The Baker's Boy by J.V. Jones
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I read this after reading and fully enjoying Jones' later novel, The Barbed Coil. It was a good, but not outstanding book. Most of the characters were interesting, the political manueverings were many and the writing style easy to read.
The problems, for me, were in the two main characters, Jack (the baker's boy of the title) and Melli, the daughter of a Lord. They seemed a bit flat and one-dimensional: Jack was the lowly kitchen boy with an unknown and powerful talent he can't easily control, and Melli was the apparently spoiled daughter of a rich noble who discovers she is stronger and more resourceful than she ever thought. That said, they are not completely lost as characters. They have their own voices, and I did want to find out what happened to them. Far more interesting are the bad guys, though. Plots and counterplots, intrigue and cunning, greed and hunger for power are all driving forces for these fellows.
The plot never really seems to get going. It is pretty evident this is the first book in a series, as all the plotlines are left dangling at the end of the book. The end really didn't seem like the end of a book to me. It was more like a chapter break, really.
It is easy to read. The dialogue is well done with no stiff or too high handed feel to it. Action scenes are fast and there is a fair amount of tension. The book does tend to want to wander into the fringes of a romance style, but never goes there completely.
All in all, it was a decent read, and though I will read the last two in the trilogy, it did not leave me needing to grab them off the shelf right now.
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