Monster Blood Tattoo 3: Factotum by D M Cornish

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Monster Blood Tattoo 3: Factotum by D M Cornish
Buy Monster Blood Tattoo 3: Factotum from

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Genre: Teens
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Sophisticated worldbuilding, class writing and a host of memorable characters make this an unforgettable fantasy series. Factotum made me cry at the end and is a fitting end to the trilogy. I should say that it's a book for the fan of the genre rather than the casual reader.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 720 Date: October 2010
Publisher: David Fickling
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 0385611978

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Foundling Rossamund Bookchild has become factotum (personal servant) to teratologist (monster-hunter) Europe. There's no more lamplighting for him, now he's been accused and knows something of his origins. Living with the fallout, Rossamund accompanies Europe on a monster-hunting tour. But they've made enemies and the long-dormant Monster Lords are awakening. As Europe begins to teach Rossamund about the blurred lines between good and evil and that monsters don't have a monopoly on brutality and treachery, you really have to wonder if our foundling can escape an inevitable tragedy...

I don't really want to say too much about Factotum in case you are new to this rich and wonderful fantasy trilogy. Too much of what happens rests on what has gone before in books one and two. Suffice it to say that it's a wonderful conclusion to the series. It's rich and vivid and complicated, and it requires a great deal from its gentle protagonist Rossamund. The supporting cast is dense and three-dimensional, with Europe being my particular favourite. I won't forget this particular monster hunter for a long time.

It's a brick of a book, with the narrative running to more than six hundred pages and the associated notes and explicarium adding another hundred. This book is all about its worldbuilding, which is some of the finest I've ever read - deep and complex and utterly thought-through. Here, I should sound a warning bell - Monster Blood Tattoo is written for the fan of this kind of fantasy and it's a triumph. But for the casual reader it may well seem overwhelming and far too dense for an enjoyable read. This isn't a book for children who like high-octane, page-turning, adrenalin-fuelled adventures. But for those whose bag it is, there really isn't anything better out there.

(Sshh, but I cried. At the end. Again.)

My thanks to the good people at David Fickling for sending the book.

If they love extensive worldbuilding and big, colourful characters, they'll also enjoy Mariah Mundi (The Midas Box) by G P Taylor and Gullstruck Island by Frances Hardinge.

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