Foundling is the first in D.M. Cornish’s YA Monster Blood Tattoo series.

From the bio, I gather Cornish was an artist first, and then writer. Certainly the illustrations are intriguing and I will enjoy sharing them with girl1 once she’s a tad bit older (there’s some scary stuff in the books, with attacks by goblins resulting in death, but so far no “adult” content).

I enjoyed the books. Okay, so part of my brain was saying “this is a horation hornblower plus Cecilia Dart-Thornton’s first fantasy series plus like an obvious-to-me dash of “he’s really got monster blood in him although he looks human”, but…. it was fun to read! The main character is believable juvenile, and the author does a good job of keeping him in the dark while revealing all to the reader.

It’s the story of Rossamund, who is a foundling, and is hired by the army but is waylaid by a nefarious boat captain, meets a volatile magic user codependent noble lady and a helpful postman before he can report to duty. In his journey a world where people live in fortified towns fearful of the monsters outside is revealed. Except, Rossamund realizes as he travels, that the monsters aren’t all terrible beasts, and some humans can act very cruelly indeed.

There’s a victorian gothic/steampunk feel to the whole thing.

Very Recommended.