Meet Aldwyn, an alley cat with a chipped ear and plenty of street smarts. He gets his food however he can (thievery, usually), and enjoys ever minute of his carefree life. That is, until he stumbles into a trap and finds that the worst bounty hunter of them all is after him. While trying to escape, Aldwyn finds himself in a Familiar shop, where young wizards come to purchase their animal helpers. Mistaken for a telekinetic cat, Aldwyn is taken away to be young Jack's Familiar. He meets two other familiars: Skylar, the intelligent (and a bit bossy) blue jay, and Gilbert, a friendly (but slightly dim) tree frog. He finds that life as a wizard Familiar is much easier than life as an alley cat. There's only the matter of masquerading as a telekinetic cat...
But soon that's the least of Aldwyn's troubles. The Familiars' wizards are captured and it's up to the three animal friends to rescue them! But they only have three days to figure out where their wizards are and how to save them.
I honestly wasn't expecting much from this book, but I was pleasantly surprised out how much fun it was. The writing is decent and the characters are interesting and fun. The story continued to twist and turn (though perhaps not being totally surprising, but it's not like it's an adult thriller or anything) and the trio journeyed all over the land of Vastia, a surprisingly developed world.
Let's put it this way: it's an awful lot like a cross between the Warriors series by Erin Hunter (before it got bad) and Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling (the first couple of books when they were young and adorable). So if you enjoyed either of those series, check out this one!
Unfortunately, this book's a little obscure, so it may be hard to find it. Hopefully it'll gain some fame by the time the second book comes out so I'll be able to get my hands on it.
While not a completely original tale of magic and animals (is it even possible to find one of those these days?), The Familiars is certainly a great book and definitely worth the small amount of time it will take you.