Top critical review
5 people found this helpful
Fun kick-off to new trilogy
on 12 June 2007
I saw some of the illustrations for D.M. Cornish's new book, The Foundling, and was intrigued by the world he had created, so I bought a copy. It's the story of Rossamünd, a boy with a girl's name. He is a foundling, or orphan, who is given a job as a lamplighter and must make his way to a new city to take up his position. However, the Half-Continent, where he lives, is a place of monsters and bogles ready to tear any human apart as soon as he or she steps outside the safety of their cities.
The Foundling is rather like what Dickens would have written had he been a fantasy writer in the 21st century. There is some Victorian steampunk charm mixed in with menace and grit. It is a mixture of the historically familiar and the imaginatively fantastic.
D.M. Cornish has created the world of the Half-Continent completely from his imagination- people, countries, cities, mosters, terminology, vocabulary, and usually these are things I love in my fantasy. This is why I love Dune by Frank Herbert and The Keltiad by Patricia Kennealy-Morrison (despite the latter's blatant use of Mary Sue and of fiction as wish-fulfillment). However, here, I needed to look at the glossary once too often to remind myself what was going on. This was definitely enjoyable, but is too idiosyncratic at first glance. This is a world for people planning on becoming die-hard Rossamünd fans.
As with a lot of new fiction aimed at younger audiences, I feel that the marketing is trying to promote it as the new Harry Potter. This is nothing like J.K. Rowling's series, but perhaps the publishing house, and not the author, is trying the catch onto the "next best thing", the next mania with everyone using invented words that enter into everyday speech.
The Foundling is interesting and fun, but I will be waiting for the next volume, Lamplighter, to come out in paperback.