Lamplighter, by D. M. Cornish

Rossamund’s internals gripped and a yelp of terror was strangled as it formed. A dark, monstrous thing was rising from the rear of the park-drag. Massive horns curled back from its crown; the slits of its eyes glowed wicked orange. Threwd exploded like pain up the back of Rossamund’s head as the carriage shot by, the stench of the horn-ed thing upon it rushing up his nostrils with the gust of their passing.
Some boys wailed.
“Frogs and toads!” Grindrod cursed. “The carriage is attacked!”

As he trains as an apprentice lamplighter, Rossamund Bookchild finds life difficult. As if the long days of training were not enough, now the Fortress is becoming increasingly under attack from monsters. Out on the road on a lamplighting shift Rossamund witnesses a carriage being attacked. One of its passengers is a young wit, on her way to the fortress to try to become a lamplighter. As Rossamund and threnody forge an uneasy friendship, life at the fortress becomes increasingly dangerous and unpredictable. Rossamund is making friends, but he’s also making plenty of enemies.

Lamplighter is the second book in the Monster Blood Tattoo Series. This lengthy hardcover volume will delight young fantasy fans, with plenty of monsters, lots of twists and turns and adventures both frightening and exciting. For those who have read the first book, there are more hints and revelations about Rossamund’s past, and the reappearance of many of the characters from the earlier book. For those new to the series, Lamplighter can be read alone, though readers will enjoy the stories more if they are read in order.

A gripping adventure for fantasy fans aged 10 and over.

Lamplighter (Monster Blood Tattoo)

Lamplighter, by D. M. Cornish
Omnibus, 2008

This book is available from Fishpond . Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

Thorn Castle and Devil's Lair, by Ian Irvine

‘All right so far,’ he called back, pretending to be cheerful. ‘I won’t be long.’ Unfortunately his voice squeaked and made him sound even more scared than he was.
A minute later his skin prickled, there came a dull flash and Kim cried, ‘Help! Help!’
As Tamly scrambled backwards along the path, all he could hear was distant, eerie laughter.

Tamly is the only person in Meadowhythe who can’t do magic. He wishes he knew why, and longs to learn magic. But it is precisely his lack of magic which makes him ideal for the dangerous challenge of rescuing the Book of Spells from the evil sorcerer Lord Harshax. Together with his magically gifted friend Kym, he sets out to steal the book and save his village.

Thorn Castle and Giant’s Lair are the first two of four books in the Sorcerer’s Tower series from Omnibus. Each book is a short self-contained tale, but each builds on the last to complete a bigger story, allowing the tale to be read in bite-sized portions perfect for the reluctant or younger reader.

From one of Australia’s masters of the fantasy genre, this action-packed series is a wonderful introduction to the genre for readers aged 9 and over.

Sorcerer’s Tower: Thorn Castle and Giant’s Lair, by Ian Irvine, illustrated by D. M. Cornish
Omnibus, 2008

Thorn Castle and Sorcerer’s Tower are available from Fishpond. Buying through these links supports Aussiereviews.