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Foundling (Monster Blood Tattoo, #1)
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Foundling (Monster Blood Tattoo #1)

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  6,480 Ratings  ·  622 Reviews
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 journ ...more
Hardcover, 404 pages
Published May 18th 2006 by Putnam Juvenile
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(showing 1-30)
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Apr 15, 2008 Betsy rated it really liked it
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
Destiny Harding
Nov 10, 2012 Destiny Harding rated it it was amazing
*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
Jun 22, 2015 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
Nathaniel Lee
Apr 03, 2008 Nathaniel Lee rated it it was amazing
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
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 30, 2010 Merrilee rated it liked it
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
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.
Dec 07, 2015 Lisa rated it it was ok
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
Apr 05, 2011 Sue Smith rated it really liked it
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
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 12, 2008 Terri rated it liked it
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 29, 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
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
Dec 05, 2016 CM rated it really liked it
Unique premise, well-constructed world, lovely 18th C Dickensian setting lacquer a disjointed story, flat atmosphere, and thin characters--in a word, stiff, like the book's finely wrought but frustrating illustrations. An interesting read, but not engaging, as though the author was hesitant to let his characters and world truly breathe. All things considered, a B-, and I'm anticipating the other two books in the series.

P.S. I'm giving the book the benefit of the doubt since I'm generally having

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
Jun 20, 2012 Martine rated it it was amazing
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
Angelya (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
Aug 05, 2016 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

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
Krista (I remember you, Min) (Critical)
EEK. Honestly, if I were rating this on how I liked it, it would probably get one star, but since you can really tell the author worked HARD on creating a unique world and interesting characters, I had to give it three. I just didn't like anything about this book. The main character is annoying and whiny (apparently there's a reason for that, but, really, who cares? it doesn't make him any less annoying.) I wouldn't care if every character in this book died. It just didn't interest me in the sli ...more
Sep 13, 2014 Jessica rated it really liked it
When reading "Foundling" by D.M. Cornish, I thought that the book all together was very interesting, especially with occasional illustrations depicting people/monsters. The descriptions, although sometimes wordy, cast vivid scenes of interesting places, environments, and characters. Rossamund is the main character, a "foundling" or orphan who obviously doesn't take much pride in his feminine name and takes up the job of a Lamplighter. From there, his journey takes on a life of its own. Cornish d ...more
biblionatic! (Tiffany Liu)
Oct 08, 2015 biblionatic! (Tiffany Liu) rated it really liked it
Plot-wise definitely only a 3 -- the story is simplistic, and there really isn't much stuff happening within it.
However, I admire Rossamünd's perseverance and his kind heart, though he's rather native. Rarely do I see a character so pure at heart.
The story, though simplistic, explores complex themes such as: are all monsters evil? What of Europe, who can kill an innocent monster without any distress, yet is kind and caring towards Rossamünd -- is she or is she not compassionate?
The world, though
Sarah (Workaday Reads)
This was a fun adventure read that would be great for young boys. It is full of adventure and monsters, features no romance, and has a young boy as the main character. Rossamund is gentle and likeable. Unlike most boy heroes, he is not brash, bold and confident. Instead, he is cautious, scared and nervous about his adventures. He is easy to believe, and even easier to cheer for.

I listened to the audiobook version, and would highly recommend it. The narrator, Humphrey Bower, was exciting and easy
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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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