Every good protagonist needs an arch-nemesis, and for Lucien that adversary is the Majordomo. Seen from above, Demesne resembles a Maltese cross, each arm of the cross is home to one of the Great Houses. Similar to this I did find that as inconsistent Lucien was, my understanding of the world was. The writing was beautiful, it was so poetic and flowed so well which was definitely a highlight. Ruled by an insane King and the venomous Majordomo, it is a world where corruption and decay are deeply rooted - but to a degree Lucien never dreams possible when he first discovers the plight of the 'insane' women kept in the haunting Sanatoria.
I liked the premise of a Renaissance-like world, the focus on a castle that was like a city of its own, and the inner House politics. This works mostly throughout the book, however sometimes parts of the sections seem to be filler just to have a break before the next chapter with the real content. Lucien has a very sharp wit. The characters are well executed and fleshed out that you, as soon as you read about them, will grow attached too. Eight pages later we zip backwards in time to nine years previously to meet a much more likeable eight year old Lucien. Our protagonist Lucien is one of these Orfano. One criticism I do have however is that I wanted to learn more about Landfall and the sprawling castle of Demesne.
In a recent interview Den explained that the second book is told by a new viewpoint character who we did meet in book one and will be set eight years after this tale. I intended to write something that was appealing to late teens and adults. The Boy with the Porcelain Blade was nominated for the British Fantasy Newcomer award and forms the first book in the The Erebus Sequence. It seemed like the modern-day Lucien simply transported back in time and that was a little jarring. We watch him forced through rigorous Testings, and fall in love, set against his yearning to discover where he comes from, and how his fate is tied to that of every one of the deformed Orfano in the Kingdom, and of the eerie Sanatoria itself. But unrest is growing, and Lucien finds himself caught up in political rivalries and conflicts where he has to rely on more than just his blade to protect the ones he loves. Similar to this I did find that as inconsistent Lucien was, my understanding of the world was.
They got my interest back into it, and by the end of t This book was a collected mess. Also, why was this needed?! The end is satisfying in its own right — so I was slightly surprised that there are further books to come. Landfall is also a place of ceremonies, with yearly tests for adherents of the blade, ritual adoptions by the Great Houses, and La Festa del Ringraziamento — a lavish celebration held each September to give thanks to the king and for the many good things the farmers produce. For the first half or so I was rather underwhelmed, annoyed partly by constant switching back and forward in time and partly by the arrogant main character, Lucien. The verbal and mental sparring going on between all the different characters, sometimes in jest while in other moments deadly serious. That said, Lucien did change throughout the course of the novel, but again it was in a jarring manner. I can only say give two chapters a try.
I'm Matthew, the esteemed well, not really! Perhaps surprisingly, then, the characters were a breath of fresh air. There is somewhat of a Gothic Darkness over the whole castles area. He's ok but has much to learn; he spends most of the book travelling from place to place for a good beating or worse. I was interested, then bored, then more bored, and then all of a sudden I was laughing aloud and invested in the characters and the plot. On the other side, I enjoyed the characters and the overall idea, and since I already have the second and third books, I'll give them a try. Then there's Virmyre, one of Lucien's teachers, equal parts stern professor and hilarious drunkard and father figure to Lucien. Every other chapter is a flashback - and that bothered me more than anything else.
This book sounded right up my street. We meet Lucien as he undertakes his 18th birthday trial to become a man of the house of Fontein. Lucien's particular difference turns out to be minor compared to some of his compatriots, although it causes him embarrassment and loneliness - he has no external ears. Den Patrick starts his story with Lucien who is about to start the trial that will, if he wins, grant him a place in the ranks of House Fontein. A character based fantasy with Renaissance and gothic elements woven in. Likewise what I have said in the parts above, these deformities really helped shape the characters, it's though for them to live with it but makes them and the story hauntingly captivating. People going missing and of course the Orfanos.
I'm usually a sucker for anything that comes with these ingredients, but in this case, despite the fact that I liked the concept and the world itself, the book just failed to pull me in. His previous work includes The War Fighting Manuals. The writing is overly descriptive to the point of becoming immensely tedious. Feared by the superstitious populace, they are pawns caught up in a game they cannot begin to imagine. The Boy with the Porcelain Blade by Den Patrick follows the coming of age of Lucien di Fontein in the city of Demesne in the Kingdom of Landfall. The Boy with the Porcelain Blade was nominated for the British Fantasy Newcomer award and forms the first book in the The Erebus Sequence. Brett, Myke Cole and Joe Abercrombie.
Every other chapter is a flashback. Four major houses struggle for political prominence alongside the kings favored Orfano children. Additionally, I just found the protagonist terribly unlikable - I assume we're meant to feel sorry for him, but he's just a rash, spiteful, idiotic little asshole most of the time and I just didn't care about what happened to him or any of the other characters. A really great book in the trilogy and I'm looking forward to picking up the sequels. When challenged, I usually describe myself as a lapsed fantasy fan, in much the same way as others might consider themselves lapsed Catholics. There was much potential here for intrigue of that kind, and I would've liked to see more of it—but didn't, because Lucien, while being at the heart of it, was also more of an observer or a follower most of the time.
I was impressed with how layered Den Patrick made Lucien's character especially as you came to understand more and more of the dynamics of the world, the political game that was played only further build on Lucien character. Compared to other major releases in recent years there is a distinct lack of detail revealed by Patrick. The action plays like a straightforward video game with most of the second half consisting of different levels of boss fights. The title comes from the fact that Orfani are not allowed to wield a steel blade until they come of age, before that they are restricted to -still lethal- porcelain bladed weapons. There is something delightfully sinister about his character and all his furtive actions.
Each book will reveal more secrets, display more of its colourful culture, and offer more insights to this lonely isle. The Boy Who Wept Blood and The Girl on the Liar's Throne complete this trilogy of Gothic Fantasy books Den Patrick is originally from Dorset and lives in London. So is it worth the hype? On the orders of the King the Orfano are raised in the noble houses and treated like regular nobility. A long time to wait, but methinks it'll be worth it. Den Patrick has made waves in the fantasy book world with his stunning new novel The Boy With the Porcelain Blade, the first part of The Erebus Sequence. Some of these Orfanos are very deformed while some like Lucien got lucky, he has no ears, but it ends there.