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Jesse Jameson and the Curse of Caldazar (Jesse Jameson Alpha to Omega) Paperback – 28 Feb 2004
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A feat of imagination. -- Hilary Williamson, bookloons.com
A modern day classic. -- Alison Cresswell, producer of the JK Rowling BBC Omnibus documentary
Has the reader hooked from the first page to the last. -- Janey Hulme, The Teacher Magazine
Highly recommended ... very good read. -- GP Taylor, international bestselling author
The latest star in a golden age of fantasy books for children. -- Eastern Daily Press
From the Author
'Jesse Jameson and the Curse of Caldazar is a crossroad book for me,' says author, Sean Wright. 'By that I mean, its plot-line points in four, distinct directions at the end. Which way to go with Book Four? Now that - as Shakespeare once said - is the question.
'Anyway, in the beginning there is mayhem and fairy madness, parallel dimensions, strange creatures, haunted woods, labyrinths, shape-shifting, wizardry and witchery, scraps and battles, darkness and a few surprises that Jesse has to summon all of her strength to deal with.'See all Product description
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Let us examine that extract more closely. Is Zundrith at the top of the waterfall or at the bottom? Is it her spells and curses that are causing the water to freeze? Why does the water freeze into a spike shape and not a crown as falling liquid would when it lands? Indeed how does the water fall at all when the ice apparently "stretched high into the clouds"? Why is she "welded" to the river bank? Or does he just mean that she can't get past the mountains of ice? And if she is faced directly with mountains of ice then how can she cast spells and curses "into the towering waterfall"?
What we have here is either a lazy image not thought out properly, or else the author had the proper image of it in his head and simply could not convey it to the reader. I found I was stopping very frequently in the first dozen pages to marvel or scratch my head at some unbelievably bad sentences. Here are a few more from the opening pages:
"She hissed and it turned into a corkscrew of rhino horn, and then exploded into a million tiny fragments of dust. Crushed - as her enemies would be - she studied the gently drifting particles." Now which is it? Was it crushed, or did it explode? And how about that dangling participle: "Crushed ... she studied the gently drifting particles." Incredible.
"The sheer vastness of Caldazar was impossible to grasp." Well, according to the to-scale map at the start of the book, it covers about five miles by two miles - so not *quite* impossible to grasp perhaps. (This comes through too in the forest scenes, where the characters walk for a long time to get through what is, according to the map, no more than half a mile of forest.)
"Do not tip the Great Unbalancing in favour of the Darkness. Seek its counsel and its advice, for it will guide you along many Paths of Illumination." Yes, in Curse of Caldazar it seems we have the benefit not only of a spell-checker but also a CAPS button. The number of pointless and portentous capitalisations is hilarious: The Clerics of Information. The Wild Winds of Murokchi. The Elders of Elriad. The Seeing-Stone. The Portal of Talonscar. All these, and the quote above, come from just pages 14 and 15.
Are these all niggling complaints? No, because these sentences - all from the first six pages of the book - catch on the brain and interrupt the narrative, impeding the flow of the story. As do rudimentary conflicts like "jagged plateaus", "her pretty mucus eyes," or this:
On page 16 line 10 we are told: "A beautiful face appeared, with wide dark eyes and silky flaxen hair, untouched by the Wild Winds. She had long delicate fangs either side of her mouth." Then on page 16 line 32: "There was no visible sign of her, except a small ball of purple light that hovered a metre above the undergrowth." These descriptions both apply to (here comes the latest booby prize from Mr Wright's bottomless bran tub of Scrabble-tile names) Masdemdresa. Other Boggle-inspired words include Trelakum, Mpaza, aktoka, Tuyanahey, brathllall, Dmourlagen, Ilalthatorg, and many many more. There is no spirit or consistency.
The use of normal words is poor too. A "maligned creature" appears instead of a malign one. As in Golden Glow, "unmercilessly" means "mercilessly." And, unbelievably, one character refers to someone else as "yours truly." This is very bad indeed in books intended for children. Incidentally, with all the bloopers, howlers and head-shakers listed so far, please believe me when I say we are still in the FIRST TEN PAGES of the book. And I haven't listed them all.
