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The Boy with the Porcelain Blade (Erebus Sequence, #1)
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The Boy with the Porcelain Blade (Erebus Sequence #1)

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3.3  ·  Rating Details ·  833 Ratings  ·  140 Reviews
An ornate yet dark fantasy, with echoes of Mervyn Peake, Robin Hobb and Jon Courtenay Grimwood. An original and beautifully imagined world, populated by unforgettable characters.

Lucien de Fontein has grown up different. One of the mysterious and misshapen Orfano who appear around the Kingdom of Landfall, he is a talented fighter yet constantly lonely, tormented by his defo
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Paperback, 336 pages
Published March 20th 2014 by Gollancz
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Matthew
Jan 11, 2015 Matthew rated it really liked it
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 l
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Gavin
Mar 07, 2014 Gavin rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This story tells the tale of the Orfano, Lucien di Fontein, as he grows from a child into a young man in the claustrophobic city keep of Demesne. Demesne is ruled by a mysterious and reclusive king who has not been sighted by anyone in years and who gives his orders through his equally mysterious Majordomo. Four major houses struggle for political prominence alongside the kings favored Orfano children. Little is known of the Orfano except that they are favored by the king and suffer from strange ...more
Yzabel Ginsberg
(I got a copy through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.)

Between "it's OK" and "I liked it", so 2.5 stars I guess. (I really wish we could give half-stars here.)

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. 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 follo
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Ash
Mar 03, 2014 Ash rated it it was ok
Well it certainly picked up towards the end. The alternating flashback chapters didn't work for me, and the prose needed streamlining, and some of the world building early on was unneccessarily heavy-handed. The entire first half didn't know what it was doing or where it was going, which meant the second half was Great Fight Scene-Great Fight Scene-Sex Scene-Great Fight Scene-Dramatic Resolution-Denoument, with no breaks. To be honest it felt like the whole thing was trying too hard to be intell ...more
Liviu
very promising start followed by conventional story that lost quickly my interest; ok writing and characters, but I expected much more so overall a disappointment

a few more details on why this book doesn't work that well as fantasy - very small world, 3 persons of interest (ok maybe 20, but you get the idea) and a small group of mostly faceless servants; supposedly coming from a marooned Earth starship based on the hints and the interpretation of legends (so the small numbers, cramped society et
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David
Mar 12, 2014 David rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
One of the worst, most cliched fantasy novels I've ever read. Seems to be the first work by a very young writer. I'm very surprised it was published in hardcover. Only shows how ripe the market is for Fantasy. Not a lick of talent the author.
Marc Aplin
Feb 05, 2014 Marc Aplin rated it liked it
A strong 7/10

I always find it weird… reading a book by someone I’ve met. I first met Den Patrick in 2012 at Fantasy-Faction’s Q & A Session with Peter V. Brett, Myke Cole and Joe Abercrombie. At that point in time, Den Patrick was the ‘events organiser’ at the bookshop (Blackwells) that was hosting the event and seemed as excited as any member of the crowd that some of fantasy’s biggest names were about to storm his store. Little did I know, at that point in time, that Den was working on his
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Amanda Setasha Hall
Jun 08, 2017 Amanda Setasha Hall rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017, 1st-in-series
This book was a collected mess.
Every other chapter is a flashback - and that bothered me more than anything else.
Lucien passes out a LOT.
Nothing actually happens plot wise until about page 160 (halfway through the book).
The descriptions of EVERYTHING is completely unnecessary.

However, despite all that, I think I'll actually give the second book a chance. The second half of the book - the chapters set in the present - are actually quite good. They got my interest back into it, and by the end of t
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Jasper
Mar 07, 2014 Jasper rated it really liked it
originally posted at: http://thebookplank.blogspot.com/2014...

