The Boy Who Wept Blood by Den Patrick book review

We review the latest instalment in the Erebus Sequence.

This is perhaps not the sequel some fans of The Erebus Sequence were expecting. Set ten years after The Boy With The Porcelain Blade, Lucien, the hero of the first book, is gone. This time around, our point-of-view character is Lucien’s protégé Dino, who didn’t add a lot to the first book except a smart mouth and an extra blade in a battle. However, Patrick fleshes out the character by forcing the swordsman to make some difficult choices while romping across moonlit rooftops.

After the revelations of book one, Dino’s sister, Anea, rules as queen, but is trying to bring democracy to Landfall. When aristocratic families conspire against her to protect their privilege, Dino is forced to compromise his chivalry and consider how far he is willing to go to protect the ones he loves.

Dino is no longer the poor imitation of Lucien he was in The Porcelain Blade, but an intricate character with his own flaws and virtues. The Boy Who Wept Blood remains in the shadow of the first book. In a mish-mash of genres, The Porcelain Blade mixed the tale of a bloody coup in a baroque fantasy world, a deranged king breeding mutants in his dungeon, and an Oedipal love story about a hero longing for a quasi-sister, mother-figure.

In contrast, neither the political conspiracies nor the overly familiar tragedy of closeted gay lovers ever feels as daring. Still, the horror fantasy that sits beneath the surface continues to fester, providing plot twists and shocks that will sustain for another book.