by D. M. Cornish
This novel was a pleasant surprise for me. From the rather awful title and cover, I pictured an intense horror story filled with evil, haunting monsters . . . but thank goodness it was nothing like that.
Rossamund, a boy at Madame Opera's Marine Society for Foundling Boys and Girls, longs for adventure. When a man comes looking for a boy to hire, he sets off at last on a journey to become a lamplighter for the Emperor.
At times Rossamund seemed a little too simple of a character, but the other characters definitely made up for that. I especially liked Europe and Freckles. The different monsters and bogles were interesting to read about as well. Most of the descriptions were very cool, making you picture the scene perfectly, but some were a little overdone.
I was deeply impressed by the author's hugely in-depth world-building skills. One third of the book is an appendix, with the meanings of different terms he's invented for the world of the "Half Continent". I loved the author's illustrations in each chapter as well.
All-in-all this was a fun tale of adventure that will amuse and intrigue readers of fantasy. I most likely will pick up the sequel.