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Foundling (Monster Blood Tattoo #1)

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  6,637 Ratings  ·  636 Reviews
In the city of Boschenberg stands Madame Opera's Estimable Marine Society for Foundling Boys and Girls. Within its walls lives an orphan named Rossamund, a young boy with a girl's name. He is about to embark on a journey that will change his life forever.
Paperback, 448 pages
Published January 5th 2008 by Corgi Childrens (first published May 18th 2006)
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Nov 11, 2007 Betsy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
By this point I think the nation's readers of children's fantasy novels have hit a kind of boredom plateau. You get a new fantasy on your desk and you have to tick off the requirements. Alternate world? Orphaned hero or heroine? School for the extraordinary? To a certain extent, a lot of these tried and true stand-bys are essential to a good book. There's a reason they exist, after all. But after reading a bunch of them, reviewers like myself get a little jaded. Kids think everything's new, so t ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by K. Osborn Sullivan for

MONSTER BLOOD TATTOO is an unusual book. Even before I delved into it, I was struck by some of the ways that it's different from other young adult fantasy novels. For one thing, more than a quarter of the book is taken up with an extensive glossary and other appendices. It is also sprinkled with art - typically sketches of characters in the novel. So even before reading a word of the story, I was curious. Surely such an unusual book would be eit
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
Found this one at the library and picked it up for a listen. I found it quite good. The worldbuilding was thorough, including a lexicon of terms especially adapted to the storyline. It's not quite steampunk (no steam tech), but that's probably as close a designation as I can use. There is some advanced tech, including enhanced humans, and primitive gadgetry, and some mad science type elements that bring to mind the steampunk aesthetic, so there you have it. Rossamund was a really great kid--quit ...more
Nathaniel Lee
Apr 03, 2008 Nathaniel Lee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is what "young adult" fiction should be, by all rights. The vocabulary was rich and liberally sprinkled with neologisms that tickled my etymologist's fancy, and the writing was lucid and flowing, keeping me involved with ease.

I was particularly enchanted by the world details that slipped into place; the complex, quasi-magical chemistry; the "vinegar seas" whose acidic waters gave sailors their rugged, pit-faced appearance; the boats powered by "gastrines," basically vat-grown muscles in lar
Destiny Harding
Nov 10, 2012 Destiny Harding rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
*Before I delve in to this review... I admit to being a tad bias. Monster Blood Tattoo has since become one of my favourite series of all time. The rating of this book also depends on the inclinations of the reader... if you are not a fantasy book fan or have trouble immersing in imaginary worlds, you will not like this book.*


Having read the entire series through, I feel that despite the hero being a young boy, Monster Blood Tattoo may not be appreciated by the average youn
Mike (the Paladin)
.....yeah, I gave it 5 stars, huh. Sort of surprised me to.

I didn't go into this expecting a 5 star read. For a while I was even very annoyed with the main character...Rossamünd Bookchild, the boy with the girl's name. (I don't want to spoil the book for anyone especially as I think it's an excellent read, really a great read). Anyway, for a while I was so annoyed with the kid I wanted to slap him up-side the head and say, "think"!

But then I took a deep breath...calmed myself and thought, "how y
Mar 23, 2008 R.J. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a re-read, as I've been reading the series aloud to my youngest son, who adores all things large, scary and monstrous. The story meanders around a bit at first (rather like its boy hero, in fact!), and the prose can be unnecessarily florid and at times nearly opaque in its lavish use of invented vocabulary. But I've said, and I'll stand by my assertion, that D.M. Cornish is the most comprehensive and immersive world-builder since Tolkien.

He's also created a fantastic array of distinct an
Robin Wiley
Tolkien loved inventing languages, and designed Middle Earth, and wrote Lord of the Rings to have someplace to put those languages.

DM Cornish is an illustrator, and has been drawing characters, creatures and maps for years, and wrote this book to have someplace to put them.

The world, called the Half Continent - is GINORMOUS. The map is roughly 8 x 10, and the book covers about a square inch...of the world, and this is the first book. Lots of potential here.

World of Dickens, with alchemy and iron
colleen the convivial curmudgeon
I'm not really sure waht to say about this book. It wasn't bad, really, but it wasn't very good, either. I think some of the ideas and people were interesting enough that it could've been better - even though there were some times where I was rolling my eyes because the conveniences and stupidity at times sort of strained credulity.

