Genre Science Fiction Publisher Crowswing Books Year Published 2004 Review Posted on 6/1/2005 Reviewer Rating
7 out of 10
Jesse Jameson & the Curse of Caldazar, by Sean Wright
Reviewed by S. Fazekas
If you've read this book, why not
Jesse Jameson and the Curse of Caldazar is the third
installment of Sean Wright's Jesse Jameson Alpha and Omega series.
Chock-full of action, vivid scenery and fantastic creatures, this is an
imaginative and intricate children's fantasy.
Jesse Jameson is a fairy child who obtains new magic powers to
complement her shape-shifting and soothsaying abilities. Along with her
powerful companions she must face danger and intrigue as she continues her
quest to free her grandfather. Her mission takes her to the incredible land
of Caldazar where she must enter the forbidden Inner Sanctum. There she
struggles to reactivate the Curse of Caldazar in order to defeat the new
Master of Darkness, the Vampire Lord Skaardrithadon.
Wright's imagination is profound and multi-faceted. It combines
elements of Tolkien, Scandinavian legend, vampire myth, fantasy humor and
the downright inexplicable in creating this world. Jesse and her friends
must overcome magic, skilled warriors, riddles and treachery in a twisting
tale that moves along smartly. Although this is the third novel in a
series, readers will slip into the milieu easily and be taken in with the
scenery and color. Wright drops the reader right into the middle of the
action and doesn't let up.
For those not familiar with the series, however, the profusion of
unfamiliar names fired machine-gun style may be a little overwhelming. The
plot twists and turns very quickly at times and occasionally rambles. Some
of the secondary characters, while well-known to those readers who have read
the previous books, will appear somewhat one-dimensional to the more casual
Yet Wright's style is quick and terse, and combined with the vast,
creative setting makes this book an interesting and entertaining read. Fans
of Harry Potter should enjoy this series as well.
Add a comment on Jesse Jameson & the Curse of Caldazar, by Sean Wright
Comments on Jesse Jameson & the Curse of Caldazar, by Sean Wright
Posted by James on 6/7/2005
Nice review. I agree with much of what this reviewer says. Wright's names are odd for his characters, but that doesn't spoil an inventive and imaginative series of kid's books. Book 4 - Vampire Vault - is real cliff-hanger. Wright's got an amazingly vivid way with words, like watching a graphic adventure film. It's not Tolkien, but it's settings are huge and panoramic.
Posted by Jim Jones on 6/7/2005
Are you off your head?? Jesse Jameson and the Curse of Caldazar is a 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, 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 (they're 'highly collectable' [sic] you know!!] 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 the 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. Indeed, the best that can be said for them is that they are not - *quite* - as bad as Wright's 'teenage-adult' crossover novels (or are they novellas?) The Twisted Root of Baarfindor and Dark Tales of Time and Space. Nothing's *that* bad!
Posted by Heidi Potter on 6/8/2005
Mr Wright is having a laugh, surely! This book is so badly written, so monumentally, toe-curlingly awful that in a masochistic sort of way it's a delight to read. I haven't laughed so much in ages. Please, please tell me you're not for real, Sean ......
Posted by Julie Newly on 6/8/2005
I've read all 4 books in the Jesse Jameson series and have been knocked out by Wright's slick prose. He is a wonderfully talented storyteller, and I'd highly recommend this series and his teenage-adult work - Dark Tales of Time and Space, and Twisted Root of Jaarfindor respectively. His imagination and style has been compared with PKD and Michael Moorcock, and it's easy to see why. Wright's imagination is awesome, his plots ingenious, and his main characters 3D masterpieces.
Posted by Larry Ketchup on 6/8/2005
Is Jim Jones off his head! Yes - especially reading his crazy arse review above. Anyone who has read the JJ series knows that Wright's girl-hero with a lad's name is sheer brilliance - a shining example of a truly memorable heroine. For God's sake, Jim, there are Klingons on the starboard bow, Jim. Self confessed nutter is our Jim Jones. Although psuedonym Jim (or is that John Self or David Wavid Briggs?) It's hard to tell which internet stalker will pop up next out that schizophrenic persona. But abck to the book -
Wright's work is highly entertaining and in the speculative sense a joy to read. Martin Amis couldn't kiss Wright's boots for prissy prose. Now that's true, Jim. Now that's true, Jim!
Posted by Larry Ketchup on 6/8/2005
Is Jim Jones off his head! Yes - especially reading his crazy arse review above. Anyone who has read the JJ series knows that Wright's girl-hero with a lad's name is sheer brilliance - a shining example of a truly memorable heroine. For God's sake, Jim, there are Klingons on the starboard bow, Jim. Self confessed nutter is our Jim Jones. Although psuedonym Jim (or is that John Self or David Wavid Briggs?) It's hard to tell which internet stalker will pop up next out that schizophrenic persona. But back to the book - Wright's work is highly entertaining and in the speculative sense a joy to read. Martin Amis couldn't kiss Wright's boots for prissy prose. Now that's true, Jim. Now that's true, Jim!
Posted by Larry Ketchup on 6/8/2005
Indeed, I'm sure Mr Wright is laughing all the way to bank. His books sell very well. In fact, by David and John's confession(or would they prefer to be known as Heidi and Jim?) - they have added to his personal wealth by buying the books. Why if they are so awful for them do they continue to buy them? Hmmm....could they be secret fans? Admirers from afar?
