Monday, November 21, 2011

Henry Neff has woven a Tapestry of Adventure


I looked back through my blog list and I cannot believe I have not reviewed Henry Neff’s books in the “Tapestry” series.  I came across the first book, “The Hound of Rowan” in 2008 and I was Henry_biggertotally pulled into Mr. Neff’s world.  I was blogging then.  Why the heck didn’t I let everyone know about this adventure sooner is crazy.  I have read the second and third books and I can’t wait for the 4th installment coming out sometime next year.  The Tapestry series has often been compared to the incomparable Harry Potter.  I think this is a compliment.  The similarities are they are both about a boy who discovers he is more than he ever imagined and he is given the opportunity to discover the magic inside himself. This series is sold as juvenile fiction and just like with Harry Potter it has appeal for readers of all ages. The characters are wonderfully drawn both in words and illustrations. Mr. Neff illustrates each of his novels and it does add something to the story. His artwork is interesting and graphic.henryneffillustrations




The story takes place in present day U.S.  It starts innocently enough when our unsuspecting young hero, 12 year old Max McDaniel, comes across an ancient Celtic tapestry in a Chicago museum.  In his pursuit to find out where it came from Max finds out he has special skill and is recruited to attend an unusual academy in New England.  From the minute Max crosses the gate of the Rowan Academy he begins the discovery process that not everything is as it seems nor is he.  He has been chosen to be the champion of Rowan. He finds out, like Harry, he has magic.  Unlike Harry, Max isn’t training to be a wizard.  He is training to be a warrior.  His ancestor is the great Cuchulain, the first champion against evil.  Max is filled with the Old Magic and he realizes he has come to the school to learn how to focus his gifts to help defend Rowan and more, the world from the growing threat of an evil demon named Astraroth.  Okay, that does sound kind of like Voldemort. 

Unlike Harry there is another character as important to the story as Max.  Max isn’t the only one at Rowan learning to fight and protect.  He becomes roommate with David Menlo.  David is probably more powerful than Max as a budding sorcerer but physically not strong and it will take both of them to take on Astaroth and the destruction of not just the world but its history too.  Like Harry it is the whole cast of characters that take a simple coming of age story into a heroic journey!  The cast is too long to list here but I promise you are going to love them!

The Hound of Rowan


Book One:  The Hound of Rowan introduces us to the amazing world of Max and Mr. Neff.  It is a story of discovery.  I was left in excitement waiting to see the heroes finally beat the evil plaguing the world.





thesecondsiegeBook Two:  The Second Siege pits Max and David in direct conflict with Astaroth with devastating consequences.  It is a story of facing your fears. The world as we know it has been decimated and I was filled with sadness for losses both personal and worldwide.




Book Three:  The Fiend and  the Forge finds the world post battle and we have lost.  Astaroth is in power.  This is a story of claiming yourself and your destiny regardless where it takes you.  This installment is very dark and I actually think a little too mature for an 11-12 year old to read.  I also thought Harry got very mature in the last 2 books.  Max and David have to go their own ways to help each other accomplish a mutual goal, the downfall of the evil empire…(I know, Star Wars).


Bottom line:  I can’t wait for the next one.