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Academia de Rowan 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 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 really pick up steam like Rowling did through the course of the books The story became deeper,interwoven, and I understood how all of the books worked together and were laying groundwork for the conclusion.I m a bit worried that Neff is already placing so many similar thematic elements in these books and plot vehicles that smack of Harry Potte i.e a school for kids that are different with a whole hidden society that regular people don t know about If I see an invisibility cloak or a Marauders Map show up, I may give up entirely That is perhaps unfair since a lot of the elements of Harry Potter can be found in Lord of the Rings and imitation isn t new Still, Harry Potter was so recent and so widespread it is hard not to feel slighted by authors who roll out the same artifice in their stories 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 muchthan 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, 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 muchthan 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, Max is sent to Rowan Academy, a boarding school where gifted teens are trained to use their powers.While at school, Max and his new friends discover that other, potentially gifted students have been disappearing from all over the world, as are famous works of arts The students going against all the rules must determine the correlation between the disappearances and save the world Between classes and football games, of course A solid start to one of my MOST FAVORITE Middle Grade series 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 yetgo figure.So, what do we have here Why did I come to the decision t 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 yetgo figure.So, what do we have here Why did I come to the decision that it should cross over into the 5 star range First, it s just well written I ve mentioned before that most plots, characters and so on that can occur in stories have at some time That s true here I occasionally go on a YA reading stint I have lately and most have hit me as mediocre Many of the teen books I read tend to bleed over into YAPNR Young Adult ParaNormal Romance This one didn t do any of those Of course the youths in it are around 12 and 13 I assume we ll seeinterpersonal relationships as the series goes on As I said, it s a well written book and draws in the reader Where I often find these books fading in and out as I started this one I got to know the character s and liked many of them So first, the writing appeals, it flows.Secondly the plot After Harry Potter hit there were a rash of books about young people in magical worlds and in magical schools Not all were good, not all were bad many were so so.I doubt anyone who s a fan of the Harry Potter books will be able to escape the comparison There s a lot of things to compare but it doesn t rip the story off It s not a copy of the book at all but there are several places where theycross into the same neighborhood What have here is a story that draws on mythology I just read some of the Frost ya books and they hit some of the same ground Of course the Percy Jackson books use Greek mostly Celtic and or Norse mythology From there we spring into the magical world where these myths and legends are of importance today Young people or YAs come to school to be trained in many things from the mystical to tactics and strategy view spoiler and of course our young protagonist is a prodigy hide spoiler We ll meet kids of all types from the friendly to the obnoxious and outright evil Our young hero is forming a circle of friends buy for now he s still young The action of the book moves along pretty seamlessly and springs into a climax that doesn t have any of the tacked on feel a climax can have when you get a young hero facing some great evil The story works well so far and I enjoyed their set up and back story There s no pacing problem where the book starts out interesting and then slows down only to pick up again later.I have my doubts about how some of the story elements may be used laterbut their fine now so we ll wait and see With enough action, some humor, and a well written story this one is good and I can recommend you try it.I already plan to follow it up If I still had youths at home I d read it with them.Enjoy 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 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 glad the sequel is on my new book shelf because I m ready to read it Don t you hate that moment when you ve just finished reading an amazing, fun book with an immersive storyline, well developed magic system and deep characters and you naturally and eagerly decide to check out another one of the author s books in hopes ofamazingness only to have said other book end up falling far far short of your Reasonably High Expectations, so far in fact, that it can only be described as a Gargantuan Disappointment Yeah, me too.For me that amazing, fun book is Impyrium Don t you hate that moment when you ve just finished reading an amazing, fun book with an immersive storyline, well developed magic system and deep characters and you naturally and eagerly decide to check out another one of the author s books in hopes ofamazingness only to have said other book end up falling far far short of your Reasonably High Expectations, so far in fact, that it can only be described as a Gargantuan Disappointment Yeah, me too.For me that amazing, fun book is Impyrium And the Gargantuan Disappointment that came after is The Hound of Rowan.I won t be rating the Gargantuan Disappointment because I didn t actually finish itI got about 61% of the way through and I finally had to ask myself, Why am I reading this What s the point I was bored and had been for quite an alarming amount of chapters I now realize I only kept slogging on because I was hoping to glimpse something like the brilliance that was Impyrium, and that maybe the flat characters would turn out to be not quite so flat and maybe, just maybe something exciting enough to rekindle my interest would happen I know The Hound of Rowan was written several years before Impyrium and is the first book Neff published However, I don t think excusing the faults of this book simply because it s a debut would be reasonable I ve read many well written debuts that didn t have flat characters or plot slowness or even really any problems to speak of.I ve heard that The Tapestry gets better with each book and with that in mind, I may pick up the second book one day But I don t know For sure, I won t be continuing any time soon.I ll be going to have a quiet weep of bitterness now 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 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 life He has no idea of the latent magic he possesses until he comes in proximity to a glowing tapestry that imparts a vision of his own future battling demons beyond anything he could imagine Max then receives an invitation to attend the mysterious Rowan Academy, and it isn t an offer one turns down lightly his supernatural gifts place him among the