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The Hound of Rowan by Henry H. Neff

The Hound of Rowan (2007)

by Henry H. Neff

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This is a good series to read if you love Harry Potter and find yourself desperate for more. It is definitely not as amazing as Harry Potter, but few things are ;) But it is a good book and certainly worth reading. It follows the same basic story line of boy who doesn't know he's a wizard, a school of magic, a boy who's important, a prophecy, an evil villain, etc.

I'll agree with and echo what sensitivemuse said: if you're desperate for more Harry Potter, you'll probably love this book because the two are so similar. If you love Harry Potter and you'd be insulted by something 'copying' it, you'll probably hate this book. There are huuuuuge similarities between this and Harry Potter so decide for yourself if that's something you'd like or hate. ( )
  tripsis | Apr 9, 2012 |
This is a story about Max McDaniels, and how he does in his boarding school. Well, that's the basics. The story starts as Max and his dad goes into an art museum to celebrate his mom's birthday. (Apparently, she disappeared a long time ago... this has GOT to play a role somewhere...) On the way to the museum, Max saw a strange man, with, what looked like a dead eye (that's white). While escaping from that man, he sees a mysterious tapestry (other people say the tapestry has the Cattle Raid of Cooley on it. Tain Bo Cuailnge, as it's called). This is where Max's journey begins. He gets a letter requesting that he goes to a school called Rowan. In the school, he makes friends, rivals/enemies, and gets new abilities (amplifying, aka: superspeed). Later, when scrubbing the deck with enemy/rival Alex Munoz, he gets captured by the Enemy (aka: monsters intent on destroying the world). They later use his blood to reawaken the demon/evil thing Astaroth. With a little help from the White Eyed Guy (going by Ronin) he saves some kids that've been kidnapped and gets help.

This is a good book, with interesting ideas. With Max being a reincarnation(?) of Cuchulain, (Something in Irish myth...) he could do magic without being called that (aka: the "Spark"). Well, the books have it's ups and downs. One cool thing was that the Irish in the book is REAL. The cover is kinda cool too, because all those little pictures? They tell parts of the story. They also have clever twists, like Alex Munoz trying to murder Max, because he apparently hates Max THAT much. (Everyone know they were rivals, but no one would expect that he would go THAT far...) All in all, it's a great book.
  connie.sung | Mar 20, 2012 |
The Hound of Rowan is an enjoyable first novel, following in the literary footsteps of many boarding-school stories (magical or otherwise). There are a few rough spots in the writing/storytelling, but overall this is a solid book. ( )
  shadrach_anki | Feb 23, 2011 |
It’s hard not to compare this with Harry Potter. However the stories are somewhat similar you just can’t help it. There are definitely some aspects of the book you often wonder to yourself if you’re just reading another version of Harry Potter. However there are some aspects of the book where the similarities end and there is a difference between the two books after all.

The storyline is interesting and although it has magical elements and mythology into the plot, there is no hidden magical world. The magic just stays hidden and the faculty of the academy do what they can to cover up chaotic moments with perfect excuses. It does work well and the charade is well played. What I did enjoy is the care of animals which is part of the school curriculum, and when the pairing of the animals to the students was described, I thought that was an interesting read. There was a lot of emphasis and description on the Academy itself - which was nice to read because although it is set in the real world, the school was like a different place altogether.

The story also tends to take a little darker turn than usual especially towards the climax of the book. It does get more interesting and the action is well done, the emphasis on Celtic mythology is mentioned and adds a nice little spin to the book. The Prophecy bit is a little tedious and overdone, but is to be expected to keep the series going. The arc with Max’s mother is what keeps me curious about this series. There’s obviously more to that part and I hope it will tie in nicely as the series progresses.

Character-wise, Max was all right. There wasn’t anything to dislike about him and his nemesis, Alex is your typical jerk. Max also has his own little circle of friends but neither of them really stood out for me. Although I thought David was rather interesting. Mum and Bob are the ones that stand out the most (the kitchen staff). I thought they provided the comic relief and were a fun read. I also liked the relationship between Max and his father. I thought it was nice to see a parent character play such a main role into the main character’s life. It’s something I don’t usually see in these kinds of novels and it’s definitely a nice change to see.

So, with this book you’ll either like it. Or absolutely hate it. Those that are absolute Harry Potter purists should not read this book. The similarities are VERY close and there are many (quite a lot actually) and reading it would probably make your blood pressure pop. However readers that are looking for something that is similar to the Harry Potter style should pick this book up. It’s good enough for me to continue reading this series, however there should be more effort on the author’s part to make things different and think of new creative ways to move the plot ahead. It doesn’t look good if the book is a total rehash of ideas that have already been thought of. ( )
  sensitivemuse | Oct 20, 2010 |
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Max McDaniels pressed his forehead against the train window and watched storm clouds race across the yellow sky.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375838953, Paperback)

MAX MCDANIELS LIVES a quiet life in the suburbs of Chicago until the day he stumbles upon a mysterious Celtic tapestry. Many strange people are interested in Max and his tapestry, and his discovery will lead him to Rowan Academy, a secret school where great things await him.

But dark things are waiting, too. When Max learns that priceless artworks and other gifted children are disappearing from around the globe, he finds himself in the crossfire of an ancient struggle between good and evil.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:18:50 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

After glimpsing a hint of his destiny in a mysterious tapestry, twelve-year-old Max McDaniels becomes a student at Rowan Academy, where he trains in "mystics and combat" in preparation for war with an ancient enemy that has been kidnapping children like him.… (more)

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