The Boy with the Porcelain Blade is another big debut release this year. So far 2014 has treated me well with several debuts. Gollancz has been steadily feeding the media with more and more information about this book and it has gotten me psyched about it. The Boy with the Porcelain Blade is written by Den Patrick, who has been an comic book editor, bookseller and has worked at Games Workshop. With such a background The Boy with the P
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Atlas
Apr 16, 2017 Atlas rated it liked it
Vanity is always the first casualty of survival

* * *
3 / 5


I picked up The Boy With The Porcelain Blade from the library on a whim, mostly because the cover was nice and the title sounded a bit intriguing. 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. But slowly the book started to grow on me as the characters got fleshed out more and the action started building momentum.

"You'll
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Denise
Mar 26, 2017 Denise rated it liked it
Shelves: own, read-2017
Swordplay, feuding families, bloody vendettas, dark and supernatural secrets, all of it set in a pseudo-Renaissance world... 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. The writing is overly descriptive to the point of becoming immensely tedious. Some detailed descriptive passages to bring the world alive are necessary, but when almost every single senten ...more
Gary
Jun 11, 2017 Gary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Terrific book! Mervin Peake meets Jon Courtenay Grimwood. What more can I say? Read it.
Blodeuedd Finland
Mar 05, 2014 Blodeuedd Finland rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Now what to call this one? Most of the action takes place in a castle, like 95% of the book (makes me think of Mervyn Peake). There is somewhat of a Gothic Darkness over the whole castles area. A king who no one sees and who seems to be immortal. People going missing and of course the Orfanos. The king has ordered that they should be treated well so they are all in "school". Some of these Orfanos are very deformed while some like Lucien got lucky, he has no ears, but it ends there. They, the nob ...more
Rinn
Jan 25, 2017 Rinn marked it as did-not-finish
DNF at page 145. It's not a bad book, it's just that I got that far through and realised I'd barely taken anything in, just can't focus on it at all.
Paul
Mar 09, 2014 Paul rated it really liked it
The main narrative follows Lucien as he finally confronts enemies who have been hounding him for his entire life. Lucien’s journey from early childhood to adulthood has been fraught with danger. The Orfano, orphans, live a privileged existence, but there are those who would gladly see Lucien and the rest of his kind removed. Interspersed with the main action, alternating chapter’s flashback to key events during Lucien’s formative years. You quickly get insight into the trials and tribulations th ...more
Elliott Hill
Apr 01, 2014 Elliott Hill rated it liked it
I have generally mixed feelings about The Boy With the Porcelain Blade, in one sense there were some great ideas that I really liked but overall I just think the execution was lacking something meaning the the book never really feels more than just the sum of its interesting but not fully explored parts.

The book follows Lucian de Fontein throughout both his early years as an Orfano and a few crucial days of his early adulthood. As an Orfano, Lucian is effectively an outcast in Demesne, an incred
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Charles
I gave this a 5-star rating not because it’s perfect but because I enjoyed it so much. 4 1/2 maybe is more realistic, but it's not a 4.

Full totally balanced non-subjective review here
Pip
Jan 23, 2015 Pip rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ravens, Ravens everywhere~~~

Honestly, this book was pretty good but it just had a few things that really irked me. This book sounded right up my street. Fantasy novel with Lucien, the vainest asshole protag I've ever had the pleasure of reading, with an interesting blade and whenever 'a political game' is added to the mix you know you're gonna get a conspiracy (all be it a weird one). The writing was beautiful, it was so poetic and flowed so well which was definitely a highlight.

I just hated ho
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Sean
Apr 24, 2014 Sean rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
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. Lucien is one of the Orfano, mysterious orphans cursed with unusual physical characteristics, Lucien blood is clear but turns blue after it has bled out while another Orfani has spines on his forearms for example, but the Orfani are raised within the nobles house and treated as nobility on the Orders of the King.

The title comes from the fact that Orfan
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Krista
Jul 06, 2016 Krista rated it did not like it
DNF.

Holy unnecessary adjectives, Batman!

I knew before the end of the first page that this book was not for me.

