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Lamplighter: Monster Blood Tattoo Book Two    by D. M. Cornish order for
by D. M. Cornish
Order:  USA  Can
Putnam, 2008 (2008)

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* * *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

This is the second book in D. M. Cornish's Monster Blood Tattoo series. Lamplighter is just as detailed as Foundling, but much more happens, making the book twice as long. As the story picks up where the first episode left off, with little exposition, it is good to read the two books in order.

Rossamünd Bookchild has arrived at his post as a prentice lamplighter. What he once thought would be a boring job turns out to be anything but. Shortly after arriving at Winstermill, Rossamünd's brigade of prentice lamplighters is attacked by monsters. They win along with calendars, a group of female lahzars, although some of their number are lost. The group was on their way to Winstermill because the youngest, a wit named Threnody, wants to become a lamplighter. This is unheard of, but because she is the daughter of the Lady Vey, the lamplighters accept her.

As Rossamünd is the only one who can tolerate Threnody, she quickly latches on to him. However, Rossamünd has a new friend of his own, a seltzerman named Numps. Numps teaches Rossamünd about seltzering, and even shows him a secret bloom bath. On the way back from the bloom bath, Rossamünd encounters a rever-man in the impenetrable fort. Before anyone can get to the bottom of the rever-man, the Lamplight-Marshall is called to the empirical court and the devious Master-of-Clerks takes charge. To everyone's surprise, he calls Billeting Day early, sending the inexperienced prentices to their first billets. Rossamünd is sent to Wormstool, the last lone stop on the Wormsway. Threnody changes her billet so she can accompany him, but they find a bigger adventure than either bargained for.

Lamplighter starts by immersing the reader in action in Cornish's elaborate fantasy world. While longer than Foundling, this sequel is more action-packed, which keeps readers engaged. Plus, Rossamünd is very likeable, especially as his secret history starts to emerge. Cornish brings back some favorite characters from the first Monster Blood Tattoo book, but also introduces new and unforgettable ones. Lamplighter ends on a bigger cliffhanger than Foundling, leaving readers eagerly anticipating D. M. Cornish's next Monster Blood Tattoo installment. The is a great series that is sure to please readers of all ages.

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