This is a story about a boy with magical powers who goes to boarding school and ends up taking on a big bad evil guy in the end. Sound familiar? I am an uber Harry Potter fan, and, initially, I liked the similarities to Rowling’s story. But it only took a few chapters for the similarities to go from “hmm, that’s neat” to “oh my god, is this legal?” Okay, I’m not asserting that Neff broke any copyright laws, but the book reads as if he took the best parts of the Harry Potter books and movies, changed them just enough not to constitute copyright infringement and then smashed them together to make this book.
Let’s take a look at a FEW of the many similarities:
1. Harry goes to a boarding school for wizards – Max goes to a boarding school for kids with magic powers
2. Harry has the Sorting Ceremony – Max has the room configurations
3. Harry befriends Seamus Finnigan (Irish) – Max befriends Connor Lynch (Irish)
4. Feasts in the Great Hall – Feasts in the Great Hall
5. A half giant named Hagrid works at Hogwarts – Bob the former ogre works in the kitchens at Rowan
6. Harry plays Quidditch – Max plays Euclidean soccer
7. Harry is forced to attend the Yule Ball – Max is forced to attend the All Hallow’s Eve ball
8. Harry suspects Snape of being on the enemy’s side – Max suspects Miss Boon of being a traitor
9. Voldemort needs Harry’s blood to become corporeal – Astaroth needs Max’s blood to escape a painting
It’s sad, because this story did pack some suspenseful moments. However, the characters and plot were not as fully developed as their “mother story,” i.e. Harry Potter. A good read-a-like for younger kids who just want to read another book about a boy who goes to wizard school, but nothing original here.
But hey, some people were able to see past the similarities and give this one a decent review: