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Foundling (Monster Blood Tattoo, Book 1) Paperback – Bargain Price, September 6, 2007

4.5 out of 5 stars 93 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Foundling's Tale Series

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Paperback, Bargain Price, September 6, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 8 Up–This inventive debut novel follows Rossamünd Bookchild, a foundling boy saddled with an unfortunate name, as he ventures out from his childhood home at the orphanage into the wide world of the Half-Continent, a Georgian-esque society where humans wage an unending battle against the shadowy monsters of the wilds. (The tattoo of the series title is the mark given to the slayer of such a beast.) During his journey from boy to man, Rossamünd has his share of adventures, encounters a variety of colorful characters, and learns that the world is more complex and perilous than he was raised to believe. Including an extensive Explicarium (glossary) and pages of maps, diagrams, and character portraits, Cornish's world-building efforts show a depth and intricacy reminiscent of the work of J. R. R. Tolkien or Robert Jordan. While the elaborate jargon may bewilder some, the unique and fascinating Half-Continent, where ships with organic engines sail caustic vinegar oceans and monster-hunters gain supernatural powers through dangerous surgeries, is a delightful, refreshing standout in a sea of cookie-cutter fantasy worlds.–Christi Voth, Parker Library, CO
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Gr. 7-10. "Night, they used to say, was when monsters grew bold, when the knickers roamed and the bogles haunted." Rossamund Bookchild, a boy saddled with a girl's name, journeys from Madam Opera's Estimable Marine Society for Foundling Boys and Girls, assigned to wander the dark roads at dawn and dusk as a lamplighter. In the first book in the Monster Blood Tattoo series, first-time author Cornish gives the Dickensian orphan story an original spin as Rossamund faces a world at war with creatures such as the Grinnlings with their wicked, grinning mouths. The world building of the Half-Continent is expertly envisioned and peopled with intriguing characters: the evil Poundinch (who tricks Rossamund onto the wrong boat early in his travels) and the beguiling Europe, an experienced monster killer (and slayer of men's hearts), who prefers tiny x-shaped tattoos to mark her kills instead of the usual monster-faced blood ones. Readers wanting to immerse themselves further into Cornish's fantastic world can wander for hours through more than 100 pages of glossary ("Explicarium"), detailed maps, and drawings of uniforms and ships. Cornish has added his own impressive black-and-white portraits to give the characters additional substance. At the close, the protagonist is poised for his next adventure, with enough secrets, promises, and mystery to create impatient demand. Cindy Dobrez
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Speak (September 6, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142409138
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142409138
  • ASIN: B004R96U1S
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,039,436 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 15, 2008
Format: Paperback
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 they're more inclined to love the newest sparkly cover that comes down the pike. For us, finding something that is truly original and truly unique is almost impossible. I mean, it's not as if Harry Potter was the first boy to go to wizarding school even. So imagine my surprise when I encountered a truly rare and amazing fantasy world. A place so thoroughly thought out, planned, meticulously recorded, and imagined that it feels less like a fantasy novel and more like the factual memoirs of an alternate world. I'm not exaggerating here. Aussie D.M. Cornish has spent (according to his bookflap) "the last thirteen years bringing the Half-Continent to life." The result is a book that feels like the first true successor to Tolkien I've ever found.

His name is Rossamund Bookchild. Bookchild because he is an orphan raised by a Marine Society and given the same last name of all the children there. Rossamund, normally a girl's name, because that was the name pinned to him when he was left on the steps as a babe. Growing up reading exciting pamphlets recounting daring deeds, Rossamund has a dream of someday becoming a sailor (or vinegaroon) on the vinegar seas where high adventure awaits.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Monster Blood Tattoo: Foundling" is being pushed by its publishers as a great original: "fantastical without conforming to the generally accepted notions of fantasy" (by which they mean that it isn't peopled by wizards and unicorns living in a vaguely European, mock-medieval setting.) The book certainly achieves this goal, although fantasy readers will probably take offense at the insinuation that the genre has nothing but princesses and dragons to offer. Even if this isn't the first fantasy world you encounter with "tri-corner hats and flintlock pistols", there is no denying Cornish's originality. The Half-Continent is a world at war: humans and monsters have been fighting for centuries. Biotechnology supplies light, engine power and even, in some cases, superhuman powers. Our hero, Rossamund, leaves the protected, if not fully comfortable, world of the orphanage where he was raised to start a career as a lamplighter outside the city walls. Early in his travels he is diverted from his true path and we discover the Half-Continent and its inhabitants through his adventures. The world is rendered with thoughtful and convincing detail, complemented by the author's own illustrations and an extensive set of appendices (the "Explicarium".)

In truth, "Foundling" is more of a first act than a first book: characters are introduced, mysteries are suggested, the scene is set; but the arc is not complete. I, for one, eagerly await, Act II.
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Format: Hardcover
It's very difficult these days to write a good fantasy novel. So many of the traditional themes have been so thoroughly thrashed out it takes a truly inspired imagination to come up with anything even remotely original.

It would seem D.A. Cornish has that kind of imagination. From the moment I picked up Monster Blood Tattoo I found myself in a world both utterly convincing in its every detail and completely different to anything I have encountered before. The Wizards wern't invited, it seems. They stayed at home with the Orcs and the Dragons and the Dark Lords. Instead I found Fulgars and Factotums, Foundlings and Skolds, Shrewds and Grinnlings, each living in a world of Flintlocks, Bothersalts, Thrice-Highs and, one of my favourites, "Small Beer". Every aspect of this fascinating new world is described with a masterly hand, from the cities to the lowliest flower, by an author who obviously knows its every blade of grass. The characters are complex, interesting, and totally convincing, from the adventurous Rosammund with his unfortunate name, to the dangerous and deep Europe, the cheerful and dependable Fouracres, and the host of other characters, minor and major who fill the world. It's all real, it's all new, and it's an absolute joy to read.

My congratulations to this first time author. I can't wait to read of our new Lamplighter's first day.
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Format: Hardcover
Picked it up a day or two after it came out. I didn't realize that it was a childrens book, but really enjoyed it. It was a quick read and has set up an interesting world. I must praise the author for his creativeness and can't wait till the next one. I'd even start to say that it compares to Harry Potter but it seemed more complex and more entertaining. A nice summer read for anyone.
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Format: Hardcover
If you are looking for a good book to read, and don't mind starting yet another series to leave unfinished far a time to come then you should definitely read Monster Blood Tattoo. This book doesn't feel like your stereo typical fantasy novel, it has its own unique feel about and it keeps you turning the pages until the book is done. I thought it was going to be slightly childish since it was in the Harry Potter section at Hastings, not that Harry Potter is childish, but you will find that it is satisfying to adults.
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