– by Chantelle Pitt
Something for the old. Something for the young. Henry H. Neff’s creation of The Tapestry: Hound of Rowan throws Celtic mythology, fairy tales, magic and adventure into one series and this first book shows a lot of promise as to what future Tapestry books might hold. When picking up a book, I don’t want to know anything about it. I will look at the cover and read the blurb but after all that, I want to be surprised by its contents and turn each page to encounter something new.
For me, Hound of Rowan was one of these books; when I first spied it in my local library, I knew that it would be something I’d like but I wasn’t sure why. The story follows Max McDaniels, our reluctant hero as he is chosen to attend Rowan Academy, the last stronghold against the forces of the Enemy. Max and many other students like him are sent to the Academy in New England, a place of mystery and magic. Max quickly becomes more of a hero than he probably hoped he ever would be in an endless war between good and evil or light versus dark.
Fantasy is my favourite genre of literature and is so multi-faceted that it appeals to young and old alike. It speaks to people’s imaginations. The Tapestry series brings together a world of warriors, magic and mythology in such a clever way that I am excited to see what happens next.
Also illustrated by Neff, the images are very helpful in the novel as they provide a slight visual reference to this new world that we all find ourselves in. I loved the fact that I was experiencing these revelations at the same time as Max. Although it was third-person point of view, I still felt connected to him as a character and his experiences at the Academy. Each character revelation meant new people for me to fall in love with and learn about. Each awkward love interest made me remember myself as a love-struck teenager and each mention of a previously unknown being, knocked down the boundaries of this world and encouraged me to imagine something more. I was left wondering questions like, what is magic? Why is there a war between Rowan and the Enemy and how does Max fit into it all?
As a standalone book, Hound of Rowan is amazing in terms of imaginative and expansive settings, a catchy storyline, strong characters and amazing attention to detail and imagery. But when you compare it to other fantasy novels, it unfortunately falls short of the greatness that I had hoped for. Although people might say that Hound of Rowan is simply a Harry Potter rip-off, I couldn’t disagree more. I love Harry Potter as much as anyone and I do concede that Hound of Rowan has some similarities as Harry Potter such as a mysterious school where magic is common, a war between good and evil and one boy who can change it all, but the characters themselves are very different.
The Tapestry: Hound of Rowan is a riveting read and you will find yourself caring about Max and his friends with every word and wanting to read on.
The Tapestry: Hound of Rowan can be found at any good bookstore or online.
Image courtesy of Henry H. Neff.