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Monster Blood Tattoo - Book One: Foundling

Review

Monster Blood Tattoo - Book One: Foundling

Rossamund Bookchild --- a boy with a girl's name --- is a foundling who has lived in Madam Opera's Estimable Marine Society for Foundling Boys and Girls ever since he was discovered as a newborn abandoned on Madam Opera's doorstep. Rossamund's early beginnings are unique but hardly uncommon as he lives with several other orphaned or unwanted kids. The children are given a quality education ---- which includes defense against monsters --- and are trained to lead productive careers, often in the navy.

While he has many promising opportunities, living in the Society isn't always easy for Rossamund. The boy is often teased by other children and tormented by a notorious bully named Gosling, who believes he's better than everyone else because of his manor-born childhood. Although Rossamund is given extra attention by his aging Dormitory Master Fransitart, the marine society's dispensurist Master Craumpalin and the beautiful parlour maid Verline, he anxiously waits to leave the crowded orphanage and get the chance to explore the rest of the wide, mysterious Half-Continent.

Then an agent named Sebastipole makes an unexpected visit and offers Rossamund an apprenticeship as a lamplighter. Rossamund is disappointed as he looked forward to a career like that of his mentor Fransitart but nonetheless takes the agent's offer as his great opportunity to leave the marine society and begin the next chapter of his life. After much preparation and anxious waiting, the day arrives and Rossamund sets out on his journey to High Vesting. He is given instructions to take a ship that will bring him to his destination. Unfortunately luck is not on his side and he is lured onto a run-down cromster called the Hogshead manned by the cunning Rivermaster Poundinch, who deals in the gruesome dark trades. However, Rossamund's fate is yet to be sealed and he makes his grand escape under a hail of cannon fire a few days later.

The excitement is far from over for Rossamund when he crosses paths with an infamous fulgar (an electrifying type of monster hunter) named Miss Europe --- known for her numerous monster-blood tattoos --- and her creepy factotum (personal servant) Licurius. What is supposed to be a simple ride-along leads to another part of what is already turning out to be an epic adventure for the young foundling as he figures out his place in the world.

MONSTER BLOOD TATTOO is a well-crafted original new series by up-and-coming writer D.M. Cornish that is sure to create buzz among fans of fantasy and those who like to read something a little out of the ordinary. With a detailed Explicarium (a glossary of terms and explanations including appendices), Cornish brings to life the compelling Dickens-like story of a boy making his way in a complex, wildly imaginative world.

Reviewed by Sarah Sawtelle on May 18, 2006

Monster Blood Tattoo - Book One: Foundling
by D. M. Cornish

  • Publication Date: May 18, 2006
  • Genres: Fantasy
  • Hardcover: 404 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
  • ISBN-10: 039924638X
  • ISBN-13: 9780399246388