One of the things I liked most about the book was (view spoiler)
Courtney Nicole
•I messed up with this book.
•Usually when I know I'm going to give up on a book I get ready to search how it ends because although I don't want to spend anymore time reading it, sometimes I still want to know (quickly) how everything turned out. Well, for this one, before I even decided fully I wanted to stop reading It I had already found myself reading the summary of the book.. Whoops. I guess subconsciously I did end up deciding.
•I at least gave it until 1/3 of the way through! (By the wa
I really wanted to like this book. The author's illustrations were evocative and he obviously spent a lot of time developing the world. The problem is: I think he spent too much time world building and not enough story building. The whole book reads like one long introduction. The author spends so much time inventing new pseudo-Germanic words for things (including a lot of things, like lanterns and history, that already have names) that a quarter of the book is taken up by the glossary even thou ...more
May 16, 2010 Merrilee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Merrilee by: Tama Wise
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy
I was actually more than a little disappointed by this book. Cornish has built a wonderful world, full of fascinating people and places. Unfortunately he felt the need to share every detail with the reader. This book was not so much a novel as a prologue, and for two-thirds of the book, the main character Rossamund just wanders around, having things happen to him.

When he finally gets a little gumption and the story starts moving, the novel ends. And the last 120 pages are glossaries.

I can see
Jun 11, 2008 MJ rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, children-s
I tried so hard to read this fantasy but it was just a little too "precious." D.M. Cornish had his own illustration--very nice. Boy with a girl's name is raised in Madam Opera's Estimable Marine Society for Foundling Boys and Girls. Lots of made up vocabulary and I just couldn't get into it. This is the first book of several and I think that children of 9-11 with the patience to read "clever" writing might like it a lot more than I did.
Full review:

Pretty much, not sure why I gave this book 2 whole stars. It's a gigantic info dump, a character that acts and is treated like a child much younger than I think he was actually supposed to be. It's message is as subtle as a billy club to the face. The concept was the only thing about this book that worked for me.
Sue Smith
Mar 12, 2011 Sue Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There aren't too many books that I come across and get totally surprised by,but this one happened to be one of them. Don't ask me why exactly - I think there were a number of factors that played into the whole.

Firstly, it goes without saying that I love a book with maps. I have this NEED to see where they are and what's around them - regardless if it's real or ficticious. I'm visual and I like to 'see'. Such a silly thing really, but I don't know how many books I've read that I've wished they'd
Aug 28, 2009 Cindy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: must-reads
There are very few teen fantasy titles that come along that I find myself raving to all my co-workers about. And I mean ALL of my co-workers. I don't care if you haven't read a teen novel in years, I'm throwing this one at you.

The unfortunately named Rossamund (yes, he's a boy and we'll call him Rosie for short) is a foundling, raised in an orphanage where he has little hope of any real future but dreams of a life at sea. Fate, however, has other things in store for him--Rosie has been tapped to
Jun 07, 2008 Terri rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
Rossamund, a boy abandoned as a baby, is raised as a foundling in an orphanaged. When he gets older, he is recruited to be trained as a Lamplighter. But the boy gets on the wrong ship and the adventures start.

This is the first book in a series and felt very incomplete to me. I realize they are setting the stage for many future adventures and introducing characters (some of which are very interesting like Europe, the monster killer, and Fouracres) But this book really failed to excite me.

Aug 09, 2011 Farrah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am so happy to know there are two more books in this series. I cannot wait to read them. Not since Harry Potter have I been pulled into such a peculiar world filled with lahzars, fulgars, leers, bogles, and nuglugs. DM Cornish has created a magical place without having any mention of magic, wizardry, or dark arts. I highly recommend this book for those that like to escape into a fictional world of amazing complex characters and grand scenes. It is a must read!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 08, 2009 Donna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
Well that sounds interesting, doesn’t it? I certainly thought it did! And it's the best place to start because that blurb drew me in pretty quickly. Unfortunately that piece is a bit misleading. I don’t know about you but from reading that, I thought those would be adventures he’d be taking while working as a lamplighter. It certainly insinuates that, don’t you think?

