Well I must say, reading The Boy With The Porcelain Blade was quite an experience.
I cried, and I laughed and I uttered expletives when something unexpected happened in the story.
Den Patrick has created a magnificent fantasy tale decorated with- what I would call, venetian-esque? I’m probably way off with that and it probably has a name, and more than likely is already a sub-genre.*
Anyhoo, I digress.
So, The Boy With The Porcelain Blade looks at the life of the Orfano, Lucien De Fontein.
The Orfano are children with unknown parentage that are fostered by noble families, and along with this each Orfano has a distinguishing disfigurement (Lucien has no ears and other Orfano have things like spines growing from their forearms).
The Orfano’s disfigurement is the driving force behind what they strive to become. Many others believe them to be Witches or (strega), which is an example of what people don’t understand they condemn.
Lucien’s journey is one that is not without struggle, and his journey sees him to the point of exile, at the same time he has a tenacity to see who or what is behind the curtain, and his search for the truth makes him a desired target.
The Boy With The Porcelain Blade is told through a series of chronological flashbacks that reveal to the reader events as they are now, and what they were before. This method does not slow the pacing of the story down, but it adds more pieces to the very dark and mysterious puzzle that Patrick has set in motion. The reader gets to see how Lucien is and what he has become, and reading how the character evolves is fantastic.
Lucien encompasses all that makes one human, the weakness, and at times the fragility of his soul, not to mention the desire to respected and also the knowing of what it is to be loved, whilst battling the merciless bullies that surround his daily life. The construction of the character Lucien, by Patrick is done in such a way that the reader feels for Lucien, and at times the struggle of Lucien and the futility of his journey, made me cry.
I highly recommend The Boy With The Porcelain Blade. A Strong, and compelling debut, that has unforgettable moments, and memorable characters. I look forward to reading more about Landfall and follow more of Lucien’s journey.
The Boy With The Porcelain Blade is out on the 20th of March from Gollancz. You can find out more about the author here, http://www.denpatrick.com and the author is on Twitter @Den_Patrick
*I’m going to coin the phrase and sub-genre Gondola Fantasy, (please note that there are no actual Gondolas in this particular novel but the term is being used to describe the italian influence in this book). You heard it here first!