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The Barbed Coil by J. V. Jones
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The Barbed Coil (1997)

by J. V. Jones

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» See also 22 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Kind of torn with this book - the first 75% of the book is soooooo slow, nothing happening, no sense of urgency, no great quest, no sense of anything epic (this is epic fantasy after all), very little description of how magic is happening or if it even is happening - the last 25% was amazing, everything came together, the characters finally started to fill out and although there still was nothing epic about the book there was at last a little sense or urgency and purpose.

First 75% of the book is 2 stars
Last 25% of the book is 4 stars
I'll average it out to 3 stars for the book - recommended but only if you have time to kill. ( )
  ferrisscottr | Jun 18, 2013 |
There were four things that I remember I particularly enjoyed or liked about this book:

a) it is a standalone novel, not a trilogy. This was useful and refreshing at the time of reading, and everything is wrapped up in one volume.
b) Illuminations as magic working, and the results coming to life, dependent on the skill of the illuminator and the ingredients used. Great thing to suspend disbelief for. So many possibilities; the negative ones were more explored in this book. For some reason the process of preparing and drawing the illuminations increased the horror of the transformations and battles, for me at least.
c) The barbed coil. Not a pleasant device at all, in fact all cold and nasty, but there was some kind of fairy tale satisfaction about the power hungry person putting on the crown and discovering it not only does not come off (at least not with any ease, or usual methods), but permanently alters the wearer too.
d) The seemingly insignificant trinket that becomes important and transforming.

Other than that, yes there are lots of stock characters and storylines, but shaken up a bit with some additions - the illumination, the coil, and Tess's tinnitus. I must say I was quite relieved when the tinnitus stopped - that was painful and nausea-inducing to imagine.

Worth a look. ( )
1 vote Flit | Jan 6, 2010 |
This book is set in a fantasy world where magic comes through illuminations. The idea is interesting, the text involving the illuminations is well told and interesting. The rest of the book is a bit bland.

The main character, Tessa, is from our world, who is drawn into another world and drawn into a quest to free a magical device, I'm being vague to avoid giving away too much. The characters are rather one-dimensional. Tessa seems all to accepting of her situation n this new world. Most of hte minor characters seem focused on one objective.

The plot is a simple plot rehashed in many other fantasy stories, but does come to life when the illuminations are drawn. I felt the book was just a device to carry off the idea. As it is, the story isn't badly told, but it does seem like it could be a lot more. ( )
1 vote Nodosaurus | Jan 5, 2010 |
I've seen Jones described as "aggressively mediocre" but I really liked this. The characters were just complex enough to be engaging. As was the plot.I had a bit of a problem with C. marrying Angeline. What's-his-name's desctiption of her as his "mindless child-wife" was a bit too accurate. I mean, she amused herself by counting her dog's toes! And Tessa and Ravis's romance developed a bit too quickly. ( )
1 vote krisiti | Jul 1, 2009 |
I felt that this book had a couple of novel and interesting fantasy ideas, written in a readable style, but embedded in a fairly cliché plot structure with fairly stereotypical characters. In short, this came across as just OK.

The device of a person from our world being transported to the fantasy world is getting old. When this transportation is an essential element woven through the plot, it can work well. When it's done so that the author can explain the world out loud to the reader, it's disappointing. That was the case here; Tessa's "our world" origin serves absolutely no purpose in the story and is quickly forgotten. In fact, she suffers almost no culture shock in her transition from the 20th century to something like the 17th.

The character roles were annoyingly "stock". Retiring, handicapped Tessa becomes the beautiful and powerful heroine. Ravis is the dashing man with a mysterious past, the consummate fighter, who starts off as the bad guy but secretly has a warm heart and is really the good guy. The prince-who-didn't-know-he-was-a-prince must fight for his throne. The bad guys are unrelentingly evil. In the end, everyone pairs up and lives happily ever after…except the bad guys who are all dead. They are no gray characters in this novel.

On the positive side, the whole concept behind the story was fairly interesting. I would have loved more depth to her ideas of Ephemera and Illumination, for they showed originality. And Ms. Jones writes well—though the characters may have been a little flat in depth of character, they were well-drawn and the writing flowed easily along.

I don't rule out the possibility of ever reading another Jones novel, but she's certainly not an author I'm hungering to read again. ( )
1 vote TadAD | Jan 16, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
J. V. Jonesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Horne, DanielCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0446606235, Mass Market Paperback)

On Earth, the Barbed Coil is a ring that transports Tessa McCamfrey to another world. After Tessa appears in the city of Bay'Zell, she quickly meets up with a mercenary named Ravis, who takes her under his wing just in time for the pair to be drafted by Camron of Thorn. Camron is bent on defeating the mad king, who is being controlled by a larger version of the Coil. And Tessa's newly discovered gift for magical illuminations might be the best weapon in the fight. J. V. Jones, one of fantasy's hottest new authors, provides plenty of action in The Barbed Coil.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:47:49 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

San Diego artist Tessa McCamfrey is transported to a world where a cruel king rules with paintings of what he wants to happen. Tessa helps the inhabitants win freedom by painting his overthrow.

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