Reviews provided by Syndetics
School Library Journal Review
Gr 8 Up-This concluding chapter in Cornish's epic trilogy begins with Rossamund arriving at the sprawling city of Brandenbrass in the company of his new mistress, Europe. The haughty monster-slayer has taken him under her wing after using her aristocratic privilege in Lamplighter (Putnam, 2008) to save him from accusations that he is a rossamunderling, a monster in human form. But all of Europe's renown and influence cannot protect him from the rumors that follow in his wake or the enemies that dog him, nor can they quell his own doubts. As befits the final installment in a coming-of-age tale, Rossamund finds himself awed by his newfound responsibility and freedom, unsure of whom to trust, and faced with questions of his identity and true place in the world. The action-laden narrative sweeps from the high-society intrigues of Brandenbrass to a monster-hunt in the untamed wilderness as the protagonists encounter crime lords, bizarre cultists, and even the reclusive monster-lords who play out their own agendas. As with the previous installments, the main attraction is the depth of Cornish's extraordinary Half-Continent and its inhabitants, who are realized in lively detail and given delicious Dickens-meets-Rowling names like Pater Maupin and Anaesthesia Myrrh. The "Explicarium" at the book's conclusion proves once more invaluable in sorting out the names and terminology, but some readers may wish to have the previous books on hand to refresh their memories.-Christi Esterle, Parker Library, CO (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Factotum (personal assistant) Rossamünd Bookchild and his chief, Lady Europa of Naimes, return for further adventures pursuing monsters across the Half-Continent, but more serious threats loom for Rossamünd and his master as they wait to learn whether he is human or a monster himself. Rich in detail, vocabulary (vinegaroons, gastrines, teratologists), and memorable characters, this conclusion to the Foundling's Tale trilogy continues a mildly Pinocchio-flavored high fantasy that is augmented by illustrations, maps, appendixes, and a thorough glossary. Take care, though, as readers will need all the background from previous books before plunging into this one.--Welch, Cindy Copyright 2010 Booklist
Horn Book Review
Learning he is a monster in the shape of a boy, Rossam|nd is torn between loyalty to his brave monster-fighting mistress and the world of monsters where he belongs. This dense, engrossing book requires immersion in Cornish's invented world and language. The plot build-up is leisurely, but the exciting final sequence and emotional conclusion are rich rewards. Glos. (c) Copyright 2011. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Book Review
Cornish finishes off his Foundling's Tale trilogy (originally dubbed Monster Blood Tattoo) while repeatedly coming perilously close to finishing off his central characters in a riveting string of brangles with bogles and even more vicious human foes. Taking Tolkien-esque pains to lay out his settinglike the previous episodes, this one closes with nearly 100 pages of new maps, charts, elegant fashion plates and invented vocabularythe author sends deceptively human-looking protagonist Rossamnd and his new employer, the prickly and renowned monster-slayer Europe, to the great city of Brandenbrass, then out monster-hunting into the countryside in an effort to escape a powerful crime lord and finally back to Brandenbrass for a hard-fought final struggle. Along with many splendid names (Pragmaths Carp, Anaesthesia Myrrh) and linguistic fancies (the art of reanimating corpses is dubbed "fabercadavery,") the author laces his rococo but fluent narrative with moral and ethical conundrums, twists both terrible and tongue in cheek, startling revelations about humans and "monsters" alike and sturdy themes of loyalty, courage and self-realization. Readers new to the series should start with the first volume; fans will be more than satisfied. (Fantasy. 12-15, adult)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.