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The Baker's Boy the Baker's Boy (The Book of Words #1)

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  6,685 Ratings  ·  143 Reviews
The first novel in a brilliantly crafted trilogy. As the King of the Four Kingdoms lays dying, traitorous conspirators prepare a political marriage to ensure their control of the crown. But the young Melliandra refuses to betroth a sinister Prince and flees the castle in the company of a miracle-working kitchen apprentice.
ebook, 500 pages
Published December 15th 2000 by Aspect (first published June 1995)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Mar 30, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: osga
What we have here is an orphan boy raised as a servant for the noble folk of Midkemia err, the Six Duchies no, that's not it. Oh yes, the Four Kingdoms. Well, Pug soon finds out. Wait, no. Fitz soon learns that he's a...Dammit. Sorry. Ahem. Jack soon learns that he has an incredible power and he may be destined for shit that isn't baking bread.

Then we have Melli, the pampered noble princess that wants to be more. That is, she wants to have her very own personality. She doesn't want to marry the
Mar 11, 2016 rated it really liked it

An exciting epic fantasy!

This trilogy is a complex series of plot lines that all intertwine with each other forming a beautiful story. Each chapter bounces from one character to another as we learn more and more about them and the world they live in. The characters quickly become real and just as quickly I learned to either love them or hate them. Jack, the baker's boy, became my favorite character and I am very much enjoying how he is developing.

The writing is fantastic. Though this first bo

Aug 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
A dark world where several kingdoms and dukedoms fight a war with a lot of people in high places making every effort to prevent its end. A prophesy about coming of dark times and a person destined to end the darkness. A knight on a quest. A runaway bride: her marriage was arranged for political gains. The nobility backstabbing and double-crossing each other even across the borders. The church which has nothing to do with religion anymore, fighting deadly games for monetary gains. All of these an ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
I noted a lot of people were "less than fond of this series" I like it. Somewhat thought provoking considering it isn't really unusual fantasy fare. Good story, likable hero, other characters who are less so... try it yourself.

Jack a "lowly baker's boy" finds himself in the center of plots, danger and intrigue. You'll see some characters who look a bit familiar here (I really don't care for the word "trope")I think as you follow Jack and Melliandra aka Melli (a strong willed rebellious young wom
Some areas of her writing were good; others were not so good.

Looks like plenty of other people have covered the basics.

Hmmm, looking over the highlights, this is how I feel about the story:

SHORT WORD FEELING: Gritty, excellent characterization, lacking in concept and structure at times

CONCEPT: Two fates collide at the castle of the King, a noble girl and a baker's boy. Both desire to escape from their particular lives and do so amidst all the political intrigue. (Nothing really big actually ha
Feb 24, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, read-in-2012

I went into this knowing that it was the first book in a trilogy, and that it would be mostly setup for the other two books in the series. I went into this knowing that it was very standard, crunchy granola fantasy. A coming of age story with a pretty girl met by chance on the road, stereotypical villains, a coming of age type quest, stuff like that. But... Come on. Nothing happened in this book! And when I say nothing, I mean nothing. Nothing was resolved
Nov 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book blindly, but was pleasantly surprised. I finished the entire trilogy in less than a month. It is a dark fantasy about with a large cast of token characters, including the fleeing princess, the boy who is unaware of his true power, the corrupt religious leader,the disgraced paladin, the annoying juvenile pickpocket, the evil throne-usurping sorcerer and many more. Each of whom are well meshed out and uniquely flavored by Jone's pen.
Jun 20, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Unexpectedly good.

A review I read previously on another one of J.V. Jones' works mentioned it was boring and flat, so it was more an accident than anything that I ended up picking this book on my last trip to the library. And I'm glad, because this was rather a pleasant surprise.

Rather than flat, I found the characters quite interesting, with their own personalities, character traits and issues to deal with. Jones is obviously better at developing her villains; I found Baralis and Maybor (his be
Kevin Xu
Apr 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An easy, fun, and enjoyable ride. A highly recommendable read.
Apr 02, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I gave up 200 pages in because I didn't like anyone, it was way too rapey, and the writing wasn't necessarily bad, but it was so awkward?! I just wanted to rewrite about 2/3 of the text. So. Not for me.
Madeleine (papertigermaddy)
So. This is an interesting one to judge.

