Select one of the keywords
The Hound of Rowan: The Tapestry Book 1    by Henry H. Neff order for
Hound of Rowan
by Henry H. Neff
Order:  USA  Can
Random House, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, e-Book

Read an Excerpt

* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Missing Harry Potter yet? Then you might want to start in on The Tapestry trilogy, which has many similar elements, though not nearly as much of the tension between characters or the rich magical society that kept readers involved in Harry's world. The Hound of Rowan stars twelve-year-old Max McDaniels, who lives near Chicago with his fervent, 'Big as a bear' ad man father Scott McDaniels (his mother Bryn disappeared over two years before this story begins).

After seeing a vision in a ragged but magical tapestry and surviving a frightening skirmish with the villains, Max is invited by Director Gabrielle Richter to attend elite Rowan Academy in New England. The good guys - who have inherited Old Magic - face off against Astaroth, not Voldemort. But the school is just as enchanted as Hogwarts (I loved the way the students' rooms configured themselves to suit their occupants) - and almost as dangerous (the reformed hag in the kitchen would just as soon nibble on students as prepare their meals). A second year bully harrasses Max from day one. There's even a game, Euclidean soccer, reminiscent of Quidditch, though its players are not airborn.

This first episode develops slowly, introducing readers to the students, the school grounds, and classes like Mystics, but the idyll soon ends. It seems there's a traitor amongst the school staff, and there are incursions of shapechanging vye, who look in their natural form like werewolves only bigger. Also many potential students have been kidnapped by the Enemy before they could be assessed by Academy Recruiters. And it seems the bad guys are after Max, believing he might be the one to fulfill a prophecy. The action builds up to a crescendo, in which Max valiantly fights evil and saves the day - for the first, but probably not the last time.

I recommend The Tapestry series to middle schoolers who are nostalgic for Harry Potter. Though it's not at the same level of imaginative excellence, it has its own appeal, with many innovative magical elements.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Teens books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews