©2006 D.M. Cornish; (P)2007 Random House Inc. Listening Library, an imprint of the Random House Audio Publishing Group
"A delightful, refreshing standout in a sea of cookie-cutter fantasy worlds." (School Library Journal)
This book is an amazing mixture of Treasure Island, Oliver Twist and Frankenstein, but it's much better than any of those. The Half Continent is a dangerous place and is populated with fascinating characters. Rosamund is a boy cursed with a girl's name, and his adventures as he travels from an orphanage to his first posting in the service of the Emperor will keep you on the edge of your seat. The foreshadowing is masterful. The audiobook is wonderful, I hear something new every time I listen. You really do need the print version as well. Have you ever read an illustrated book where the artist didn't bother to read the story? Well, that's not a problem here. This book started out as an art student's portfolio, and there is also an "Explicarium" to help you keep track of all the new words, people and places you will encounter.
It's short (compared to some of my favorites), but what it lacks in size it makes up for in content. The level of detail is perfect, the world and characters are believable, and the story is interesting and fun. This series is definitely targeted for readers younger than myself, but it's one of those that's written well enough to be enjoyed by all. (Examples of other books targeted for younger readers I've enjoyed include the Bartimaeus series, Lord of the Rings, Ender's Game, the Discworld books, the Wheel of Time series, etc.).
I solemnly swear that I am addicted to stories. Reading stories, watching stories, and hearing stories. They surround me. :-)
This review is a long time in coming. I first purchased this audio book on a whim back in 2007. Probably close to the time it first came out. At that time I had no idea who D.M. Cornish was, and had very little idea of what the book was about. I certainly didn't expect the rich and wonderfully detailed world that I found within. Not that I can say I regret it in the least. :-)
The Monster Blood Tattoo trilogy/series (In the US: The Foundling's Tale), is a classic adventure in many ways. There is an Orphaned boy. He goes on an adventure. Mysterious things happen. His prior views of the world are brought into question. The character grows... But the texture and detail of the world that it takes place in takes a fairly basic (though enjoyable) tale and turns it into something much more. This story has stood the test of time with me. I do not listen to it constantly, but it is a story that I come back to again and again. The trilogy is over, but I cannot wait for this man to write another book.
As for this particular book in the series, it is a gentle start. It reads as though it was written with children in mind, but for kids that are able to stomach a bit of fighting here and there and even the occasional scary moment. Nothing too horribly graphic in this story, but if you have a sensitive or very young child I suggest listening to it once first.
The reader has a very pleasant voice. Not too deep, not to high and his accent adds an extra sense of mystique to the story.
In short, this is a fantastic series that should be on every fantasy and adventure lovers shelf. If you happen to be a child, that's fantastic and I hope your imagination adds even more depth to this already fabulous world, but if you are an adult don't let that scare you away. If you like fantastical tales, adventures, and stories where the main character goes on a quest to ultimately find themselves at the end of it, then this is a good story for you.
Very interesting story with great detail on this fantasy world. Reminds me of Harry Potter and Charles Dickens with a little Master and Commander thrown in!
The narrater is AWESOME! I thought they had gotten a cast of actors to do this book when I first started listening; but then I realized that this narrater was actually doing all the different characters himself! Humphrey Bower has this wonderful British accent and presents an amazing range of different accents throughout the book. He really makes the story come alive. Would love to read more books with this narrator, hope Audible will offer more books with Humphrey Bower as narrator.
Hardcore audiobook nerd.
DM Cornish has created a world so immersive and detailed that all you want is more. He has created his own slang and introduces it throughout each of the three books so expertly. To top of the BRILLIANCE of his story, Humphrey Bower truly gives us one of the most stellar performances that I have ever heard. You will fall in love with Rossamund and all of the other characters that DM Cornish and Humphrey Bower make come alive.
I'm not a fantasy person and this book took me awhile to get into it. No, it is not real, but the story is captivating. The little foundling raised in an orphanage (It's my term, not theirs). What an adventure. I was very captivated and got the next 2 books. OK, I'm in love with the narrator, Humphrey Bower. He can make eating crackers sound exciting. You will not be disappointed.
It is very obvious from the outset that this novel was written to serve as the set up for the series. As such, It was for me o.k. but as a standalone novel it left me unfulfilled but it had enough good characters and unusual characters that I will listen to the next installment. Humphrey Bower is outstanding as always. I know that it is his job but his ability to do so many characters is truly astounding, you are left with the impression that the narration is done by a cast.
This book combines elements of Treasure Island, Oliver Twist and Frankenstein. A boy cursed with a girl's name, Rosamund has had a difficult life in the orphanage. It was made bearable by three adult staff members who have taken care of him since the day he was left on the doorstep. He longs for a life at sea, like his hero Master Fransitart, but instead is selected to become an apprentice lamplighter. Foundling tells the story of his travels through an amazing world called the Half Continent, and the many terrifying, bizarre and interesting people he meets along the way. D.M. Cornish has invented whole new languages that sound really familiar. One of my favorite things about this book is the masterful foreshadowing. All the clues are there, if only you pay attention.
Rosamund meets a glammergorn, a small monster, called Freckle, who seems to know all about Rosamund. They have a long conversation, but Rosamund ends up with more questions than answers.
Rosamund meets Mr. Fouracres, a postman. Fouracres is the first person Rosamund has ever met who not only has conversations with monsters, but admits to having them as friends.
Foundling - A Tale of the Half Continent
Humphrey Bower does an amazing job narrating this story. He has to create a wide variety of voices for non-humans.
Since it has been a long time since Harry Potter it was fun to experience this story. And Humphrey Bower is fantastic!
Such a wonderful gem! All 3 books are worth your listening credits, and this, the first book, doesn't disappoint. If you are tired of listening to "my pretty pony/puppy/fairy" with your kids, then this is the book for all of you! D.M. Cornish has created an entirely believable world, populated with utterly believable characters.
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