Author: D. M. Cornish
Genre: Fiction, YA, Fantasy
Pub Date: September 2007, Penguin Group
Trade paperback, 313 pages
Set in the world of the Half-Continent-a land of tri-corner hats and flintlock pistols-the Monster Blood Tattoo trilogy is a world of predatory monsters, chemical potions and surgically altered people. Foundling begins the journey of Rossamund, a boy with a girl's name, who is just about to begin a dangerous life in the service of the Emperor. What starts as a simple journey is threatened by encounters with monsters-and people, who may be worse. Learning who to trust and who to fear is neither easy nor without its perils, and Rossamund must choose his path carefully.
This was another book I happened upon in a bargain display at Books-A-Million, for a whopping $4. I'm glad I decided to pick it up, since it was a fun read and it turns out it had received great ratings at both Amazon.com and BN.com.
I'm always a huge fan of books that create a new world and go into it in great detail. D.M. Cornish's world is incredibly imaginative and developed--a great addition to the book is the extensive appendix complete with glossary, diagrams, maps and more. The story is jam-packed with adventure; poor Rossamund found himself in so many dangerous situations throughout the book it was amazing he escaped relatively unscathed. I have to admit, he was at times a little annoyingly naive and innocent, but I know there's a purpose to this characterization, as I'm sure we will see him do a complete transformation in this series.
Cornish's characters are also a work of art--colorful and well-developed, thanks in part to the fact that this story is also very well-written. From Rossamund's friends he meets along his journey to become a lamplighter, to the wide assortment of monsters found on the Half-Continent, the reader gets a vivid picture of what these characters are really like. This truly is an amazing debut novel, and I am looking forward to getting my hands on the second book, Lamplighter.
Another bonus: assorted sketches of characters and monsters sprinkled throughout.
Other reviews of Foundling: