Foundling by D. M. Cornish
I recently went to a SCBWI conference and was an avid listener as speaker after speaker spoke about what makes for effective writing. One thing that was mentioned is that good books need a hook – some way to grab their audience and not let go until the last page is turned at 3:00 in the morning.
For me, I was hooked by Foundling, the first book of the Monster Blood Tattoo series by D. M. Cornish. Although the basic premise is similar to many other books – a young orphan starts off to make his way in the world – what captivated me was how fully realized is the world of the Half-Continent the orphan Rossamund lives in.
Having lived in Madame Opera’s Estimable Marine Society for Foundling Boys and Girls all his young life, he’s an innocent who’s only caught glimpses of the wider world through the adventure pamphlets a kind housekeeper would bring to him. When he leaves to start a career as a lamplighter and takes a fateful wrong turn, he discovers a place both wilder and stranger than those stories could ever convey. The monsters that surround him are both bigger, badder and more complex, and many times, human.
To visit the Half-Continent and travel with Rosamund on his journeys, D.M. Cornish has given us a travelogue lush with language. Illustrated plates by the author give us glimpses into the characters we will meet, and a lengthy explicarium provides additional information for the true explorer of the Half-Continent. Recommended.
Written by Veronica in February of 2009. Last edited March 2009.