This is the second installment in the Monster Blood Tattoo trilogy. Starting shortly after Foundling ends, the beginning of Lamplighter finds Rossamünd training to become a lamplighter – one of the group of men who light and douse lamps along roads outside the cities to keep monsters at bay. It’s no surprise to learn that Rossamünd’s luck seems to be the same as it was in the previous book – faced with monsters while training, running into them in the fortress where they are living, not to mention the fact that because of his size Rossamünd has troubles with the usual lamplighter duties.
Part way into their training, the apprentices are joined by a female apprentice, something that normally doesn’t happen. Threnody is a wit (they can hurt other people with their minds*), is moody, and happens to be more disliked than Rossamünd. The two quickly become friends-of-a-sort (meaning, his is the only company she actually puts up with), which works out well for both of them when their graduation from apprentices to full-fledged lamplighters comes early and the two of them are sent out to the most remote and most dangerous location to begin their service as lamplighters. And this is where all the fun (for the reader) really begins.
I completely loved this book. Because I had just read the first book in the trilogy a few weeks ago, it was still fresh in my mind so I didn’t have to worry about the whole “remembering exactly what’s going on and who all these people are!” that usually accompanies books in series’. Much-loved characters reappeared, and there were many other wonderful new characters introduced. I wasn’t as enthralled by the “bad guys” in this book, but I think that’s because the other major characters in this installment got more interesting themseves. And then there was Threnody – ah, how I have that soft spot for bratty characters!
On the topic of Rossamünd, however… well, I want (at some point) to go back and reread the first part of this book, as well as the first book, in order to see if there is any hint to certain developments in character. I don’t want to spoil anything, but suffice it to say that he went to being a very small, ordinary boy, to having superhuman strength in a relatively short period of time. Of course, this could possibly be as a result of some of Rossamünd’s character which hasn’t been revealed yet, but we don’t know that completely yet.
The monsters, and the experiences we have with the monsters, were definitely my favourite parts of the book – they could be quite exciting or charming, depending what kind of monsters you were reading about.
I greatly mourn the fact that I’m going to have to wait for the third book of this trilogy – anyone have any idea when we can be expecting it? As with most of the trilogies I’ve read, it leaves off with some closure but mostly left me wanting – no, needing – to know what happens next. I’ve grown quite attached to little Rossamünd, and want to know exactly what he is and where he came from before arriving on the doorstep of the orphanage! I want to know exactly what the monsters and what his masters know that we don’t! I’m also wondering whether we’ll see more of Threnody in the last installment. So many unanswered questions!