Jones, J. V.
About the Author:
J. V. Jones was born in 1963 in Liverpool, England. Twenty years later she entered the music industry before eventually moving to San Diego, USA, where she ran an export business.
AVERAGE REVIEW SCORE:
3 out of 5
The Baker's Boy
The first book of the Book of Words trilogy. Jones is a very talented writer and, on a technical level, there is nothing wrong with this book. The language is mature and subtle, allowing the author to create vivid images and recreate realistic emotions. Despite the skill with which this book was written, however, it completely failed to grab my attention.
I found it very hard to plow on and read more of this book and for quite some time I wondered why. Eventually, I realised that it's simply that the story told here isn't that interesting or original. Basically it centres around three things, the first of which is the machiavellian scheming of the sorcerer Lord Baralis and the militant Lord Maybor. Court intrigues and political manoeuvring are nothing new to fantasy and these two characters are similarly old news. Baralis in particular is almost a cliche as he uses magic powers and potions to poison a king and take control of a prince.
The second main story thread is that of Tawl, a knight tasked with finding a mysterious boy mentioned in a prophecy. Tawl's adventures are good for getting a wider perspective of the politics and geography of Jones' fantasy world, but that's about all. Finally, there is the story of Jack and Melli, who run away from Castle Harvell pursued by Baralis' vicious mercenaries. Jack is the usual everyman character, born a peasant and raised in less-than-desirable circumstances, who has some grand destiny ahead. Melli is the daughter of Lord Maybor and is on the brink of being forced to marry the cruel Prince Kylock. I had hoped that their flight would lead to some exciting adventures, but it basically involves them running, getting caught, escaping, running, getting caught, escaping, running etc.
This all takes place within a singularly unremarkable setting. I was also bothered by the lack of fantasy in this fantasy. Sometimes magic and dragons aren't essential if there's a good story without them, but Jones' story just lacks the intrigue and excitement necessary to pull that off.
So, a well written book but which won't spark your imagination to any great extent.
Followed by 'A Man Betrayed'.
3 out of 5