But that would have to be a no. The whole book, all 311 (not including the 121 pages of reference) pages, is about Rossamund getti
Книжни Криле
„Monster Blood Tattoo” или „Татуировка с чудовищна кръв” може и да звучи като име на хеви метъл албум, но всъщност това е заглавието на фентъзи трилогията на Дейвид М. Корниш (изд. „MBG Books”). И съдейки по „Сирак”, първата й част (която е и дебют за своя автор), това трябва да е една от най-готините младежки фентъзи поредици, издавани през последните години у нас! Прочетете ревюто на "Книжни Криле":
Mary Ellen
4.79 stars! I can't give it a full five because- it wasn't an absolute page turner. I was able to set this book down quite a few times. BUT - I kept picking it back up! Usually if I can't finish a book in 2 or 3 settings, it's just not going to happen. But it took me quite a few days to finish! I already have the second one and I can't wait to get started.
Jaz (Cloud Child )

One of my all time favourite fantasy series. This story is thoroughly within its own original world and own dictionary. Enough to be understood by the layman however well in need of a glossary which is helpfully added at the end taking up 40% of the book!
Each chapter also begins with an unfamiliar word and its definition giving clues to what next is to unfold. Illustrations of the characters and monsters mentioned are spread throughout the chapters.

This is the world of the Half-Continent is
Imagine living in a world, where pirates are called vinegaroons because the colored seas smell like vinegar. Imagine living in a world that’s inhabited by monsters, where every day can become a fight for survival. And now, imagine the hero of the story in this world has a girl’s name, is lame at stick –fighting and making knots but good with letters and math. Meet Rossamünd Bookchild, who is, like all the other book children, a foundling.
Now, I could mope why all the good heroes grow up parent-l
Anni (Tea in the Treetops)
Review originally posted on The Oaken Bookcase on July 23, 2012.

A quick note on the Audio book version: I didn't feel this book translated well to audio format at all. The paper version has an enormous glossary at the back, illustrations and maps. The story itself, however, was brilliant.

Foundling is the first part in the story of Rossamünd, the orphan boy with a girl’s name. Teased mercilessly by the other children at Madam Opera’s Estimable Marine Society for Foundling Boys and Girls, he
May 23, 2014 Jesse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An enchanting book full of unforgettable characters, crazy adventures, and a good solid story--and if that isn't enough, absolutely brilliant illustrations, a glossary so huge it's practically a book of its own, and maps of such intrigue and quality I've never seen before! Wow!! What a treasure!!!

There is a lot to like, here, and much of it is a breath of fresh air. Though fantasy, of a sort, it is set in a time period roughly equivalent to the first half of our 19th century. I was fascinated by
Jun 02, 2011 Loren rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

Every once in a blue moon you happen across a novel that pulls everything together, bundling interesting characters, big themes, an engaging plot and a winning style into a single package. But such books are rare. Even an extremely talented author has a hard time producing more than one in a career. Still, efforts that fall short of that Platonic ideal often excel in a narrower range, making up for their deficiencies with depth in other areas. One such example is D.M. C
This is the book that made me fall in love with reading.

As far as world building goes, it doesn't get better than this. I feel that words are too insignificant to describe how much I love this book and series, as lame as that may sound. Everything is so perfect. And Europe! I love Europe! You know how Dumbledore always knows exactly what to say, and delivers it with calm and grace? That's how Europe is, only she's an awesomely dressed monster killer. Badass to the max! I'm fangirling, you guys.
May 23, 2010 gina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would put this series right up there with The Haunting of Derek Stone, Vampirates, The Spooks Apprentice, and the 100 Cupboards series.

I loved the imaginative world Cornish has created. At first you almost feel as though the world is real or based on some real history of a civilization you remember reading about in school... but then you realize it is distinctly it's own world. It is colorful and dark, it feels both huge because of it's newness to you but also small enough to be traversed and
This was pure listening pleasure. The narrator is the master of all kinds of British (and even some French and German) accents and he makes this a fun and easy thing to listen to. Which is quite an accomplishment when you think of all the made up words in this world. The author (an Aussie I found out after a bit of reading!) has dedicated quite a bit of his life to creating an imaginative and thoroughly original world.

It is a world of monsters. Of boggles and grindlings (sp?) with various levels
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Is this really Steampunk? 13 56 Apr 06, 2015 09:52PM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: #97: Foundling by D.M. Cornish 1 2 Oct 12, 2013 06:28PM  
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D. M. Cornish (born 1972) is a fantasy author and illustrator from Adelaide, South Australia. His first book is Foundling, the first part of the Monster Blood Tattoo trilogy. The second book named Lamplighter was released in May 2008. The third in the series is yet to be named.

D.M. Cornish was born in time to see the first Star Wars movie. He was five. It made him realize that worlds beyond his ow
More about D.M. Cornish...

Other Books in the Series

Monster Blood Tattoo (3 books)
  • Lamplighter (Monster Blood Tattoo, #2)
  • Factotum (Monster Blood Tattoo, #3)

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