Hannah's Reviews > The Baker's Boy

The Baker's Boy by J.V. Jones
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's review
Jun 20, 2009

liked it
bookshelves: 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 being a villain is debatable, but he's heavily into those political circles) extremely engaging. Baralis, in particularly, really jumped off the page - he's evil, but he's so clever and his plots work so well that you can't help but admire him somewhat. Kylock, from the few descriptions we've been given thus far, is creepy, and I look forward to his character being fleshed out more in the next installment.

The development of the "good" guys was slightly weaker, but essentially effective. We're sympathetic to Jack and Melli's plight, and we're kept interested in what's going to happen to them next. The weakness lies in the lack of time given to them; Jack is supposedly the main character, pulled by destiny, but more time is given to Baralis and Maybor than both Jack and Melli put together. The novel starts with Baralis and ends with Baralis.

The plot is typical fantasy fare, but the political intrigue is entertaining. The world building is not as strong as it could be - I still don't have a very clear picture of how the whole thing ties together; different parts of this world is mentioned constantly, but how they lie in relation to one another isn't really dwelt upon. But the main Castle Harvell is very vividly painted; I can almost see the hidden stone passages and rooms in my mind.

All in all, The Baker's Boy is worth a read if you're a fantasy fan, looking for relatively light fantasy that isn't intent on constantly inflicting pain on the main characters. The editing problems in the book in parts can easily be ignored in favour of the engaging plot.
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