Sunday, February 24, 2019

Review: Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett

Foundryside (Founders, Book #1)
by Robert Jackson Bennett
Release Date: August 21st 2018
2018 Crown
Kindle Edition; 512 Pages
ISBN: 978-1524760366
ASIN: B077RG422Z
Genre: Fiction/ Fantasy
Source: Review copy from publisher

5 / 5 Stars

Sancia Grado is a thief, and a damn good one. And her latest target, a heavily guarded warehouse on Tevanne’s docks, is nothing her unique abilities can’t handle.

But unbeknownst to her, Sancia’s been sent to steal an artifact of unimaginable power, an object that could revolutionize the magical technology known as scriving. The Merchant Houses who control this magic--the art of using coded commands to imbue everyday objects with sentience--have already used it to transform Tevanne into a vast, remorseless capitalist machine. But if they can unlock the artifact’s secrets, they will rewrite the world itself to suit their aims.

Now someone in those Houses wants Sancia dead, and the artifact for themselves. And in the city of Tevanne, there’s nobody with the power to stop them. 

My Thoughts
Foundryside is the first book in new series by Bennett and I enjoyed it tremendously.  Having read The Divine Cities trilogy, I was a bit anxious about whether the author could live up to those books which is why it took my awhile before attempting this one; luckily, it more than lived up to the expectations put upon it.  

I loved the main character, Sancia, who really set the tone for the entire book, even though it was told in different POVs.  A thief, living in really difficult conditions, takes on a job that anyone else would be crazy to do, putting herself in extreme danger and involving herself in a major conspiracy involving the big houses in her realm.  She is tough as nails on the outside, capable of doing amazing things, but has a very soft spot on the inside as well, which I loved.  To be honest, I never really knew what to expect from Sancia as the story developed and I enjoyed that tremendously; the author did a fantastic job developing her character, revealing important information piece by piece as the story progressed.  In fact, I could say that about all of the characters in this book, all of whom I liked very much, even the villains.  Sancia is smart, capable, and very different from the typical main character, to the point where I definitely rooted for her throughout the book and sympathized whenever I learned about her past..  

The plot itself was great. As soon as one tricky situation resolved itself, another one popped up almost immediately so you don't really have time to catch your breath.  The novel opened up with a bang, literally, as Sancia attempted to steal a precious object for a job.  That things didn't quite go as planned sets up the plot for the rest of the book, very nicely too I might add.  All of this is wrapped around a plot that includes major heists (so fun), sacrifice, betrayal, long-buried secrets, and so many hints, that it just becomes so fascinating to read and you want to find out more and more.  

All of the above though, is wound around a unique magic system that kind of took me awhile to figure out.  And I'm still not sure I fully understood it.  The magic system is one involving scriving, a system of codes embedded in objects to make them behave in a different manner for which they were meant to behave.  It's complex and so, so interesting.  I loved it when things when wrong and there are consequences; not that I am happy to hear about people being killed or anything, but it was interesting nonetheless and I am so glad the author included these kinds of things in the story, and so cleverly done as well. The author actually, quite cleverly I thought, showed how the use of innovative technology becomes immeshed in one's society and what happens when it is no longer there, kind of mimicking out own world and what would happen if we were suddenly without something on which we depend.  A bit scary that!!

Foundryside was a fantastic start to a new series and I had a hard time putting it down.  I enjoyed the characters a lot, thought the plot was amazing, and loved the magic system.  I am definitely looking forward to the next book in this trilogy. 


  1. Great cover and I love that she's a thief. And magic, that's a great bonus.
    sherry @ fundinmental

    1. If you love fantasy, I highly recommend this one. Can't wait for the next book.