29 internautes sur 35 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
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 amid all the political intrigue. (Nothing really big actually happens in this story. Lots of intrigue and great characters but no spectacular spine to the story).
MARKETING APPEAL: This story was a best seller or so the cover said; I'm not sure for how long but it was well loved on Amazon, too. Very strong and gritty characters; the plot needed work; I think that, based on the story, this novel became more popular through marketing and word of mouth than just straight out concept (since it wasn't terribly interesting compared to many other fantasy novels).
SCORING: Superb (A), Excellent (A-), Very good (B+), Good (B) Fairly Good (B-) Above Average (C+), Mediocre (C ), Barely Passable (C-) Pretty Bad (D+), Dismal (D), Waste of Time (D-), Into the Trash (F)
DIALOGUE: A- STRUCTURE: C+ HISTORY SETTING: B CHARACTERS: B EVIL SETUP/ANTAGONISTS: B EMOTIONAL IMPACT: B- SURPRISES: C LITTLE THINGS: B+ MONSTERS: not applicable PACING: C+ OVERALL STYLE: C+ FLOW OF WORDS: C+ CHOICE OF FOCUS: C+ TRANSITIONS/FLASHBACKS/POV: B COMPLEXITY OF WORDS/SYMBOLISM/THEMES: C+
OVERALL GRADE: B-
HISTORY SETTING: Overall, this was good. The map sucked but that isn't the author's fault. During the novel, we learned about the Four Kingdoms, the adjoining cities and the seaport cities. And, we also learned about the knighthood, which seemed very commerce oriented. A pretty good job was done on the understanding the political structure of the king's court, as well as how the commoners acted towards the lords. The whole tumbling thing with bedmaids, who used the sex to rise in station made logical sense. A good job was done on explaining the seers of Larne, the prophecy of the coming boy of power, the swamplands to the south, the mannerisms of how people acted in the lands, the politics of Rorne and the adjoining Duke with his power interests.
DIALOGUE: Pretty good, actually. I could tell just by reading the dialogue that several of the characters had very distinctive voices. Just about everyone had different sentence structure and used different phrases to describe things. I really liked how she used her dialogue in also setting out the personalities of various characters.
PACING: I would say the story flowed pretty well the first 150 pages. Four confusing parts: (1) when years passed, it made no mention of it except in a sentence later in the chapter. Might have been good to have a date in the title or mentioned it in the beginning; (2) usage of he did this and he did that was a bit much. The author should have looked for a way to use different phrases but apparently she got lazy at times. Anyway, it slowed the story down because it happened so much that I began to get irritated; and (3) the author revealed way too much of what the characters were thinkings and then showed their thoughts. In other words, everything was spoon fed to us. This got irritating at times; and (4) the author went over things she had already explained a few times; it was really getting tiresome and readers should remember it. Characters would go over plans that they had hatched for the second time. Jumping around from character to characters was generally pretty good. A few times it was a bit too quick but other than that, it was fine. Actually, it helped hide the convoluted structure to the story in the last third of the book. In the last third, when there should have been a gradual climatic rise, the story was teetering out. Too much time spent on little details when things should have been moving forward. This may have been why some people at customer reviews claimed that nothing happened at the end.
SURPRISES: Not that good. Part of the problem was that the author revealed so much of what everyone was thinking that there was little room for suspense or mystery.
It's weird because a lot of these characters were quite interesting. The most entertaining were the villains and the mean ones. The main characters, Melli and Jack, really didn't stand out too much. I think part of the reason for it was that they didn't have any ADMIRABLE qualities you look for in such heroes. None of them were especially brave or clever. For most of the story, they were passive and running away from the villains. They would get caught, run away and then get caught again. In fact, Jack only got active when he broke out his cell really and Melli was always sort of helpless, which is fine. So, this is something new that I just learned. Make the characters striking and give them something powerful in personality. Otherwise, they will come across as bland in a novel.
CHARACTERS: Done pretty well. Jones spent a good deal of time giving us the details and making each character distinctive in appearance, mannerisms and dialogue. Even the guards who badgered over stupid things had their own dialogue and motivations. Most of the minor characters had these traits also which I appreciated. Sometimes minor characters get lost in the shuffle. Villains were done very well. The problem was with Melli and Jack for reasons listed above. They certainly were distinctive but they didn't stand out strikingly enough. Part of this reason might be because they were such passive characters for a good part of the story.
WHY IT WORKED FOR ME: Loved the character details, as well as the dialogue. In the first 150 pages, the story moved along pretty fast. I was impressed with the spying and political intrigue, as well as with the multitude of characters all about. History of the area was good and I enjoyed the concentration on the local folk and their perception of events. The two guards who told stories were good, but half of the stuff they spoke about seemed redundant. The Archbishop was a pretty interesting character, too. Loved the way he tormented his aide and showed off his gluttony. Some of the details, such as dress and food, were interesting. And, the way bread was baked was kind of interesting, too. Maybor, Baralis and the Queen were all interesting in various degrees. The grittiness with the sex and violence added some flavor to the book, but got a bit crude at times, like when (CENSORED for delicate ears . . . :D Hard for me to believe that this was a fantasy bestseller since certain components of the novel seemed clumsy or half written. Apparently, it became very popular through word of mouth.
COMMENTS: This book had potential to be better than it was, but I think the author got caught up in the characters and keeping the story going. Perhaps she wanted more pages in her book than she could fit, forcing it to become larger. I don't know. If the plot and style had been the equivalent of the characters, this would have gotten a solid B or even a B+. As things stand, it was a B-.
