Lamplighter, book two of D.M. Cornish’s Monster Blood Tattoo series, takes the reader deeper into the fantastic world torn between an undying struggle between mankind and monsters - a world where good and evil are difficult to distinguish and the boundaries of man and monster are crossed as humans use chemicals and monster organs to alter their own bodies and abilities. Rossamund, the orphan boy with a girl’s name, begins his adventures at Winstermill, the lamplighter’s fortress, where he has already earned himself the title Master Come-Lately due to his tardy arrival for training. Despite this initial setback, Rossamund is determined to prove himself to the senior lampsmen and earn their praise.
However, Rossamund finds his training more than he had originally bargained for as his task of lighting the dark roads at night for passengers puts him in close proximity to several deadly monsters. As he is not a very good shot, Rossamund must rely heavily on his supply of potives (chemical creations for both defensive and offense purposes) to help him and his companions survive the dangerous life of lamplighters. All of his training and studies are truly put to test when he finds himself and another prentice sent to the most dangerous stretch of roads in all of the Empire.
Much of the book takes place within the walls of Winstermall and along the roads that branch out from it. The fortress springs to life as Cornish introduces the reader to its many inhabitants and odd corners. Some of the inhabitants offer Rossamund cruel lessons in the art of growing up as he becomes exposed to the heavy political forces that seem to pull everyone in various directions. It begins to become clear that not all evil beings take the form of wandering monsters. The book not only engages the reader in the complex inner workings of the Empire, but also provides plenty of exciting encounters and close calls with some dangerous foes. Lamplighter compels the reader forward through each chapter, making the 600 pages (twice the size of the first book) a quick and incredibly pleasurable read.