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From the Foundling's Tale series, volume 2

by D.M. Cornish & illustrated by D.M. Cornish

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: April 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-399-24639-5
Publisher: Putnam

Cornish again buries a likable protagonist and perfectly viable plot under a mountain of obscure words and pretentious prose in this overweight sequel (Foundling, 2006). Young Rossamünd has begun his apprenticeship as a lamplighter, venturing out daily to light and douse highway lamps. With monsters everywhere, lamplighters are also fighters, killing every bugaboo, bogle and nicker in sight. Challenging society’s pure hatred of monsters is criminal, but Rossamünd privately doubts this dogma, having met one personally. Meanwhile, corrupt, high-ranking officials covertly create zombie-like monsters from discarded organs. Cornish characterizes Rossamünd with a light touch, fear and sadness mingling with hints about unusual roots, as he does Numps, mentally wounded from a monster attack and living underground with his “friend,” a plant that makes lamps glow. However, the turgid narrative voice clashes with Rossamünd’s gentleness as he ponders moral subtleties in a forcefully verbose prose, crammed with archaic English words on top of a fantasy terminology that apparently requires a 94-page glossary (which, despite its length, often fails to clarify). (glossary, appendices) (Fantasy. 10-14)