When I was at my local bookstore, I perused the clearance section and found a couple of hardbacks for $4 each. Needless to say, this was a deal too good to pass up. So I bought them. The Black Tattoo by Sam Enthoven and Monster Blood Tattoo: Foundling by D.M. Cornish will now be reviewed right here, so you can see which Tattoo to get (no pun intended).
The Black Tattoo: Jack knows his friend Charlie is the embodiment of cool, even though he's going through some tough times (his dad's having an affair). So when Charlie gets a moving black tattoo on his back, causing him and Jack to be recruited into a secret organization whose goal is to fight the demon Scourge, he's just all the cooler. Especially since the tattoo gives him magical powers and the ability to do kung-fu like a master. But the tattoo seems to have a darker side, so he, Jack, and the members of the Brotherhood must find a way to stop the Scourge from bringing Hell on earth-- literally.
Now I have to hand it to Sam Enthoven. For a first-time author, he's got a lot of creativity, and the writing is brisk, fun, and easy to get sucked into. But the book just got a little, well, odd, for my taste, and I'm not entirely sure I'd read a sequel if there was one. It was worth reading once, and it was worth the $4 I spent on it.
My rating: 6/10
Monster Blood Tattoo: Foundling: The first in a massive trilogy, Foundling plunges readers right into the Half-Continent, a world just out of reach from our own, a world filled with interesting characters and escapades. Cornish started fleshing out his world in 1993, so the idea's about 16 years old now (give or take a few months). And it's good. The story starts with Rossamund, a boy with a girl's name, who is finally about to leave Madam Opera's, the foundlingery where he's lived all his life. He's been told that being a vinegaroon is the perfect occupation, but instead he gets chosen to be a Lamplighter. However, the journey to even start his new career is beyond difficult, and he meets bizarre and captivating characters along the way, such as Europe and the villainous Poundinch.
A telltale sign of how big the world is can be found in the 100+ page long Explicarium in the back of the book, which also contains eight pages of maps. The Half-Continent is HUGE, and we've only just started to explore it. And, thanks to Cornish's excellent writing, that's a good thing.
Oh, and don't forget to wear your hat.
My rating: 9/10