most extraordinary youths on earth, and only this boarding school can nurture those gifts Mr McDaniels knows nothing of Max s special abilities and is reluctant to say goodbye to his son, but agrees to let him go to Rowan Academy, opening the door for an adventure with enough enchantment to fill a dozen lifetimes Just getting to the school is fraught with danger, though Max s escort, Nigel Bristow, attempts to conceal it from Mr McDaniels Enemy agents are observing Max s route and will employ any resources necessary to abduct him before arrival Once at Rowan Academy, however, Max fits in fairly well He rooms with David Menlo, a scrawny, pale boy who soon shows himself to wield considerable powers of magic and intelligence Connor Lynch, an Irish boy always ready with a quip, often hangs around in Max and David s spacious room The school s Old Magic created a dazzling room for Max and David, a strong indicator they aren t run of the mill First Year students Rowan Academy is filled with peculiarities including Mum and Bob, a pair of ogre like cooks who frighten the students despite their insistence that they ve sworn off eating children but Max s adjustment to boarding school could be worse If only he knew the danger ahead Max wasn t the recruit targeted for kidnapping on their journey to Rowan Academy Numerous kids were taken, and Ms Richter, the school s Director, fears the return of Astaroth, an evil being who was thought dead for centuries If he indeed still lives, what is his plan for the abducted recruits, and are the kids on school grounds safe Ms Richter and her faculty are tight lipped on matters related to Astaroth, but Max is a top prospect at the academy and may be able to help solve the mystery He and his roommate David have an idea where Astaroth could be hiding, but eliminating him may prove impossible for a pair of First Year boys, however brave and talented they are There s plenty of drama at Rowan Academy just getting along with girls and resisting bullies, but is Max ready to shoulder responsibility for the safety of everyone at the school The Hound of Rowan is less than electrifying, but I think there s a good chance the Tapestry series improves as the plot deepens and Henry H Neff develops as a writer We ve only scratched the surface of this magical world and its lore, and the next book, The Second Siege, is positioned decently to excel Max and David are likable, smart, reasonably realistic kids with a lot left to accomplish before their work is done The Hound of Rowan will never rival the popularity of Harry Potter and the Philosopher s Stone, but the Tapestry series is not without potential A vida sossegada de Max McDaniels est prestes a nunca mais voltar a ser como antes Durante uma visita com o pai ao Instituto de Arte de Chicago, uma velha tape aria celta ganha vida sua frente e, pouco depois, Max recebe um enigm tico convite para ingressar na Academia de Rowan 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 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 McDaniels is an interesting protagonist I like that his friends have skills superior to his own, like Conner with his charisma or David with his intelligence I liked that he tries to do the right thing, but there are several instances that allude to his past that really add complexity Particular his anger was really interesting to read I also loved his dad, and the characters I named earlier However, there were so many characters in and a lot of them are disembodied because it s hard to keep track Part of me wondered why so many names were thrown in there other than to world build, but I couldn t remember a characteristic, or a physical trait, or really anything This pertained to students and teachers alike, I only remembered the main ones because the rest of it felt rushed, especially when at random intervals they would appear, do something minor, then disappear Was that necessary Did it drive the plot forward It feltlike,Oh hey it s be cool to have someone appear right now and say this, here s Faculty Member X Okay I said my two cents, byeAnd I don t know I felt like the story could be tightened I really enjoyed the beginning of the book because the pacing allowed me to get to know Max and his father, and set up for the story When Neff slows down specific moments to relay information while still moving the story forward, he really does it well But the pacing gets really wonky further in the book because so many concepts are being introducedWe re here now here s classes, here s 20 characters, now an obscure sport, now an awesome match and a dance in the same day, oh there s also pets Did the author know he would have a series Would there have been a better way to further flesh out some concepts because they are pretty interesting But I have a vague idea of some because so much is thrown at you, which is really saying something in a 400 page book And because so much is thrown at you, things are glossed over and you re expected to believe that hey, this is now a thing Hey, this regular human was assaulted, now they can just live at Rowan Academy when it was such a big deal to keep normal people in the dark about Old Magic and this world Was it necessary for Max to have a pet It didn t move the story forward and already there was so much happening, was that really something to focus on I know I m harping on the little things but there was attention placed on this when the idea could ve been scrapped andattention could ve been paid to something else.Also, the amount of information that is relayed didn t feel earned, if this makes sense Half the time the faculty withheld information for I m not sure, safety To not create a huge stir Which then left the children in the dark, and after people were injured then information could be relayed And instances where I d really like to readabout, are summarized and we re being moved forward without creating a connection at all And when it s convenient Max runs out of magical reserves, but in other instances he s all drained I wish Max and crew went out and did things, but instead things are told to them, things happen to them, and the story doesn t feel character driven I did like that David went out of his way to do research, but for how renounced the faculty is, they relied on the knowledge of a first year to get them through If they were trying to keep secrets appearances, shouldn t they have found his sources and then banned him from continuing I don t know I love magic, the extraordinary and overall fantasy, but this story felt like a hot mess I gave it two stars because I was invested enough in a good few characters which is why I saw it through to the end Maybe these concepts areelaborated on in the later books, or hey, maybe the issues I have aren t huge in the eyes of a younger audience Either way, I might borrow the sequel from a friend but it s not on my priority list 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 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 really sure how to feel about him Maybe that gets cleared up in other books At any rate, Max shows a lot of sympathy and grace towards his father That s the part that counts

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