Rossamund Bookchild (unfortunate name for a boy), a foundling raised in a Marine orphanage, has always dreamed of the dangerous life of a vinegaroon (sailor), hopefully fighting lots of monsters and saving civilization, thereby earning his very own monster blood tattoos. Instead, he’s saved from being the oldest foundling in the building by being recruited by the lamplighters, which sounds quite safe and dull to Rossamund. We join him as he enters the wide world at last, and we all learn a thing or two about where to find real monsters and what’s safe and what isn’t.
I think the cover of this book is a little misleading; while monsters are a big part of this world, they’re not such a big part of this story. This book is mostly laying the foundation for the very rich fantasy world we are entering, which is not to say there’s no excitement, but I worry that readers looking for immediate action and possible gore will be disappointed, while readers who will be enchanted by the richness of this imagined world won’t pick it up! Also, the size of the book is a bit daunting, but almost a quarter of the book is a hefty addendum for the detail oriented.
I really enjoyed this book, and I look forward to moving on to the sequel for more action and to see if my hypothesis of a great secret (I KNOW I know something Rossamund hasn’t yet figured out) is correct. I highly recommend supplementing your reading of this book with a visit to the author’s website as well – a feast for the eyes.