GRADE REASON: Pretty much for reasons stated above. The characters were done very well in certain regards, but since I didn't connect with them, it was hard to rank her higher than a B. The dialogue was very good but the pacing, overall structure and surprises were mediocre to just above average. This is about the average grade I give to most fantasy books. Some are certainly worse and some are better or much better.
8 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Okay, so if you were snooping around in the fantasy circles circa 1995, you are indubitably aware that this trilogy generated an enormous buzz. That in itself was surprising, since The Baker's Boy was Mrs. Jones' very first novel. In addition, it was published by Aspect (Warner Books), an imprint not particularly renowned for publishing bestsellers.
In any event, to a certain extent taking the market by storm, the series was an instant success. The three volumes were all national bestsellers, which is quite unusual. They all topped the Locus Bestseller List. Okay, so it's not the New York Times, but it is still quite an accomplishment for a new author.
Like a lot of people, I bought the books when they came out. Unlike many, I didn't read them yet. The hype was too strong, and I didn't want it to influence me when I read the series. Of course, I didn't really expect to wait nearly 9 years before reading them, either! For some reason, even though Mrs. Jones wrote 3 more novels since the publication of Master and Fool, she never did create waves the way The Book of Words trilogy initially did. Now was the time for me to see what the buzz had been about. . .
As is usually the case, the series did not live up to the expectations the buzz had created within me. Hence, I'm happy to have waited before reading the novels. Otherwise, I would probably have been VERY disappointed by this series. With the enormous number of books I've read over the years, I'm afraid that I have become definitely hard to please. . .
But although the trilogy suffers from several shortcomings, in all objectivity I must admit that it is still a relatively good read.
My main problem with the series is the fact that it appears to be aimed at a younger crowd. In my mind, it seems to be aimed at readers who are under 18. Being 30 (yes, I AM getting old!), I couldn't quite get into it. But I am persuaded that if I had read the series when I was 16 years of age, I would probably have loved it. There is a certain innocence inherent to the characters and their views of love, honor, obligation, etc, that makes the whole thing not ring true to my "adult" perspective.
The biggest shortcoming of the series, however, is the fact that the characters are far from being three-dimensional. As a matter of fact, they are not "real." The author fell into a popular trap, namely creating "cliché" characters: the innocent boy with immense potential, the beautiful and spoiled young woman who turns out to be stronger and more courageous than she believed herself to be, the evil mage, the power-hungry prince, etc. And some characters are just caricatures, case in point being the Archbishop Tavalisk. And yet, having said that about the characters, they are still a likeable bunch. Which, in the end, helps you enjoy the books.
Several plotlines had a lot of potential (the knights of Valdis, the Seers of Larn, Jake's parentage, etc), but they were not exploited to their fullest. Had they been, this series would have been much better. Mrs. Jones took the easy road instead. . .
In light of all this, I have to admit that I nevertheless like J. V. Jones' writing style. She has a witty way to write, which I truly enjoyed. I think that she must challenge herself a little more with her storylines, and explore a bit more those concepts that she creates. It would certainly give ner novels more depth, which in turn would make them more enjoyable.
I believe that J. V. Jones shows great promise and could be a bright voice in the fantasy genre. Hopefully her other novels will show just how much potential she truly possesses. . .:-)
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5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
This book was not very fresh; the main ideas have been played out numerous times in numerous other books (an orphan boy with no apparent life; finds that he has super duper magical powers). The characterization of this book was not great either; truth be told there really wasn't much about this book that was interesting.
I read it, just because I had nothing else to do. I started to the book and finished it because I hate to start books and not finish them, but finishing it was a task. The story is one of a baker's boy who finds he has magical powers and must run away. An evil sorcerer is scheming for the throne and mixes foul concotions and potions (as most evil sorcerers do). The boy runs away, find someone to teach him something about his power, and eventually is going to come back and challenge this sorcerer.
This book was very ho hum, and not on the top of this field at all; if you are interested in fantasy you should not read this book, unless you have exhausted all other outlets and authors before this one.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
I was prepared to not like this book. Good fantasy epics are hard to come by. This one is a promising start to a new one for me. I won't rehash the plot. Since there are so many of these epics out there, they all kind of share 3 or 4 plots. What sets this book apart isn't the plot, it's the little moments in the plot that make it stand out. Some examples-Jack, the baker's boy is moonlighting as a scribe even though he can't read or write. In his first effort to copy part of a manuscript, he pours ink on a blank page and tries to write into the ink. On his odyssey through the towns and forests of the Four Kingdoms, he offers to bake bread for those who help him since that is the only means of repayment he knows. There is the ongoing feud between the evil chancellor Baralis and the conniving Lord Maybor. Each sets traps and snares for the other only to be foiled--like an endless duel of 2 Wile E. Coyotes. Baralis drives an innocent dove to starvation by using it as a magical seeing eye. The Seers of Larn are an awesome creation who I would like to see in the further episodes. All in all, this is a fine 1st offering in this trilogy.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
After an amazing prologue The Bakers Boy proved to be a most enjoyable read. I found the characters to be likeable, realistic and not run-of-the-mill , especially Baralis. Definately a man you will love to hate! The book has plenty of suspense and loads of humour in Bodger and Grift, whose words of wisdom once heard should never be followed! All in all a good start, Julie Jones writes extremely well and certainly has great flair and style. My only criticism is that Jack and Melli seemed to spend all their time escaping and then getting caught again, however the settings are excellent and the plot is otherwise very engaging. And believe me the series just gets better and better.