Daydream Sanctuary Features

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Tapestry #1: The Beginning of a Harry Potter-ish Celtic Myth & Folklore Series

The Hound of Rowan (The Tapestry #1)
By Henry H. Neff
Max: I saw something magical at the museum.
Nigel: That means you're someone special! I'm here to recruit you to a new school! But first you need to past the test.
Max: Okay *does test and gets a remarkable score*
Nigel: As expected from the main character of the series! You're more special among the special ones!
Awolowo: Because of that, I shall do my best to persuade you to attend the academy. There won't be any story without you being there~
Max: Alright, I'll go to magic school then! I have to discover more of my power, save people, and get ready because the dark lord is obviously going to rise again!

RATING: C- (SO-SO! Has potential to be cool and unique but it just had to write it the way other unimpressive authors do)
FAVORITISM: 2.5 Hearts ---> NEUTRAL (3 Hearts for Connor x Lucia ;D Haha!)

There are a lot of fantasy adventure series with a special boy being able to do magic... but it's not often you see one that is based on Celtic mythology~

Yes, it's another fantasy series with the characters attending a magic school but I'm impressed that the subjects that they're studying here aren't only focused on courses that would require supernatural abilities (like divination, spells, potions, etc.). Well, other series do have subjects like history (history on magic, to be particular), but so far it's only from this series I saw a magic school with a subject like strategies and language. I find it cool when analytical and communication skills are also considered significant in battles and adventures.

I also like the humor in this series. Nigel and Mr. McDaniels were so lame that they became amusing for me, hehe. This series has an interesting cast (I like the diversity in this! The characters are from different countries and it considered the language barriers), and not only the main character has a role in the story. And even though the main character is the "chosen one", he's not the strongest character among his peers (in terms of magical powers).

(Cool illustration of a CĂșchulainn from

It was pretty fun to read it.... however, it became a chore to read later.

My biggest problem with this book is the characterization. It has an interesting cast, and I'm happy that they actually have a role and some dialogues (in other words, they weren't just mentioned) but we couldn't learn more about them because the author was too focused on developing the main character. What's worse is that they're not even involved in the main adventure. I want to learn more about Connor, Lucia, and the rest.... I'm getting sick of Max.

Max was okay at first but reading about his insecurities, worries, and homesickness for so many times made me very annoyed with him. His being too special to the point that he gets to beat records, power-up whenever necessary, and become a savior doesn't helping in making me hating him less. Ugh, I know it's natural for authors to love their main characters... but liking a character too much causes catastrophe!

And oh, romance is nice, but the romance in this (particularly on Max's love life) felt so forced... and uneccessary. It didn't feel like they were in love.... can't even see how they got attracted to each other in the first place (Max to the older girl, I can see. But the other way around.... huh? How did that happen?). And oh gawd... does it really have to be a love triangle? That only made things worse T_T

I think it would have been better if the author focused on Connor x Lucia... now THAT had chemistry! It would be more interesting to see how that type of couple would develop~ Sadly, the author focused on the boring pairing... because the main characters part of it. It's all about Max again. He makes me puke.

Another big problem that I see on this are the plot holes and lack of character background. There was never an explanation in the book how a certain character was considered a "traitor" in the past even though presently he's actually protecting Max. We were also never told what makes Max's roommate so special (in a way that he could read ancient texts and have private conversations with a magical character). The disappearance of Max's mom would have been an interesting mystery.... but we never get to the subject much so all we know form beginning to end is that she's still missing. *sigh*

The agent stuff and scenario rooms (where they can do battle practice) make it have a good potential for action.... but there hadn't been much action stunts and Max just amplifies most of the time. Instead of being impressed with their skills, it only makes me think:"Oh, Max power-ups again and he wins as usual. What's new?".

Their "Strategies" subject had been a waste.... because none of the strategies they have implemented brought good/successful results (they just avoided having the bad results happening early). The series has so many characters! Why not make one of the characters be the leader-type and can come up with good attack plans?! And no, don't make it Max!!! That's just sick. He's too special already!

Lastly, I would want to complain about the pets in this book. They're just there for the sake of the characters having additional responsibility and have a pest to take care of. The story could still go on even without that part... ugh, what a waste of pages.

This book certainly had potential but it focused too much on Max and how to make him as special as possible (without making him the strongest character in terms of magical ability). I was also frustrated on the lack of explanations... I mean, it's okay to leave some mysteries then have them revealed in the later installments... but some of them just don't make sense! It also sucks on plot twists (none of them have been surprising). It's quite predictable... and I won't be shocked when I find out that the character that's supposed to be dead at the end of this book will turn out to be alive when I read the sequel. T_T

Speaking of the sequel, I kind of regret buying it because this book got me pretty disappointed.

(nice illustration from the author's website)

But hhhmmm.... on the bright side, despite the many things it lacked.... it's not really a bad series. It has good story ideas and a great cast... they just weren't used well. The illustrations in the book were very very nice.

I think this is recommended to people who are interested in fantasy series in general... and wants something a little different (because not many focus on Celtic mythology and folklore). This book is nice to read~ I think Max would be likable to many readers (it just so happened that I'm not one of them, ahaha).


Anonymous said...

Try reading the rest of the books. This series is...a series. Not every question is going to be answered in the first volume. Many of your objections are addressed in the second and third books. Give them a read and see if you still feel the same way.

Sapphire Pyro said...

@ Anonymous
I am aware that it's a series but... there are thing which I believe had to be clear as early as the first book. It's alright to leave some mysteries for the later installments... but TOO much of them is just... weird.
I've read many other YA fantasy series, but this one just left me hanging TOO much that made my interest drop as I read more x_x

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