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Monster Blood Tattoo: FoundlingBook Review
by Navah Wolfe
Rossamund Bookchild is a boy with two strikes against him. First, he is a boy with a girl's name. Second, he is a foundling, an orphan left as a baby on the doorstep of Madame Opera's Foundlingery. Though he is well cared for and loved by the proprietors of the Foundlingery, he yearns for a life of adventure, a chance to see the world beyond the walls of his city – and perhaps a chance to see some of the monsters that plague his world.
When he is recruited by the Lamplighter's Guild, he has his chance. Armed with gifts and protections from his guardians, Rossamund sets out on what is meant to be a simple journey to begin his indenture at the Lamplighter's Guild. But of course, things don't go quite as planned, and before he knows it, Rossamund is neck-deep in more trouble and adventure than he ever wanted.
However, when he is rescued by the beautiful and mysterious Europe, his life becomes even more confusing. Europe is a lahzar, a woman surgically altered to be able to channel electricity through her body in order to fight and kill monsters. But the monsters turn out to be different than Rossamund expected - as does Europe, and the world at large. And the more he learns about his world, the more he realizes that perhaps there is something in his lineage that marks him as more than just a mere foundling.
Monster Blood Tattoo is an excellent yarn. Rossamund's world is strange and fascinating and complex, and Cornish has done a brilliant job of building a believably bizarre place. The detail is incredible – one of the highlights is an Explicarium included in the back of the book, a multifaceted encyclopedia of the people, places, things and folklore of Rossamund's world.
This book may have all the trappings of a typical orphan story, but it goes places most stories don't. People are complex. Even the good guys aren't completely white, and the bad guys are only sometimes completely black. Rossamund and the reader learn quickly that all is not always as it seems or as Rossamund has been taught.
This is a gripping, fascinating read. I am looking forward to the next installation of Monster Blood Tattoo, and another chance to immerse myself once more in Cornish's incredibly realized world.
Official Site- http://www.monsterbloodtattoo.com/home.html.
Navah Wolfe Navah Wolfe is a kidlit junkie and children's bookseller. She lives in New York City.
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