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Lamplighter (Monster Blood Tattoo, Book 2) Hardcover – May 1, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 8 Up—Rossamünd Bookchild has begun his training as a lamplighter, lighting the highways of the Half-Continent and fending off the increasingly frequent attacks by the varied and dangerous monsters of the land. The militaristic lifestyle is rigorous and lonely. His only companion is a fellow outcast, a haughty aristocrat's daughter who is the only girl among the cadets. Rossamünd's alienation grows with his increasing suspicion that not all "boggles" are evil—a philosophy regarded as treasonous in his society. Both the story and the accompanying 90-page "Explicarium" build on and expand the information in Foundling (Putnam, 2006), and reading this book without a firm grounding in the first is not to be attempted. Cornish's rich supporting cast brings together some of the best characters of the previous installment (most notably the captivating, mercenary monster-slayer Europe) with a host of intriguing new personages, including a former lighter who is physically and mentally scarred from a monster attack, a sinister surgeon, and a horrible half-human half-monster construct. Devout fantasy fans will welcome the return to the socially and morally complex world of the Half-Continent and eagerly anticipate the concluding installment.—Christi Esterle, Parker Library, CO
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* In the second book of the Monster Blood Tattoo trilogy, young Rossamünd Bookchild, a lamplighter prentice in the Emperor’s service, has trouble fitting in with the lamplighters, who think he is too small and timid to travel the highways lighting and dousing the lights or to aid travelers facing danger. However, his skills with potives and restoratives earn him a role as dispenser of healing draughts and repellents. Then Threnody, an arrogant young member of a feared society of female monster hunters and a burgeoning wit, is foisted on the lamplighters for training, and she joins Rossamünd as another outsider in the service. The pair face not only bizarre monsters but also treachery on the part of the power-hungry Master-of-Clerks, who usurps the position of the Lamplighter-Marshall and transfers Rossamünd and Threnody to the most dangerous post in the Half-Continent. The setting, characterizations, and relationships are as well limned as in Foundling (2006), and the suspense is palpable as the two young people find themselves facing incredible survival odds. Once again, Cornish’s black-and-white drawings and the Explicarium, a glossary more than 100 pages long, add to the whole, and once again, the conclusion is a cliff-hanger. A most fitting sequel that will leave readers eagerly waiting for the third book. Grades 7-10. --Sally Estes

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 736 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Juvenile; First Edition edition (May 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399246398
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399246395
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 2.2 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #224,026 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Author and illustrator of the Monster-blood Tattoo series.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on May 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover
You can like the first book in a new fantasy series. You can love a first book in a new fantasy series. You can compare that book to the works and worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien or Philip Pullman, if you've half a mind to do so. But no matter how much you love a book, when you see that its sequel is a whopping 711 pages long you may find yourself somewhat reluctant to pick it up. I'm a busy reviewer. I get sent a lot of books to read and I'm only able to review a tiny portion of them. If a book is 711 pages long then it better earn my trust. I'd better be sure that there isn't any needless information there. For all its length this had better be one heckuva lean, exciting, entrancing read. So I hefted this tome (there's no other word for it) around with me and found pretty quickly that not only is Lamplighter, the second book in the Monster Blood Tattoo series, good, it happens to be even better than its predecessor. If Cornish tackled the idea of creating an original world and laying down the foundations in his first book, the second speaks to human prejudice, ignorance perpetuated, and maybe even the author's Australian roots in this remarkable middle book in an increasingly multilayered world.

When last we saw of young Rossamund Bookchild he had successfully arrived at Winstermill, the fortress of the lamplighters. The boy is to learn the dangerous job of keeping the Empire's roads lit at all times, despite the omnipresent fear of monsters on all sides. Because he has arrived a little late Rossamund is considered a bit of a laggard by his fellows. His status changes substantially, however, after a young noblewoman by the name of Threnody also arrives to become a lamplighter (the first female ever, perhaps). She and Rossamund strike up an uneasy friendship and good thing too.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dan S. Tong on November 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you've already read Foundling (Book 1 of the Monster Blood Tattoo series), then you are indeed in for a treat. As much as I liked Foundling, and I loved it and rave about it to anyone who will listen, Lamplighter, is even better. Cornish is one of those rare, master storytellers, who weaves his magic so deftly and so thoroughly, that before you can blink an eyelash, you have totally entered his endlessly inventive, complex, detailed world. You experience the entire range of Rossamund's emotions from alienating loneliness and mind numbing fear, to the excitement of finding a new friend.

Cornish has a way with words, that is evocative of the atmosphere of the Gormenghast novels, as well as the work of the great Jack Vance, but he does all this with his own unique style. He invents words, because our vocabulary simply cannot begin to describe the uniqueness of the denizens and way of life of the Half Continent. This is just part of what makes the book so compelling, charming and so very palpable. It is very, very difficult to not just sit to read it all in one big, long gulp.

Cornish has great psychological insight into Rossamund, and the interaction with all of the other characters in the book. Life indeed is not all black and white, and some of the worst monsters, in fact are human.

In addition to purchasing the first hardcover edition, I'm also listening to the audio book version. First I listen to a chapter or two, then I read the same chapters in the book. I'm going slow, savoring it like the finest meal and I desperately wish it would never end.

Thank you D.M. Cornish for bringing such great pleasure, such an adventure, into my life.

Dan S. Tong
Chicago, IL USA
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 31, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The second book in D.M. Cornish's Monster Blood Tattoo series, Lamplighter, is as engrossing as book one and should grab middle grade students' attention just as much. [ISBN: 978-0399246395; Putnam Juvenile; May 1, 2008; Ages 9-12]

Lamplighter has enough adventure-filled pages to keep boys interested in reading it. With the addition of Threnody to the cast, girls will also find this a good read. Threnody is a valiant young girl determined to make it in a man's world. As the first female ever to be allowed to be a lamplighter, she plays a strong counterpart to Rossamund, our protagonist.

Rossamund is an orphan who has received the king's bullion in payment for services he has yet to render. He is now obligated to work at dusk and dawn, to light and douse the lamps that line the King's Highway. This would be a simple enough job to carry out were it not for the monsters who inhabit the land and attack and feed upon travelers. Because of this, lamplighters are also trained as soldiers. Not only does Rossamund's life hang in the balance every time he goes out to do his job, he also faces dangers within the city walls. It's there he must face people in high places, political "monsters" also intent on doing him harm.

At one level, Lamplighter is a fantastic adventure story that should be made into a film. At a deeper level, it's the story of a boy trying to discover who he is and where he fits in the scheme of things. The power of Lamplighter is that it's written in such a way that it'll be easy for kids of all ages to identify with Rossamund's fears, challenges, failures, defeats, and victories. Monsters are monsters, regardless of what shape they come in. They are things in life that scare us, especially when we're young.
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