The story overall is a lot of fun; I'm not going to deny it. I loved Maybor and Baralis' scheming, and Tawl was a fascinating character. But this book is so clogged up with unnecessary and repeated exposition that I wanted to bash my head against a brick wall. Rescued from the slush pile? Well believe me, it shows.

Large portions of the book are given over to characters repeating the goings on to each other - goings on which the reader already knows, becaus
Aug 11, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I will not be reading the rest of this series. At all. It took me forever to get into the story - if I did at all - and took me forever to finish it. There's not even much of a story. The boy, Jack, accidentally burns bread and then accidentally uses the magic that he accidentally learned when he accidentally learned to read from scribing for Baralis to fix the burned bread. When the loaves are perfectly golden brown, Jack kind of knows what he has done and decides to run for it. Because that ma ...more
Jan 04, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2012
I can't for the life of me figure out what I liked about this when I first read it a long time ago. It's stuffed full of Snidely Whiplash villains twirling their mustaches at each other and couple of particularly inept Dudley Do-Rights. Combine that with a perplexing fascination for offal, a dogged commitment to promote the abuse of women and a puerile fascination with female sexuality and you have whatever the hell this was. I can remember eagerly awaiting the next book in the series and I have ...more
Dec 08, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
So... this book was very difficult for me to enjoy. I had very high expectations because I loved the author from "A Cavern of Black Ice." Unfortunately I did not see any of the wonderful worldbuilding, complex characters, or interesting plot that I found before. Instead this book is full of very flat, one dimensional characters. the good ones are attractive and very good. Bad ones are ugly, sometimes with disabilities, and excessively evil. And speaking of excessive evil, be warned because there ...more
S Pearlyan
I wanted to really like this book. There was a potential to it. There was a promise in lines that somewhere it will get better. Sadly it did not. Not saying it's a bad read. But it's not a great read either. Maybe because I was reading Robin Hobb before this, My expectations were high. Somehow I didn't connect with the characters. Something was missing from it. I wasn't able to invest in it that is, in my opinion, biggest flaw with this book.
I would read the next one, But not expecting anything
Apr 04, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
first of servicable fantasy trilogy. Jones set up some potentially very interesting character development, only to back away from it and hide in cliches. A detriment to the suspense of the plot was that as much page-time was given to the evil characters as the good--not so bad in itself, but they were staggeringly reptitive scenes used only for exposition. That exposition could have been bypassed to create more suspense.
Christopher Grissom
This is a great book. J.V. Jones is a for the most part a unheard, and underrated author. I found her to be a hidden gem. I would never have known she existed if I hadn't read a blurb by Robert Jordan saying how good she was. I was not disappointed. The Baker's Boy is a goodread.
Lisa M
Oct 03, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Yesterday I finished The Baker's Boy by J.V. Jones.

It was not a good book.

I would not go so far as to say it was a horrible book (a description I reserve for 1-star ratings and the majority of fanfiction), but it is a bad book.  It suffers from a number of major problems, ranging from technical writing issues to poor story decisions, any one of which could perhaps be forgiven on its own if the rest of the book was strong enough to support it, but it isn't.  It does not surprise me that this is t
Whimsies & Words
I must preface the account of the book’s plot and characters given below with a quick apology, I had no idea how difficult it would be to describe what’s going on in The Baker’s Boy! The story is written in no fewer than 16 voices (though 6 dominate), and rather than an installment in a series the books, it’s more like the first chapter of a bigger book. So please bear with me, and hopefully I’ll get better at this…

At about 2am this morning I finally laid The Baker’s Boy to rest. As the first of
May 05, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was expecting fantasy and intrigue on the level of Robin Hobb and Lynn Flewelling but all I got was a lot of sexual assault for 'shock' and flat characters. I don't think I'll be continuing on with this series.
Chris Fox
Jul 30, 2017 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Jacks understanding of what he had done in the kitchen and his decision to leave the castle felt rushed.

- Tawl started out a little weak as a character but once more of his backstory was revealed he became much more interesting, although his character Arc is filled with deus ex machina first megan the frankly ridiculously helpful passerby, and then the a fortune teller pointing him in the right direction.