Suffice it to say that the book is like this from start to finish. And as for the skin-crawler passages interrupting the flow of the book - well fear not. You can't harm what isn't there. It's the usual ragglebag of restlessly manic scenes, never sustained to the point of depth or interest, characters which are supposed to be wacky or scary and are neither (the only vampiric description - despite reviews below, there are hardly any vampire scenes in the book - needless to say, has its feet firmly in the mud of cliche with slicked-back black hair, cape etc.). Mr Wright continues to think that just placing one scene after another is enough, with no consideration for structure or tension. He piles on the baddies too, so whereas in Golden Glow we had the witch sisters, and in Bogie Beast we had the witch sisters and Kildrith and the Bogie Beast, here we have the witch sisters, Kildrith, the Bogie Beast, Zundrith and (please don't laugh) the Skaardrithadon, otherwise known as (Caps at the ready) the New Master of Darkness, or in short a common-or-garden vampire. Presumably as the books progress, the field will become more and more crowded as Wright continues to borrow mythology left right and centre, and hang the integrity. What next: werewolves? Zombies? Irascible hoteliers?
Jesse herself, three books on, still doesn't have any discernable character. This book, too, is balder in its money-spinning sequel-generating intention than the others in that there isn't even any climactic scene or resolution offered. It just ends with "The greatest battle the Fairy Kingdoms had ever seen was about to begin." Having read all three JJ books I am qualified to confirm that they are the worst books it has ever been my displeasure to encounter. They have no redeeming features at all.
You have to understand that Crow Swing books is Sean Wright himself, as are the five star reviewers.
Don't waste your money.
This instalment of Jesse Jameson leaves a little something to be desired. The plot is rambling, the character development underdone, and Wright becomes too bogged down in the use of alien words.
However, all is not lost; there are passages that provide glimpses of solid good writing. The pacing of the novel moves well. In addition, no one can fault Wright in the imagination field.
The book is at times scary and at other times humorous. This is a useful skill for a writer, knowing when and where not be heavy-handed so that you know when to let the boom fall.
Jesse Jameson's journey through the land of the trolls and witches is eventful and in places downright hair-raising. If you are a fan of Wright's previous forays, then by all means go out and get this one for your collection.
monsters are the main focus round which the book revolves.
the first line will grab straight away with out fail. if not nothing will. fans of sean wright will not b disappointed. new readers will find it will turn them into sean wright fans, craving for more. and there is more - its the third in a twenty six book series - but ur gonna have to wait. but until then - read the golden glow, and bogie beast - both amazing books.
Once again Sean Wright has produced a great story! It is crammed full of suspense, with the sort of humour that adds to the story without distracting from it. This is a masterfully done work that deserves all of the acclaim that it is getting.
The author expertly tailored the story, so that it is possible to pick up this book and read it without reading the first one, but I highly recommend against it! To get the full feeling for the story you must read both books in order. This is a great book, suitable for both children and adults who like fun, adventure and lots of action in their reading.
Reviewer: A reader from San Fransisco, USA
Glorious storytelling at its very best. Curse of Caldazar is a magical, frightening book. It kept me on the edge of my seat, and you better believe it when I say: don't turn out the lights! Lock the doors!
Sean Wright's book is masterfully told, building suspense, horror, and adventure to a fantastic battle at the end. It's got the lot. Drama, intrigue, and magic. A sure-fire hit with kids and adults. If Stephen King was writing horror books for children, he'd have wished he'd written this one.
Although this book has been printed by a small independent publisher, some big names in the publishing world are paying attention to it. Top literary agent, Peter Straus; top Hollywood film producers; and #1 bestselling author, GP Taylor, who's proclaimed the Jesse Jameson books: 'Highly recommended ... very good reads.' It seems that the little people can become giants - almost overnight.
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