A fascinating, character driven fantasy, The Boy with the Porcelain Blade is a solid debut novel from author Den Patrick.
Lucien is an orphan, and one of the Orfani (all Orfani have deformities). He is lonely, and tormented by his differences despite being afforded the best education and training alongside the nobles of Landfall. 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.
Patrick has crafted a fascinating world in The Boy with the Porcelain Blade. Incorporating many interesting elements from Renaissance Italy (House system, fighting styles, and the fact the characters speak Italian), the author weaves an action packed tapestry that was both fun to read and unique. His multi-layered characters, who were all different and wonderful in their own particular ways, enthralled me. I was especially taken by the Orfani themselves. Their existence alone was an incredible part of this story, and their deformities and strangeness (for example they don’t have red blood) kept me glued as the story powered on and their mysterious heritage was revealed. Patrick does layer the story with clues here and there, and part of the fun in reading this book is in finding these clues. I also really enjoyed how The Boy with the Porcelain Blade was structured. The reader gets glimpses into Lucien’s past, and these events help illuminate what is happening in the present with great effectiveness.
One criticism I do have however is that I wanted to learn more about Landfall and the sprawling castle of Demesne. Compared to other major releases in recent years there is a distinct lack of detail revealed by Patrick. I found myself yearning to know more, and I was extremely frustrated when my questions when unanswered by the end of the book. Patrick obviously chose to write a book focused on the characters themselves, and whilst this worked really well and I was captivated I still wanted to know more about their environment around them. The devil is in the details, as they say.
All in all this was an extremely fun and vivid read. A character based fantasy with Renaissance and gothic elements woven in. A must read for fans of Lynch. I can’t wait to read the next book!
4 out of 5 stars.