Review: Shorefall

shorefall-2Title: Shorefall (2020)
Author: Robert Jackson Bennett
Pages: 496
Series: The Founders Trilogy #2 (Series Tracker)

Foundryside, the first book in this trilogy, was really well-balanced. It told an engaging story, was populated with unique characters, and took place in a vibrant setting. While I’m still taken with this world and the city of Tevanne, most of what I enjoyed about the first book was left behind.

I had been intrigued (and somewhat confused) by scriving, the reality-altering magic system introduced in Foundryside. Because of its complexity, each act of scriving requires considerable explanation and exposition. Shorefall doubles down on scriving and this magic is so integral to the plot that if you’re not on board with it you’ll be left searching for other things to enjoy.

Unfortunately, the characters seem stagnant and there’s no room for them to breathe amongst the massive set pieces and high stakes of the story. In many ways, this felt like a trilogy capping novel instead of a middle book, so it’s unclear how the momentum will carry over for another book and I’m unsure if I’ll be along for the ride.

★★¾ out of 5

My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Foundryside

Foundryside_FINAL.jpgTitle: Foundryside (2018)
Author: Robert Jackson Bennett
Pages: 496
Series: The Founders Trilogy #1 (Series Tracker)

My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

Fresh off his brilliant Divine Cities trilogy, author Robert Jackson Bennett is back with Foundryside, the first book in The Founders trilogy. If this first installment is any indication, readers are in for another great fantasy series.

Set between the massive walls of four merchant house cities, Foundryside follows Sancia Grado, a street urchin whose unique relationship with scriving, the magic that fuels Tevanne’s industry, causes all sorts of issues…but also opportunities.

This book has pieces of everything I want in a fantasy novel — an intriguing magic system, rich worldbuilding, interesting characters, humor, and heart. Those pieces coalesce into something really interesting and make for an enjoyable reading experience. Bennett has done an impressive job building the framework of this world, from the physical structure of Tevanne, to the types of characters that inhabit it, as well as the magic system that makes unexpected things possible.

That said, the explanations and complexities of the magic system were sometimes confusing to me and took time away from developing the cast of characters that will need to be further fleshed out before I’m fully committed to their plights.

Luckily, Foundryside is swiftly paced, has great action, and features loads of sharp, snappy dialogue. It’s a fun ride that I won’t be getting off any time soon. I’m very much looking forward to the next book, even though the wait will be longer than usual since this book doesn’t technically come out for another 112 days!

★★★★ out of 5