critter’ in distress, Lugh jumps in to rescue the cat. He reaches it successfully and is guided back to shore by the voice of Wyn, a local boy about his age. Lugh and Wyn quickly form a friendship and go looking for the cat’s home.
The pair of boys come across Abby, Wyn’s friend, who is the cat’s owner. <Insert lots of dialogue> Basically, it boils down to a series of coincidences about names and such, but – long story short – Abby is actually Lugh’s cousin. It is with his new found family Lugh learns that he is a Magus, part of an ancient magical community. The voice he heard earlier at the river was actually the cat he rescued, who reveals his name to be Bran. Bran is Lugh’s familiar; every Magi has a familiar, with various traits being shared and communication possible between them.
The following adventure deals with Lugh’s introduction to the world of the Magus and the dangers that come with it.
Feeling Whole Again (A.K.A. Why I Loved This)
Short Novel, Amazing Fantasy World
There is a reason many fantasy books feel like they go on forever. To establish the world within a story, an author is required to give far more information then in a novel, which can be classified as general fiction. The fact that Mr. Burns has achieved this in such a short period of on-page time is simply amazing. The world does not depart too much from our own, but nevertheless, the author has created a truly believable magical universe existing within our world.
Every character, location and animal involved in Familiar Path had a fully formed back-story. (To the point where you could easily answer a question on the genealogy of the cats.) The Celtic-Wiccan base for the magic in the world was well researched by the author, and that came across well in the final story.
Lugh & Bran
“He said his name is Bran. Is he a cereal?”
The Magus-Familiar relationship established between these two is amazing. The intricate ways in which their personalities merge, yet still remain separate, is well played by the author. Despite being only newly introduced to each other I loved watching how each of them would risk his life for the other. Bran’s dramatic attitude to life is also used very well as comic relief.
Lugh & Wyn
The romantic tale of Lughnasadh and Gwydyon is a modern day retelling of Romeo and Juliet… Well not really… It’s actually nothing like that at all…
Jokes aside, I loved how this relationship between Lugh and Wyn formed. Given the bulk of my current reading material, it was nice to see a relationship between two boys occur where their parents and friends were not morally opposed in any way. Whilst not commonplace in our world IT IS possible, and I really hope their tale can inspire some young folk into realising that there are accepting families out there.
That Empty Part Inside (A.K.A. ARRRRGGGHHHH!!!!!!)
It was close, so very close, but I could not bring myself to give this book 5 stars due to the editing. Throughout the book there are some blindingly glaring mistakes and typos that completely change the meaning of a sentence, and I am very annoyed by this. These errors are so obvious that I am amazed that whoever did the final edit did not pick them up.
In any case, I wish to clarify what I believe the meanings are of a particular sentence, so readers do not get confused and throw the book down (or e-reader) after asking “HOW THE HELL DID THEY MISS THAT!?!?!?!?!?!?”
As presented in book:
“Mom, what all do we need for Bran?”
What it should be:
“Mommy dearest, utilizing your aged and wondrous experience, could you please inform me of all the equipment requirements for raising a cat, especially one as intelligent and insightful as my dear Bran?”
*May have taken a bit of artistic licence there.
I loved every minute of reading Familiar Path. For a fantasy novel to properly grip readers it needs to have a well fleshed out world, with believable and logical characters. Familiar Path succeeds in both of these, and has left me desperately wanting the next part of the Familiar Way series. I would highly recommend this amazing short novel to both fantasy and LGBT readers.
“She hugged him as they listened to his father’s last words, “I will always love you both.”