Monster-blood tattoo: tattoos given to someone who has just slain a monster, and made with some of the siphoned blood of that same monster. Once pricked into the skin, the monster’s blood reacts strangely with everyman blood, causing a quickly festering, throbbing sore that eventually sloughs off its scab to reveal permanently port-red to blood-brown marks beneath. These tattoos are usually a highly stylized face based on the bogle the person slew.
FOUNDLING, which is the first book in D.M. Cornish’s Monster Blood Tattoo series, is a fantasy novel with enough eloquence and style to rub elbows with the best of the literary classics. It is a story about an orphaned boy who is chosen to become a lamp-lighter in a monster-ridden area far away from the orphanage in which he lives. This trilogy is high fantasy at its best. It’s like slipping back in time, but taking a wrong turn somewhere along the way into a world full of ghoulies and beasties, quite a few of which are actually the humans trying to “protect” the world from the so-called monsters.