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The Hound of Rowan

(The Tapestry #1)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  11,631 ratings  ·  771 reviews
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. His discovery leads 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 gifted children are disappear
Hardcover, 421 pages
Published September 25th 2007 by Random House Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2007)
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Grace Yes, there is. Kind of like in Harry Potter. Not the main plot, but certainly one of the sub plots. I'd recommend this series if you haven't read it…moreYes, there is. Kind of like in Harry Potter. Not the main plot, but certainly one of the sub plots. I'd recommend this series if you haven't read it before now.(less)
Mea Well, the genre is Fantasy, but I'm not familiar with school reading levels.

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4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  11,631 ratings  ·  771 reviews

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Reading the first few chapters, I found myself comparing this book to Harry Potter. As one of the most avid reader of H.P. I have to say that I was a little disappointed. But when I got past reading chapter 4, I found myself falling in love with this book.

There's a significant difference between this book and H.P.
The main plot, unlike H.P, this book does not exactly use "magic" per say, it's based more on the real stuff like science fiction and folklore.
I was also amazed by the author's imagi
Feb 19, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
A decent first effort. I see these books as a cross between Harry Potter and Fablehaven. The story is fast paced and interesting. The characters are a bit flat but I expect will flesh out a lot over the course of the series.

I have a difficult time not comparing these books to Harry Potter and that is unfair since I've read all 7 of the books in that series. Going back and reading the first book shows that the Tapestry first effort is on a similar level. The key will be whether or not Neff can r
Mike (the Paladin)
Aug 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-fantasy
I was originally going to go 4 stars on this book, but on reflection I decided I had to go 5. We'll call it a borderline 5. I try to give few 5 star ratings as any book I give a 5 needs to be exceptional or the rating fails to mean much.

I went there in this case as I think it will remain a reread book for me if I ever have time to do a reread. I have less time to reread books now as there seem to be so many I haven't read yet...go figure.

So, what do we have here? Why did I come to the decision t
Feb 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
I love when I pick up a book, knowing very little about it, and discover that it is just what I was looking for. Because this is a book about a young teenager who goes to boarding school to learn magic, the comparisons to Harry Potter are inevitable, but this is so much more than a Harry Potter read-alike.

Basically, this is the story of Max. While visiting an art museum with his father, Max sees a vision in a tapestry. This vision draws attention to Max, both favorable and negative. Ultimately,
The Library Lady
Mar 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Okay, it might turn out to be what some reviews keep saying "a Harry Potter knockoff", with no merits of its own. But since Jo Rowling stole freely from her predecessors, and just happens to be a good writer who revived an old formula at the right time, I'm willing to give this one a chance....

UPDATE (4/7/09)And I'm glad I did. Lots of wonderful touches--people keep mentioning "Mum" the reformed (well mostly)hag cook with good reason--she's wonderfully funny. Well told, well thought out and I'm
May 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
Novels about magical boarding schools were ubiquitous following the 1997 release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, and I suspect Henry H. Neff's The Hound of Rowan partly owes its existence to J.K. Rowling's success. Twelve-year-old Max McDaniels from Chicago, Illinois seems to be an ordinary boy. His mother disappeared some time ago and may be dead, but Max's father refuses to forget about her, which leads to the paranormal encounter at the Art Institute museum that changes Max's lif ...more
Sep 24, 2015 rated it it was ok
So I think just about any premise involving a young boy going to a school filled with magic and the extraordinary would set up an automatic comparison to Harry Potter, just as any obscure title would be compared to its genre's classic. Knowing that, I did not going in here drawing comparisons; I'm rating this book totally as its own work, giving it the respect it deserves. That being said, maybe I read this with the wrong perspective in mind because I found several issues with it.

First off, Max
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is very similar to Harry Potter, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoyed The Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter) or The box and the Dragonfly (The Keepers).
Annalise Nakoneczny
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
This was an excellent read-- like Harry Potter mixed with Celtic mythology and a good spy school novel. The characters are distinct and interesting, and the worldbuilding in this book WOW I love it so much. 12-year-old me would have given anything to attend Rowan. Also ALL the mythological animals.
The one thing that confused me was the characterization of the father. Mr. McDaniels is a slightly controlling, confused, lonely man, but I think the reader is supposed to view him as caring? I'm not r
I was pretty excited reading the back of the book--it seemed like it had all the qualities of a children's fantasy novel that would entrance me. It did captivate in some ways, however, in many others it was sadly lacking.

