Three years have passed since Drew lost his wife, and he’s finally ready to tackle going through her things. In the attic, he finds an old trunk. Inside are several curious items, one of which is a leather-bound tome. Opening it, it seems like spells, but magic doesn’t exist, and to prove it, Drew reads one of the poems out loud. And the only thing that happens is that Mr. Biggles, a stray cat that used to hang around all the time but that Drew hasn’t seen in a while, shows back up and manages to get into his house.
The next day, Drew notices a pretty black haired, green eyed man staring at him in a way that goes from flattering to unnerving. While out with his friends later that night, Drew is almost attacked in the bathroom and is rescued by the same man who was staring. Drew decides to call it a night and goes home to discover Mr. Biggles bleeding on his sofa. When the cat transforms into the green-eyed man, Drew is stunned. Felix introduces himself and explains that magic is real, that Drew’s wife was a witch, and by speaking the spell that Drew did, Drew himself is now a witch with Felix as his familiar.
Drew actually takes the news fairly well, as there is no disputing that Felix is magic or what the book tells him. As Drew learns from Felix, their bond grows and other feelings start to emerge. But Felix is immortal, a familiar who has seen 2000 years protecting the seal that has bound a horrible demon. He knows it’s not a good idea to get involved with his mortal charge. When terrible forces go after Drew, the two men have no choice but to reawaken the coven, and call the familiars to their new witches. But now they’ve put into motion events that cannot be stopped, and the only thing they can do now is band together with the hopes of one day learning enough and having the power to defeat the great demon once and for all.
Familiar Feeling is the first in a new series. Fortunately, it doesn’t end with a cliff hanger and is a complete story, but this book has set in motion the events that will carry the rest of the story through. This is Drew and Felix’s story, but we meet the other men who will eventually take up the mantle of witches and join Drew’s coven. For a first book in a series, I think the author does some good things setting things up. We get a feel for the world in which this story takes place, though it feels a little bit loosely structured, which is so important for a fantasy tale like this.
What I really enjoyed about this story was Drew. He’s suffered a terrible loss, but he’s finally ready to move on. He’s just so down to earth and almost pragmatic. I adored the way he handled finding out there is magic in the world and that he’s now a witch. Like, he had a few oh holy crap moments, but mostly he just rolled with it because of the empirical evidence. His attitude made it a heck of a lot easier to accept jump and accept the world and the plot as well. I just plain liked him and was happy to be following along on this journey with him.
That being said, I had a little trouble with Felix. I finished the book with mixed feelings about him. Because Drew knows nothing about the magical world, he’s the perfect foil for exposition. And it also makes sense that Felix would be the one to deliver it. But at times, it felt way too much like an info dump, the Felix was just robotically giving off information. At other times Felix had deep feeling and emotions, and this contrasted sharply with his other mode. It was like he had an on/off switch, and was one way or the other. If he had had nuanced shades in between, showing us more, I think I would have been able to relate to him better and would have felt so indifferent toward him.
And if I’m honest, that was a problem I had with the story as a whole. It either felt like a recitation of events or it was delving into emotional territory with very little gear shifting in between, if any at all. I finished this book feeling like I read a tale that had a beginning, middle, and end, but I also ended it with more questions than I had answers. There is so much more I want to know about here, and I can only hope as least some of those questions will be answered as we following along with the other stories.
So as a first book, I think this story did a good job of setting things up. Yes, I had some issues with it, but not enough that I’m not intrigued enough to keep going. Kaine gave us an interesting premise here and I’m interested to see where it goes next. If you’re a fan of magic, you may want to consider this one, but be prepared to feel like you need more of the series to fully understand.