the boy with the porcelain blade (Den Patrick)
Well me mateys, you may remember the time where someone commandeered me 12 pages. Arrrrgh! I have reclaimed me missing pages at last. Just like last time, however, there was an interesting curiosity in my new copy of the book. My old version ended on page 308. And when I opened the new version I saw this:
Can you see that? If not let me apprise you of the situation. The new copy had one earmark in the novel and low and behold it just happened to be on page 308 where I previously had left off. Fortuitous no?
The book is finished, and I can finally share my thoughts on the subject. Now normally I write a review as soon as I am finished the book. In this case, I had a lot of extra time to ponder what I read. I found this book to have an engaging main character in Lucien de Fotein. He is coarse, intelligent, sarcastic, and a real dastard in some ways. Despite myself, I like him. I also really enjoyed the character of Anea, a smart girl who is a secondary character but an awesome one. The Orfano, the deformed citizens in the novel, overall had fun characters and personalities. The “regular folk” in the world seemed to be more two dimensional in goals and actions. I was not interested in them and wanted them to be better fleshed out.
The world itself feels very renaissance-like with a lot of scheming and plotting and politics. It felt confusing and unclear. It was almost as though the author had so many good ideas that he tried to do it all and it came out jumbled. All the sides seemed to be fighting to “get the power” but for no real reason. And everyone seems to hate everyone else for no real reason either. The portion with the king as a character in the story seemed only to be there so that the Orfano existed. Even the world’s own myths and history seemed to contradict each other.
There was another major flaw in the novel. There were a ton of flashbacks in this novel making it extremely hard to keep track of timeline in reading. I almost wanted a prequel about Lucien and how he grew up and then the boy with the porcelain blade to be what happens next which leads into the series. Normally I do not mind flashbacks, but just as I got caught by one scenario it would switch and derail my train of thought.
I have thought long and hard about whether I would read the next two books of the trilogy and at this point I am undecided. I do like the two characters I mentioned and sort of what to know what happens. Maybe if the books were from the local library or free. But I bought this book and wish I would have spent my money on something else.
Amazon has this to say about the novel:
An ornate yet dark fantasy, with echoes of Scott Lynch, Robin Hobb and Jon Courtenay Grimwood. An original and beautifully imagined world, populated by unforgettable characters. A debut novel which garnered rave reviews on publication from fellow authors, bloggers and the likes of SFX magazine.
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 deformity, and well aware that he is a mere pawn in a political game. 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.
Told in a continuous narrative interspersed with flashbacks we see Lucien grow up under the care of his tutors. 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.
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