I felt myself more compelled to focus on the supporting character (the main character's roommate) than the actual main character, Max. He was sadly disappointing in many ways, and continued to irritate me throughout the book. It was only towards the end of the book that he even
Aug 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
Just goes to show you that when you read a book almost 10 years later your opinion can change. I completely believe this book is better than my original review. Not a 5 star but it is better.

(old review from 2008)

I really tried to not compare this book to Harry Potter and I went in with an open mind. But the truth is this is a Harry Potter knock off. That wasn't my main problem with the book though.

The problem with the book I
Stacey Kym
Dec 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-reviews
'The Hound of Rowan' was a spectacular novel that I seriously loved to death but it just...lost something along the way - hence the four star. I loved the incorporation of real life events by the author and the childhood trivialities that we so often find embarrassing as children but then laugh later as adults. It was a fantastic story that made me laugh so often or just grin stupidly at the book. I loved the characters (the good ones) and got seriously creeped out by the evil ones. The story wa ...more
Hannah Belyea
May 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
After finding a mysterious tapestry, Max is quickly whisked away to a private academy where he must train in fighting and mystics if he hopes to keep him and his dad safe from an ancient evil, one that is secretly stealing away children and precious artworks...Neff begins an intriguing adventure full of myths and mayhem sure to delight and shock. Will Max be able to pass all of his new courses long enough to learn the ropes?
Zachary Ljubicich
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I've ever read, this book and the series as a whole has followed me throughout my childhood.
Jan 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
I picked this book up at the used bookstore yesterday. At first glance it seemed to be your typical Harry Potter copycat, you know which one i'm talking about. Young boy is magically discovered at the age of thirteen and sent off to a special boarding school. However, the author definitely puts his own spin on things.

He creates his own take on some Celtic mythology with a few twists and turns. The main character's name is Max McDaniels, and he's just found out he's got mystic powers. So, off to
Jan 04, 2011 rated it it was ok
If you like Harry Potter and you like Lightening Thief, I can almost guarantee that you'll like this book. There are some striking similarities between this and Harry Potter... not quite passing the plagiarism border. They're both about magic schools, both main characters have dark hair, Series starts around the same age (this guy's 12), they're going through the whole hero cycle thing where they're destined for a dangerous and probably fatal world-saving mission. Despite all of these similariti ...more
Oct 31, 2011 rated it did not like it
This book is basically a Harry Potter rip-off. While it has some differences (for example, technology is embraced not eschewed; the kids have animals that they care for; the kids come from across the world, not just the UK), it’s pretty similar – ie: the kids have untapped powers, the kids are specially selected, the kids go through a process similar to the sorting, there is a school sport (soccer-esque), there is a powerful yet charming headmistress, quirky teachers, and a villainous group that ...more
Montana Library2Go

It's against my policy to compare one book or series to another, for two main reasons. A) I don't think it matters that much what similarities exist between books. Just because you like one book does not mean you'll like a book that distinctly resembles it, and vice versa. Too often I've read books that have been compared to books that I truly love, and found these later books to be major disappointments. B) There is very little in the world of fiction that is truly new. I can
Sep 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017-read-books
I reead the entire Harry Potter series in May. I see review after review comparing this to Harry Potter, but to me it felt like a combination of a lot of middle grade series like Fablehaven, Percy Jackson, The Magisterium series, with a little tiny bit of science fiction mixed with the fantasy. In other words, the only real comparison to HP is that he receives a letter in the mail to get an evaluation and there is a magic school. And there is references to a chosen one. If that's plagarism, then ...more
Aug 30, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My decision for my final star rating vacillated between 3 and 4 stars while I was listening to this book. In the end I decided on three, because while I became interested in many of the characters while I was listening to it, and even invested in a couple of them, it lacked much of the inventiveness that I look for when I am reading a magic school narrative. It leaned far too heavily on Harry Potter and other texts that have gone before. The tapestry idea and Asteroth were original, but those we ...more
Kiri Kayrooz
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
I feel like this series must get constantly compared to Harry Potter because there are obvious similarities. A young boy, Max, discovers that he has a magical heritage and begins to attend a school which caters for children like him. A mysterious and deadly enemy seems to be targeting the children of this school but is particularly interested in Max.

