Wednesday, 27 October 2010

10+: Monster Blood Tattoo 1-3 - D M Cornish

Release Date: 01/05/08


Rossamund has always dreamed of a career in the Navy, fighting tentacled monsters and rescuing damsels from hook-handed pirates. But fate has chosen him for a different path. He is being sent to train as a Lamplighter - to bring light to the inland roads of the Half-Continent, to shine the way for travellers through lands peopled by outcasts, monsters and worse. But for Rossamund to begin his education, he must first undertake a journey of his own: to the great city of High Vesting. Such a road is not for the faint of heart. Only monster-hunters, leers and the most desperate of brigands dare travel the inland ways unguarded. And all Rossamund carries with him is a battered almanac and a pocketful of cheap potions. It is unlikely to be enough. Stunning in scope and rich in detail, alive with memorable heroes and villains and brimming with new and original science and magics, D.M. Cornish's tale of scolds, scourges, smugglers and shrewds will thrill and captivate, and leave the reader desperate for more.


OK, this book is one of the titles that I’ve been promising myself to read when I had some spare time. Whilst some of the elements within didn’t come across as a surprise (due to having read the second novel Lamplighter) it certainly filled in some of the gaps such as the huge amount of world building that has gone on within.

It’s seriously good fun and whilst different to a lot of other Young Adult titles out there, is definitely one that I’d sell as a crossover to help get your reader into more adult titles. In fact, its so good that its one that I got a huge blast from and proves that solid world building with great characters will carry the reader into a world with no budget, few rules and above all else a series that they not only deserve but one that will be revisited time and again. I seriously can’t wait for the third part, but before that, chance for a reread of the second one. Pure bliss.

Release Date: 07/05/09


Rossamund Bookchild has successfully negotiated the treacherous route to High Vesting. But even within the sturdy walls of the great city he is far from safe. For the path to becoming a Lamplighter is fraught with dangers - and not just from the dread monsters who lurk in the wilds. Rossamund will need all his wits to survive his training. And he must watch his back too, for enemies from his past are never far behind. Stunning in scope and rich in detail, alive with memorable heroes and villains and brimming with new and original science and magics, D.M. Cornish's tale of scolds, scourges, smugglers and shrewds will thrill and captivate, and leave the reader desperate for more.


Originally, when this tale landed, the first thing I noted was that this was a second book in the series. Generally, I'm quite loathed to start a tale part way through as you generally have missed a lot of the world building along with the opportunity to get to know the principle protagonist in the way that other readers have. So at a bit of a loss as to what to do I promised myself that I'd read the first 50 pages and see where it took me. If I didn't like it, I'd put it down and leave it until I obtained the first book (if there was promise) or forever condemn it to purgatory on my own Hell Shelf (jokingly called so as the lowest levels are reserved for books that should never see the light of day again) if I really didn't rate it.

What unfurled really demonstrated that I have to now get the original. Not that you can't read this tale without having enjoyed the first instalment, you can, but because the world building, along with the protagonist and the myriad of other cast members is so beautifully sculpted you just can't help to fall in love with all of them. Special note here to Mr Numps who's a firm personal favourite whilst the stories villains also deserve note, in this case the Master of Clerks whose personal goals are well performed chess moves worthy of any true villain. It's wonderfully constructed. It's a cracking story but above all it's world building at its best demonstrating a quality that makes this an absolute must read. It might appear a bit thick for the normal YA out there but at the end of the day you really don't notice it especially with all the additional goodies contained in the appendices.

Release Date: 28/10/10


Not all monsters look like monsters. Some everyday folk are the worst monsters of all ...Rossamund Bookchild's lamplighting career has been brought to a dramatic close. Now he is faced with a new life as personal servant to Europe, an elegant and powerful monster-hunter. As Rossamund settles into his new home, he finally discovers the true story of his origins, a story that must remain hidden if he is to survive in a land divided by the conflict between men and monsters. But now that he knows the truth about where he comes from, how can Rossamund play his role as assistant to a professional monster-hater? Only his loyalty to Europe keeps him by her side as they embark on a dangerous monster-hunting tour that can only end in tragedy...


The third title in the Monster Blood Tattoo series and perhaps the most gripping one yet, as our hero, Rosamund is now the Factotum of the most famous monster hunter. It’s gripping, it’s definitely a title that will keep the readers entertained as we share the dangers, the thrills and above all else the struggle to keep Rosamund out of the hands of those who would do him harm.

DM has definitely done the series proud and with taking it in a new direction the next title will be something even more special. With a whole host of superb supporting cast members backed up with great prose, some top notch illustrations and a comprehensive guide you really are in for a treat. The only real downside to the this title is that you have to read the rest of the series to fully understand it even though there’s a great glossary on hand otherwise you won’t get the full flavour of this complicated world that will put a number of adult titles to shame. Seriously good fantasy and one that as an adult I can appreciate as well as savour. Great stuff.

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