Posted by Jude McBride on 6/8/2005
I agree Larry. You don't have to read Sean's books to like them! I mean, none of the copies on eBay have been read! Who'd have thought an author would take pride in his books only being published in restricted numbers, and not being read even when they are bought!
Posted by Ketchup again on 6/9/2005
Back to David Brigg's earlier comment: "Having read all the 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." If the books rae so bad, why read them? What sick mind tortures itself in reading what it claims to dislike so intensely? To my mind, it sounds like an infantile attack of jealousy on "Jim's" part. Perhaps he should put his money where his mouth is and publish a book himself. Then we'd give the literary world the biggest laugh it's ever had? But then a guy who hides behind his persona of David Briggs, stalkers writers on the internet, really ought to be pitied or institutionalized. Either way, Briggo isn't all the ticket, or perhaps we should said half-ticket?
But back to JJ series - really it's very entertain as the reviewer claims. Highly recommended if you like Potter, Tolkien type kid's fantasy.
Posted by Aunt Gertrude on 6/9/2005
Judging from his review, Mr Jim Jones appears to have read the books quite thoroughly - at least as thoroughly as the official reviewer above - and I agree with Mr Jones' opinion. The Curse of Caldazar is paper-thin with characterisation and over-stuffed with hair's-breadth escapes and cliched witches and villains. This book seems to be sold to be a collector's item, rather than to be read.
Posted by Dave Steen on 6/9/2005
British Fantasy Society review (http://www.britishfantasysociety.org.uk/archive/reviews/jesse.htm)
Jesse Jameson is a fairy. No, I'm not name calling, it's true. This is book three in the series, aimed at children eight years old and up. I must admit to not having read the other two, but on this evidence I have no regrets.
Firstly then, this is not a standalone book, but one of a series. It soon shows, as the characters are minimally described, they refer to things that happened in the other books, and have items and powers from who knows where. There are far too many characters in the book for it's length, 150 pages or so, a two hour read. The descriptions are minimal, even for the locations new to the characters.
Writing for children is no easy thing. Thinking you can just put down anything and the kids won't notice is a mistake. For instance, the first page is repeated again later in the book, with a few words changed and moved around. One of the characters enters an aerial battle and some of the combatants fall to their knees! An egg containing two trapped witches appears in Jesse's bedroom from nowhere, just so she can be put in peril.
And what is it with magic powers? Jesse has the ability to change into a dragon, except when the plot says she can't. A powerful wizard who can create great tables groaning with food out of nothing can't fly over a forest but has to go through it, but still loses Jesse later on, despite the fact that the forest is where he trained as a young wizard. And my particular favourite, Jesse is captured by a witch and is about to be killed, when a giant appears and rescues her. The giant is said to be taller than the trees and each step he takes is like an earthquake! But no one saw or heard him approach?
These are just a few of the logical inconsistencies, there are many more for those who can be bothered to look.
To sum up then, a dull plot is further degraded by flaws in the logic and far too many deus-ex-machina. The writing is clumsy, the characters one-dimensional and pacing none existent. The cover proclaims it as a modern classic. For modern read dumbed down, for classic read unoriginal.
Whilst researching the other books in the series I came across a few references to and comparisons with J.K Rowling's Harry Potter. I laughed out loud. If HP is a meal in a three star restaurant, this book is second rate fast food.
And don't get me started on the cover!
Posted by Hilary Williamson on 6/9/2005
This third episode in the Alpha to Omega series follows Jesse Jameson and the Golden Glow and Jesse Jameson and the Bogie Beast. Young Jesse saved her mother Cathal in the first book and was reunited with her best friend Jake in the second. Along the way she learned that she is actually a changeling from the Fairy Kingdoms, and made new friends there - the Dragon Hunter, Perigord (who is also her grandfather) and Iggywig.
As this episode opens, Perigord is under a dark enchantment (he's covered in 'centi-spiders', yecch!) and Jesse sets out to save him with a little help from her friends, and also from Zarlan-Jagr, a white wizard who belongs to the 'Union of Thirteen', of which Perigord is also a member. Black witch Zundrith, while 'welded to a river bank', still manages nasty spells and evil interventions via countless demonic minions. Her wicked sisters, Dendrith and Gwendrith, seek their freedom from the glass egg that imprisons their miniaturized selves. And there are rumors of a new 'Master of Darkness', orders of magnitude worse than Jesse's dad.
Jesse travels into the Kingdom of Caldazar, accompanied by Jake, the Dragon Hunter, Iggywig, and Zarlan-Jagr - often a contentious bunch. They play life and death games with the Skogsra Forest and Jesse has a near death experience. She wins a new, and powerful, magic talisman, 'the Seeing Stone', and develops her own powers, gaining a 'Magiceye' and healing skills. Her fellowship copes with 'Blood sucking Shadow Eaters'. They're helped by expert tracker Kumo Diaz and by ten feet tall Jasmire. They face a riot in the 'Monster Rock Café' and are involved in an inter-species war. They must re-activate the 'Curse of Caldazar'.
As always, I love the black and white sketches of magical and monstrous creatures scattered through the book. Jesse Jameson and the Curse of Caldazar is packed with hyperactive action and horrific monsters, ending with a cliffhanger leap into darkness and danger, that sets the scene for the 'greatest battle the Fairy Kingdoms had ever seen' - in the next volume.