Despite the similarities, I enjoyed reading this book. I think that when it comes to fantasy, there are lots of elements which are re-used again and
Lindy MacLaine
Feb 01, 2019 rated it liked it
A Hogwarts knock-off... Has its very own charms--some very strong sections, some less so. Still, I'm sure I'll watch for the sequel!
Kino Kino
Feb 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
I didn't know that a genre about magic schools is a thing, I thought Harry Potter was "unique" (not saying it was good, just thought that it was sorta alone) well this is my 2nd series in that genre and I thought it was great. Didn't think much of Harry Potter as I thought it was boring. This on the other hand seems to have more interesting characters and someone who isn't a push over. Plus, this universe doesn't disregard the real one it coexists with. I have always wondered why they never used ...more
When Max McDaniels sees a vision of a scene from Irish mythology in a tapestry, he learns that he has magic and can go to the secret magical school of Rowan. It takes some doing to get there--dark forces have been kidnapping "potentials" like Max, and his father (his mother is gone) can't know the true nature of the school. Once there, everything is surprising. The kitchen is run by a reformed ogre and a hag. Max and his roommate's room is "configured" into a large, two-level space with constell ...more
Jan 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Action/Adventure fans who love magic laced with Irish folklore.
This was one of those books I read when I was a kid that I couldn't stop thinking about. I was never sure why, really. It's the story of a kid who finds out that he's a not so normal and is in fact a part of a group of people who have special powers such as magic and immense physical capability. These people have a school called Rowan where the kid, Max McDaniels, goes to study his newfound abilities. While there, he learns of a demon so terrible that it completely obliterated the previous schoo ...more
Gary Nilsen
Sep 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Okay, let's get one thing out of the way immediately. You simply can not avoid making a direct comparison to the Harry Potter series. Having said that, The Hound of Rowan is an entertaining book (the first of a series) to read. Author, Henry Neff has worked hard to create a world that exists apart from "normal" humans just like Rick Riordan succeeded in doing with Percy Jackson. Typical of young adult fiction, Neff throws his main character Max McDaniels into a world that on one hand is seemingl ...more
Nov 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
My first thought upon beginning to read this book: This is very Harry-Potter-like.

That impression didn't change that much between the beginning and the end, because you can't help but make that comparison: Young boy discovers he's magic and gets sent to a special school for training his abilities? That comparison is going to be made, like it or not.

I found, though, that by the end, I didn't mind the comparison because there was enough to make this book unique. Rather than the Rowling version of
Nov 12, 2012 rated it liked it
Without having read any other reviews and never having heard of this book before I picked it up (and didn't read the book summary) I'm going to have to guess that the author's most hated criticism is how much like Harry Potter this book is. Because yeah, there are going to be marked similarities in any books with boy heroes who discover they have magical abilities and are sent off to a boarding school to learn how to use their magic.

And while it's a good book, I have to say that I'm not really s
Tatiana Dengo
Sep 06, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The blurb sounded pretty interesting, but this turned out to be a very dull book.

(Side note: There is no reason for me to compare it to Harry Potter, because the only similarities here are a supernatural boarding school, and a male protagonist, and that's it.)

100 pgs in, the book is going on and on about ordinary, logistical details such as: traveling to the school, taking a campus tour, getting a dorm room, figuring out how the bathroom works, getting schedules, etc. It didn't seem to end and
Alexander Draganov
Feb 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
A fun and interesting novel, "The Hound of Rowan" clearly targets fans of Harry Potter as it tells the story of a young boy which enters a magical school. The boy is called Max McDaniels and is chosen because of a strange vision he had, when he saw a tapestry - this shows that he might be special even among special kids. So he enters the Rowan Academy in which he develops the skills of a brave and feisty warrior and a fine sportsman. He also meets friends, clashes with a schoolbully and struggle ...more
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Other books in the series

The Tapestry (5 books)
  • The Second Siege (The Tapestry, #2)
  • The Fiend and the Forge (The Tapestry, #3)
  • The Maelstrom (The Tapestry, #4)
  • The Red Winter (The Tapestry, #5)
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