After reading the first book in Australian DM Cornish’s Monster Blood Tattoo series, I reserved a copy of the second title in the series, Lamplighter at the Beaverton library. It took this long for me to move up on the reserved list, and then read the more-than-600-page book.

But it was worth it. The second book starts up right where the first leaves off, with the foundling Rossamund arriving at Winstermill to become an apprentice lamplighter (kind of like miltary highwayman), fighting monsters, feeling bad about killing monsters, and finding hints that his world isn’t as clean and simple as it appears.

What I love about this series is the palpable love for language. I did find it sometimes annoying to have to flip to the glossary at the end of the book so many times just to remember what a certain word in Rossamund’s world meant, but mostly I just enjoyed how each word was both near and far enough from our English to have meaning. (puncting for tattoo, leer for a person who can “see” monsters, etc)

Rossamund is still sympathetic and noble, and while the minor characters tend to share the same traits (exchanging moody and temperamental female magic-wielding companion Europa for moody and temperamental female magic-wiedling companion Threnody, for example) one doesn’t mind so much.

My biggest gripe with the writing is that once in a while it felt like the describing of the world and its various interesting aspects got in the way of the story more than others, and I kind of had to skim over those parts.

However, that might just be a personal preference on my part. Alas, the third in the series doesn’t come to the US until NEXT YEAR!

So I’ll have to wait for the (Oh so obvious to all) big revelation of Rossamund’s monster blood until then.

Recommended for those who’ve read the first book.

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