Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Hound of Rowan by Henry H. Neff

The Hound of Rowan
by Henry H. Neff

Let’s get one thing out of the way first. This book has many similarities to Harry Potter.  This is both a blessing and a curse; a blessing in the sense that it is the only reason why I came across the book in the first place. I was searching LibraryThing for other books that dealt with the magical school plot device. On the other hand, it is a curse, because it is easy enough to dismiss this book as being derivative or a knock off.  So the question we are left with is: Does the book stand on its own merits?

The plot in a nutshell: Our hero discovers that when he looks at a tapestry in a museum it begins to move.  Naturally this leads to bad people trying to capture him and good people trying to rescue him. The good people end up spiriting him away to above mentioned magical school where he starts his education.  This contains the usual school sub plots. Naturally the overarching good versus evil story line kicks in again for the conclusion.

So how does it hold up? Well, the writing is decent, not brilliant, but serviceable.  The world building seems to be based on the idea that if Hogwarts had it we should double it. Not only is there a magical sport, but a magical strategy class, magical creatures who are part of the faculty, familiars of the students and last, but not least, dorm rooms that reconfigure themselves to fit the personality of the occupants.

I hope that these ideas will be fleshed out more because as it stands after book one I am suffering from magical school whiplash. There is just too much crammed in here. So will I be going on to the second book? Yes. I will.  The characters are engaging and the concepts, although rushed, are interesting. 


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