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The Dragon Never Sleeps
Glen Cook
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Otto Penzler
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Gahan Wilson, James Warhola, Roger Zelazny
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The Baker's Boy

The Baker's Boy - J.V. Jones 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 and more in less than 600 pages.

I like this book a lot. It uses fairly standard fantasy tropes, but it does it in such a good way that I actually did not mind it. The power play behind the scenes is rivals that of A Song of Ice and Fire. This is probably the first fantasy book which I read where the prophecy is fairly clear from the beginning with the information given; obscurity of prophecies is a fantasy cliche which became really old lately. It is dark, but not dark enough to qualify as a grimdark book.

Another interesting note about the book is that despite the prophecy it is completely unclear what is needed to be done to end the time of darkness. In The Lord of the Rings the goal was clear from the beginning: throw the Ring in the flames of Mount Doom and live happily ever after. The same can be said about Harry Potter: deal with Lord Voldemort and again live happily ever after. You got the idea. In this book the world is too hopeless and bleak to fix with simple destroying of an artifact, or a person.

On a negative side, the writing is somewhat juvenile at times, but not enough to spoil the book. The final rating is 4 solid stars; I reserve a right to upgrade it to 5 stars after I finish the whole trilogy.