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The Golden Telescope

By

Not for me ūüėĒ

A fun fantasy adventure that doesn't quite live up to its intriguing premise.

Synopsis

12-year old Jack Mac Paidin's life is miserable. His parents are dead, and he's stuck with his heartless aunt and uncle, who make him live in the cold, dank basement.

His life takes a crazy turn when he touches a golden telescope that reveals he has magical powers. Jack learns that he comes from a family of magic workers who want to use his powers for their nefarious purposes.

A mysterious visitor rescues him using a magic hat, but all is not perfect. There is a Dark Cabal, and Jack learns they killed his parents & separated him from his brother and sister. Confronting them will bring him into contact with forces more terrifying than he ever imagined.

Jack learns that he is the only one who can help his Grandma Lydia trapped in the past and solve the mystery of his parent's death.

Full of relatable characters, wildly imaginative situations & countless exciting details, this first book in the Jack and the Magic Hat Maker series portrays an unforgettable story and sets the stage for many incredible adventures to come.

The Golden Telescope certainly has an interesting premise - complete with secret societies, delightfully evil villains, a fun and whimsical magic system that I would've been interested to learn more about, and the setup for an exciting time-travel plot - but in more ways than one, it unfortunately fails to live up to it.


First and foremost, this is only half a book. What I mean by that is that almost the entire book is setup for a climax that we never see, and that by the look of things we'll have to wait at least another full book for. I toiled through the 180 pages (more on that later) hoping to discover the secret of the titular Golden Compass, or go on a quest to rescue "Grandma Lydia trapped in the past", or even just have a climactic battle with the twin villain sisters Inez and Clara - who were, by the way, one of the high points of the novel - but no. It ended not only without any of these things coming to pass, but in fact, with a complete anticlimax. Given how short the novel was, it may have been wiser for the author to complete the second book and publish them as a single volume.


And further on the topic of advice for the author, I would have recommended at least one more editing pass over this book before publication. As I mentioned before, I struggled to get through the book - and while I admittedly am not the target audience, I don't think 10-12 year olds would have an easier time of it. The writing was often clunky, mainly thanks to the overuse of overly long, complicated words when simpler ones would likely work better - for instance, consider phrases such as "withdrawing the spectacles momentarily" and "Jack's stomach grumbled loudly at the mention of sustenance...the expenditure of nervous energy left him ravenous". On top of that, there were a handful of simple grammar errors (such as "discrete" where I'm fairly sure it meant "discreet") which obscured meaning, and the dialogue was absolutely riddled with punctuation errors! If I have to read:


"No." He said

When it should be:

"No," he said

One more time, I will throw the book. Despite all this, though, the series definitely shows promise, and I look forward to future works by the author as she improves her craft - and her editing!

Reviewed by

I am a blogger, writer, and avid reader with a particular love for fantasy and science fiction and an all-encompassing obsession with dragons! I'm currently working on publishing a middle-grade fantasy novel. I read far too quickly, so FEED ME MORE BOOKS! :-)

Synopsis

12-year old Jack Mac Paidin's life is miserable. His parents are dead, and he's stuck with his heartless aunt and uncle, who make him live in the cold, dank basement.

His life takes a crazy turn when he touches a golden telescope that reveals he has magical powers. Jack learns that he comes from a family of magic workers who want to use his powers for their nefarious purposes.

A mysterious visitor rescues him using a magic hat, but all is not perfect. There is a Dark Cabal, and Jack learns they killed his parents & separated him from his brother and sister. Confronting them will bring him into contact with forces more terrifying than he ever imagined.

Jack learns that he is the only one who can help his Grandma Lydia trapped in the past and solve the mystery of his parent's death.

Full of relatable characters, wildly imaginative situations & countless exciting details, this first book in the Jack and the Magic Hat Maker series portrays an unforgettable story and sets the stage for many incredible adventures to come.

PROLOGUE

PORTLAND, OREGON - NINE YEARS AGO

      The butler materialized into the nursery on a hot and muggy summer night.

      Standing invisible and undetected in the far corner of the room, he discovered three young children, sleeping soundly, each one in their own little bed. He had to complete this mission with speed and stealth. None of the home's five inhabitants could know of his presence.

      He reached across his chest and into his jacket, retrieving a manila packet, from which he withdrew a small pair of black-handled barber's sheers and three white envelopes. Each had a name on the front, written in his master's elegant script; Ethan, Jack, and Sadie. A soft breeze made the wispy curtains at the window billow gently as he tiptoed to the bed closest to him.

      Bending over the toddler he gingerly snipped one, single, sandy-colored lock from her cherubic head and placed it into the envelope marked Sadie. Lifting the parcel to his lips he involuntarily winced at the mildly offensive taste of peppermint-flavored glue, before sealing it closed and returning it to his pocket.

      He walked carefully past the foot of Sadie's bed and on to the second one.

      This first boy was sprawled out across his mattress, covers thrown aside, half of them lying in a pile on the floor. He wore pale blue pajamas with bright red cars and yellow numbers printed all over them.

      Stepping cautiously over the blanket, the man moved to the head of the bed and was just leaning in, scissors in hand, when the child began to stir.

      The butler jumped back, losing his balance on the discarded sheets, nearly knocking the lamp from the bedside table as his arms helicoptered to right himself. He watched with baited breath as Jack rolled over, fitfully clutching after the fluffy white teddy bear sitting next to his head. With a carefully drawn out sigh, the man waited a moment, until the boy was settled, before approaching once again.

      Bending cautiously over the lad, he delicately clipped a fringe of chocolate-brown hair from the nape of Jack's neck, placing it into its envelope, then sealed it closed and added it to his pocket along-side Sadie's.

      He then made his way to the last, slightly larger bed, located directly beneath the open window. The boy, lying there, was the oldest of the three children. The butler found him face-down with his arms wrapped tightly around his pillow. The pitch-black curls on top of his head were loose and abundant but cropped short around his ears.

      The man held his breath as he reached out and anxiously grasped a stray section, deftly cutting it from the boy's head. Returning to an upright position, he exhaled a silent sigh of relief, then moved stealthily to the other side of the room, before placing the last lock of hair into the final envelope marked Ethan.

      Tucking the packet neatly inside his suit coat, he looked around one last time, a smile curving his lips as he reached up, located the small button situated under the brim of his hat, and firmly pressed it. Instantly the man vanished from the room.

About the author

As the daughter of an aeronautical engineer and a church organist, I was raised with a deep appreciation for logic and spirituality, while simultaneously embracing a love for the magical and supernatural. These themes inevitably formed the background for my writing and story-telling career. view profile

Published on December 22, 2019

Published by

60000 words

Worked with a Reedsy professional ūüŹÜ

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

Reviewed by

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