Baralis as a antagonist is a little confusing he seems like he's m
Benjamin Thomas
May 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-epic
It would be tempting to dismiss this one as formula fantasy. Just the title itself alludes to the notion that this is going to be one of those "assistant pig keeper" types. You know, the type of fantasy novel that we've all read where an unknown orphan boy turns out to be the world's greatest sorcerer or heir to the kingdom...or both. And I will admit that this first novel by J.V. Jones has some of those tendencies. There is a young orphaned lad who works in the bakery and there is definitely so ...more
Jul 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having read J.V Jones' watcher of the dead series and found it a bit hit and miss I was wary of starting another of her works. I am glad to say that this book was all hit - definitely better than her later work.

The characters were all great, believable and more than anything interesting. They had all clearly defined personalities, and everything that happened seemed natural. Not forced, or coerced. As a result the story flowed really well and it was easy to get lost in the fictional world provid
Oct 31, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Maybe Robin Hobb has spoiled some tales for me. She's done them so well that when others try, all I can do is compare the writing, the characters, the world, the plot, and find them all wanting because they are never as well done as they are in her books. I found this a bit...empty of feeling. A bit...predictable. Baralis is a horrid creature, as you see soon into this book. Jack is clumsy and thoughtless, and there were times I wished someone would shake some sense into him, but soon realized n ...more
Roger Caramanica
Jul 28, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Many have done this story and frankly they almost all have done it better. I found myself skimming pages as a good hundred or more were pointless. Literally the characters move forward only to move backwards, move forward again, only to go back to the starting gate again. The tone was also really depressing. I am all for grit and reality but I couldn't help but feel "is this world even worth saving", which if that were the authors point would be one thing, but I don't believe it was the intent.

Clayton Phillips
i really was not a fan of this book. i wasn't invested in anyone's story, it took longer to read than i was in the mood for, and then it just ended with almost no resolution or even hint that the last page wasn't to be followed by yet another chapter. i'm aware this is the first in a trilogy, but don't just end your book where it seems like you ran out of paper.

granted, i liked much of the way things were written, i just wasn't invested or even particularly interested in the story, especially by
David Cowley
Feb 28, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
I couldn't finish this book, it was the first time that a Goodreads recommendation has led me astray. The book changed point of view too often without ever generating any real flow in any of the narrative.

I kept with the book longer than I probably should have in the hopes that once the back story and world were setup that maybe it would start to flow and focus in on one of the character's journeys instead. If the book does, it's more than 150 pages in and I couldn't suffer through it any longer
Aug 29, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is extremely standard fantasy in several of the less appealing ways. Most characters are unlikable and more sketches of tropes than fully realized, and the bouncing around between story lines is fairly clumsy for the majority of the novel. Rape & sexual assault/harassment are far too commonly used. I'm very annoyed, a also, that absolutely nothing is resolved by the end of this book. I'm just invested enough in one or two characters to want to know how their story turns out, but working ...more
Jul 03, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
not very well written. 1st book?

ok, so this is a funny book, I would almost swear it was written by two different authors. the first three quarters were written by someone young and inexperienced, the use of language is poor, the characters are cartoons and the plot is hackneyed. This improves over the last quarter. the second book in the series is far better from the start.

I am guessing that Jones had the manuscript for this sitting in a drawer for a long time before reworking the end and send
Camille Siddartha
Read this. It will make you feel a sense of dread, happiness, hope, joy, lust, fear and loathing. Well written and she writes with distinction. She is right on so many levels how the people at the top care nothing for the ones that slave for them, instead, they only care for themselves. It is sci fi and I can only tell you that the truth is written in it and if you can catch onto it, you will the what world leaders do now...
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Julie Victoria Jones was born in Liverpool, England. She has been writing for seven years, and is currently working on her sixth novel, which will be titled A Fortress of Grey Ice. She lives in San Diego, California.

All three books in The Book Of Words Trilogy are #1 national bestsellers, and have been bought for publication in England, Poland, Russia, Germany, France and Holland. Her fifth book,
More about J.V. Jones...

Other Books in the Series

The Book of Words (3 books)
  • A Man Betrayed (Book of Words, #2)
  • Master and Fool (Book of Words, #3)

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