jay tee's Reviews > Foundling

Foundling by D.M. Cornish
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's review
Oct 04, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: australian-author, young-adult-fiction

“Not all monsters look like monsters. Some everyday folk are the worst monsters of all...”

If you remember cowering under the sheets as a child, too afraid of the monster under your bed or in the corner of your room to come up for air, then the Monster Blood Tattoo series by D.M. Cornish is for you. Although you may think you’ve outgrown being scared of the dark it’s likely that you still have a few monsters hanging around somewhere and this brilliant series by a youngish South Australian writer is a path that you (no matter what your age) can take towards understanding them.

The story‘s main protagonist, Rossamund Bookchild, a boy with a girl’s name, is found on the doorstep of Madam Opera’s Estimable Marine Society for Foundling Boys and Girls, “with inadequate tags and rotting leaves for swaddling.” His intended career as a Lamplighter is postponed when the unsavoury Rivermaster Poundinch kidnaps Rossamund to work on his rusting vessel, the Hogshead. Thus begins Rossamund’s long journey from childhood’s insecurity, naivety and ignorance.

And it’s lucky for us that it is a long journey. The Monster Blood Tattoo series is a page-turning trilogy which sweeps you into a fantastic world like no other. The language used presents challenges and delights of its own. Sometimes familiar, sometimes strange, the author has invented hundreds of new words to describe the objects and inhabitants of his unique world. What is a skold, sedorner or a scourge? Not what you might think. I also found myself searching for the author’s illustrations of the book’s characters: the Misbegotten Schrewd, gentle Freckle and the magnificent Europe with a claw hairpin plunged like a spear into her tightly drawn topknot bun.

I also like the way the author doesn’t divide his world into good and evil. His characters come in shades of grey, just like us. And just like us they have to find ways to resolve the big paradoxes of life.

The wonderful Monster Blood Tattoo trilogy consists of Book 1 Foundling, Book 2 Lamplighter and Book 3 Factotum.

There’s also a blog for all you sedorners out there: http://monsterbloodtattoo.blogspot.com/

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