Foundling: Book 1 of the Monster Blood Tattoo by D.M. Cornish Here it is, the last book on my little journey (not really...I'm in the middle of two or three right now and intend to count them all up until midnight on December 31). This book was one displayed on a table with a multitude of other paperbacks at Borders. The dark, steampunk fantasy cover drew me over. I flipped through and was thrilled at the fact that there were pencil sketch illustrations. Not many, just enough to flavor the text. I didn't actually pick the book up to read, however, until my vacation (and yes, this review is a while in coming, heh. I'm lazy). This book is exactly what I'd hoped from the cover (go figure!). Steampunk fantasy, a world where the land is ravaged by monsters and those who hunt them to gain the monster blood tattoo marks of valor are both revered and reviled. The seas are harsh acid, the ships propelled with muscles. The world is rich in vocabulary, which sounds ridiculous, but I love a well-constructed completeness if an author chooses to create a new living space for characters, complete with dialect, costuming, food, and religions. This book delivers, especially in the girl-named boy Rossamund, the darling hero of the book. He's stalwart and very true to life, with emotions, moments of breakdown, and a strong, ten-year-old passion about the world in general. Each character and type of character is unique, from the very rigid bookclerks to the strange and beautiful lahzar (monster hunters who have their organs surgically altered to allow them fighting powers) Europe. Many of these main characters have each a full page sketch to show some of the expression, clothing, and personality that person possesses. The sequel to this novel will be coming out in April of next year. I will be eagerly awaiting the next foray of Rossamund into the world of the lamplighters. He'll be a great, if unfortunately named, little stop on my tour of books in 2008. ;)