Seriously, just read this:

"The looking glass reflected a man-child of eighteen summers, a grave expression etched onto his face. He had polished his knee-length boots to an impressive shine, the deep brown leather worn and sturdy. The buckles had been buffed to a honey-coloured gleam. His trousers and frock coat were of a blue so deep as to be mistaken for black in poor light. He was pa
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Mercutio
Apr 23, 2014 Mercutio rated it did not like it
With all the publicity surrounding this book comparing it to Robin Hobb and Mervyn Peake, I was so excited to read this book. I was sorely disappointed. Hobb and Peake both accomplish the difficult task of making a teenager an interesting hero, with enough depth for a reader to want to follow and watch grow and change. Lucien is the complete opposite of this, coming across as an shallow and paper-thin angsty teenager more obsessed with the ornate details of his clothes and desperately thinking u ...more
StPaul Herrmann
May 18, 2014 StPaul Herrmann rated it it was amazing
A cool fantasy story -- full of interesting characters and a storyline which is NOT always predictable.
The familiarity parts of the setting seem to have actually lead the reader all the quicker into a world the secret of which is not as obvious as it seems.
The story drew me inafter a short while and kept me reading on chapter by chapter, towards an end which only on the first glance is expected.
Entertaining, and the right balance of background, wits and plain action.
Recommended.
Frith
Nov 13, 2016 Frith rated it it was ok
Completely ridiculous and inconsistent characterisations, and "mysterious" worldbuilding which gives everything away in the third chapter and then continues to pretend it hasn't. This only contributes to how dense the protagonist appears, as he's never able to grasp really obvious clues until the narrative has beaten him over the head with them for several pages. Unfortunately, that isn't much fun to read.
Fayley
I can't put my finger on why I didn't completely love this. I should have, "talented youth grows up and changes the status quo", it's right up my alley. Maybe it was all the flash backs slowing the story, or maybe it just all seemed so unlikely.
Lucia
Mar 04, 2015 Lucia marked it as gave-up
I listened to the first chapter and I already hate the main character and the way it's narrated, I doubt I'll pick this one up later. It's a shame because the cover is beautiful and the title sounded promising.
Adriel
Feb 04, 2014 Adriel rated it really liked it
Fans of Robin Hobb and Patrick Rothfuss will probably like this one. I very much enjoyed it. The use of alternating chapters in the past and current time made for a great pace. It has a slight touch of horror near the end, but all in all a good fantasy read. Well worth checking out.
Milo (BOK)
Mar 23, 2014 Milo (BOK) rated it really liked it
Probably more of a 3.5. Some strong moments, but I've read better debuts. I've also however, read much worse.
Mike A.
Mar 31, 2014 Mike A. rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
The Boy with the Porcelain Blade by Den Patrick catches a reader with grotesque characters, a dark setting resembling 16th century Venice or Genoa, and interesting fights with rapiers. I found it especially refreshing to have a protagonist that is a so called Orfano: That means he has a physical impairment. All the Orfano in this book have a different impairment that makes them different from the other humans. While they get the best education possible and can rise to high standing in the societ ...more
David
Jun 03, 2017 David rated it liked it
Ugh okay don't know where to start with this one - The best thing I can really say is that the characters of the book or at least interesting enough for me to bother finishing it.

This book just had a hard time figuring out what it was - parts wanted to be young adult, other parts grim dark, some clumsily written romance. Narrative structure was simply terrible, bouncing back-and-forth between past and present, but not in a way that really built a good story or a good finale.

The author's prose is
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Sophie
Jun 16, 2017 Sophie rated it liked it
2.5 stars. Don't think the skipping around in time nature of the book helped it any -would have been better off being more linear.

Was an okay read, strikes me that it could have been accurately called "the boy with the porcelain ears" too.
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Den lives and works in London. His first three books for Gollancz, the War Fighting Manuals, were released in the autumn of 2013. Three novels, The Erebus Sequence, have been completed: The Boy with the Porcelain Blade, The Boy Who Wept Blood and The Girl on the Liar's Throne.
More about Den Patrick...

Other Books in the Series

Erebus Sequence (3 books)
  • The Boy who Wept Blood (Erebus Sequence, #2)
  • The Girl on the Liar's Throne (Erebus Sequence, #3)

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“Ah, the young! Always so convinced their problems are unique in nature and unique to themselves.” 1 likes
“Vanity is always the first casualty of survival,” 0 likes
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