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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A exellent book-One of my favotites
Julie Jones is a wonderful author. In the Baker's Boy, she has woven a web of great mystery and intrigue. She focuses not just on the plot lines themselves, but on character content and on making the characters "grow" emotionally. Jack, for instance, is widly afraid of his powers at the beginning of the novel. By the end, however, he seems to have at least come...
Published on 29 Oct 1997

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It was good, but....
Ok, I liked this book. The characters are well defined, but did anyone else notice that this book was extremely similar to The Dragonbone Chair and its sequels? In both books there is the servant boy who runs away and meets a beautiful noble girl...and so on. All in all though, well worth reading.
Published on 5 Aug 2001


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A exellent book-One of my favotites, 29 Oct 1997
By A Customer
Julie Jones is a wonderful author. In the Baker's Boy, she has woven a web of great mystery and intrigue. She focuses not just on the plot lines themselves, but on character content and on making the characters "grow" emotionally. Jack, for instance, is widly afraid of his powers at the beginning of the novel. By the end, however, he seems to have at least come to terms with them and has accepted them. This book is one of my favorites, and the Book of Words is my favorite series. This is a wonderful book that no fantasy lover should miss!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating fantasy, 11 Dec 2000
After having stumbled across "The Barbed Coil" the library I was hooked on J.V. Jones and ran off to get every book I could find by her. "The Baker's Boy" is the first book in a trillogy, and it just gets you going from the very first page. The characters are so real you feel like you know them. The bad guys are really bad and they've always got some obstacle for the good guys. 552 pages, and not one of them boring.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great version of the kitchen boy plot., 19 Aug 2001
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This is the first volume in The Book of Words trilogy (followed by A Man Betrayed, and Master and Fool).
At Castle Harvell, Jack, a thirteen-year-old orphan, is the baker's boy. Since he doesn't know how to read, the mischevious king's chancellor and sorcerer Baralis employs him as a blind scribe to copy the precious books of Tavalisk the Archbishop of Rorn's library. After five years of hard work and little sleep, Jack has secretly learnt how to decipher the signs and dreams of adventures where he'll find out the truth about his origins.
In the meantime, Bevlin the wiseman enrolls Tawl, one of the famous Knights of Valdis, to go on a quest to find the young boy whom the Prophecy in Marod's Book of Words speaks of. Four years later, he'll find himself locked, bound and starved in a dark and damp cell, prisoner of the repugnant Tavalisk.
Simultaneously, Lord Maybor, the richest but also most ambitious lord of the Four Kingdoms, and Baralis have made arrangements to have the king wounded in a hunting party. As a result, a soon stalemated war with the neighbouring lands will assuredly keep the queen's mind occupied and let them scheme quietly to steady their positions. And as one of his moves, Lord Maybor wants his daughter Melliandra to be bethroted to the queen's son and heir, Prince Kylock. Finding out about what has been arranged without her consent, Melliandra runs away.
At the same time one afternoon, after oversleeping and letting some precious loaves of bread burn, out of sheer panic and still unaware of his powers, Jack performs a miracle and goes back in time. When he hears that Baralis, who can feel when sorcery has been performed, is coming to get him, he has to flee from the castle.
Although it is easy to guess that Jack, as well as Tawl, will have a great role to play in the story, this first volume focuses mainly on the numerous and intricate intrigues of the mighty. The book is well written, the pace fast and humourous when the tension needs relaxing, and there's plenty of wooing as well as a great deal of food to go round. I enjoyed it thoroughly!
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70 of 80 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite up to expectations., 27 Oct 2002
I must say, that although this book was not quite meeting my expectations which I had before I read it, this was still quite an excellent book. Just simply put, I've read better. There was nothing wrong with this book, other than that the writing quality was not the greatest I've ever seen.
When I bought this book, I was expecting it to be much like J.V. Jones' Sword of Shadows series. I was hooked into those in the first chapter. The writing was amazing in A Cavern of Black Ice and A Fortress of Grey Ice, and they are some of my favorite books now. Well, those were written several years after The Baker's Boy, so I could guess that the writing wouldn't be as good.
Other than the quality of the writing, this is one excellent book. The characters are, like in other J.V. Jones books, very intricate and well created; they mature well throughout the book at appropriate times and places. There aren't any unreal changes to characters, and all changes only occur after some sort of key event.
The setting wasn't quite what I had expected. It's not quite as powerful an element as in Sword of Shadows, where the freezing northern wastelands play a constant part, which I had certainly hoped to see. To me, the setting is one of the most important parts of a story. I love to have a clear image of what all of the surroundings look like, how it feels, smells, and also how different weather effects the setting. One extreme example of this is the forest in which much of the book takes place; J.V. Jones didn't even describe what types of trees there were, leaving much of the setting to the imagination. In The Baker's Boy, I didn't get that clear image which I love to see, which certainly took away from the overall quality of the book.
The plot, however, was excellent and well planned out. There were plenty of shocking plot twists caused by constantly planning lords who are all attempting to gain power in the abscence of a king, who had been poisoned by an arrow in a hunting "accident." Two extremely powerful lords, Baralis (King's Chancelor), and Maybor (an extremely wealthy lord), both have plans to gain power, and both center around who Prince Kylock (the poisoned king's son) is to marry. These plans are all nearly destroyed as the baker's boy Jack realises a great power which he holds, and runs from the castle with the daughter of Lord Maybor, persued constantly by Baralis' men. The plot was intricate and extremely well planned out, so it's certainly one of the strongest points of the book.
This is certainly a good book. The writing is just about made up for by the characters and plot. I would recommend this to anyone who would like to read a good book, and the occasional plot twist, of course.
*Pleeeaaassse give me feedback!!!! Helpful or not?*
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book mesmerised me right from the beginning., 6 Jan 1999
By A Customer
This was one book I never became bored with. The characters were fascinating and the story line was so smoothly written. Plot after plot between Maybor and Baralis was contained with anticipation to see who would kill whom first. I can't wait to read the rest of Jones' books. I love the style of her writing from page one of this book and I'm pleased that I have finally found another author who writes in a way that sends you into your own world.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Imaginetive, This book pulls you into the hero's world, 22 April 1997
By A Customer
The emotions of the heros' and the plotting of the villans makes this book one of the most spell-binding book since "The Lord of the Rings".
Full of action, regret, love, and hate,
J.V.Jones is soon to be (if not already) one of the best writers of fantasy today.
If you haven't read it yet, pick it up today and
do so!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never a dull moment, 19 Aug 2010
The Baker's Boy will never win any awards for originality, but neither will any other fantasy novel -- they're basically all Tess of the D'Urbervilles with more magic, and fewer sweating peasant girls. The parallels with The Belgariad, Assassin's Apprentice, The Dragonbone Chair, etc. are obvious, but unimportant.

