Cornish, D.M.: Lamplighter.

Author:Scanlon, Donna
Position:Lamplighter: Monster Blood Tattoo, Book Two - Young adult review - Book review

CORNISH, D.M. Lamplighter. (Monster Blood Tattoo, BookTwo.) Penguin. 710p. illus, maps. c2008. 978-0-399-24639-5. $19.99. JSA

In this second volume of the series, Rossamund Bookchild is now an apprentice lamplighter in the Emperor's service. The responsibility of the lamplighters is to light the way along the Emperor's highways and protect travelers from the monsters that run wild across the Half-Continent. Just as in the previous book, Foundling, Rossamund is the smallest and weakest in the group, and he is not much happier than he was at the orphanage where he was raised. At least the lamplighters have a common purpose, as he learns when he helps defend a coach from a monster attack, although he has no idea how that carriage will change his life. One of the passengers is Threnody, a strong-willed girl determined to apprentice with the lamplighters, and she replaces Rossamund as the primary object of scorn.

Cornish's books are richly complex, packed with intricate plots, maps and illustrations, characters with Dickensian names and an entirely new vocabulary, spelled out in the glossary called the "explicarium." It is essential to read the books in order; many of the entries in the explicarium in Book Two refer the reader to Book One. The Half-Continent is an entirely original work of imagination and creativity; it is a world as carefully developed as Middle Earth and one in which the reader...

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