What this book does have is plot, pace and humour. It's never boring and often amusing. The humour is genuine, and integrated into the narrative; not a bolt-on extra like the sardonic interchanges between characters slipped into the interstices of the plot as favoured by Eddings.

This, Ms. Jones achieves by some nice writing. Firstly, she hasn't gone for the "show, never tell" business -- when "tell" works better, she's happy to tell. Then there's the clever use of the castle guards, Bodger and Grift -- their ribald conversations are amusing, and necessary-but-boring parts of the story are quickly covered by an after-the-fact discussion between these two characters.

Tricks like introducing any section involving Tavalisk with a description of the meal he's just finished eating, and filling in Tawl's back-story bit-by-bit as the book progresses also add humour, tie the novel together, and add depth without becoming dull.

Although I'm no expert on the technicalities of writing, this book manages to feel extremely competently constructed, giving confidence that it's not going to disappoint later on. All the way through, I felt like Ms Jones knew where she was going. This is something that Robert Jordan, for example, never managed to achieve.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Refreshingly gritty with plenty of delicious intrigue, 25 Aug 1999
By A Customer
After reading JV Jone's stand-alone fantasy, The Barbed Coil, I was impressed with the refreshingly gritty style and distinctive, well drawn charactetrs. Jones steers clear of the typical 'epic', with buckets of disposable characters, to concentrate on developing depth to her limited cast. The Baker's Boy weaves an entertaining tale of intrigue and court politics, epecially through the unscrupless sorcerer, Baralis, and his rival, Lord Maybor. I look forward to following these and the other characters in the subsequent books.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good start to an imporving trilogy, 27 Jun 2002
In this, the first of Jones' Book of Words trilogy, the strengths and weakness of her series are well established. The principle weakness is that it is really too reminiscent in both style and plot to Tad William's Dragon Bone chair series. The greatest strength is that Jones does the whole thing rather better. Where William's novels had something of a habit of dragging on and on, Jones keeps the writing much tighter and leavens the mix with a much lighter touch. She has a nice wry wit and her characters are thoroughly engaging. The villains and the heroes are depicted in terms that gives them a clarity and complexity well above that seen in most fantasy fiction. She writes a very good fight and has developed an intriguing world.
The second and third books of the series are better than the first, as her command and sureness of touch increase. She one of the best authors to emerge in the genre in the last ten years and I look forward to reading many more works by her.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book mesmerised me right from the beginning., 6 Jan 1999
By A Customer
This was one book I never became bored with. The characters were fascinating and the story line was so smoothly written. Plot after plot between Maybor and Baralis was contained with anticipation to see who would kill whom first. I can't wait to read the rest of Jones' books. I love the style of her writing from page one of this book and I'm pleased that I have finally found another author who writes in a way that sends you into your own world.
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