REVIEW: Foundryside (The Founders Trilogy #1) by Robert Jackson Bennett
In a city that runs on industrialized magic, a secret war will be fought to overwrite reality itself–the first in a dazzling new series from City of Stairs author Robert Jackson Bennett.
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.
To have a chance at surviving—and at stopping the deadly transformation that’s under way—Sancia will have to marshal unlikely allies, learn to harness the artifact’s power for herself, and undergo her own transformation, one that will turn her into something she could never have imagined.
I got ARC copy from Amazon vine program. The book according to Amazon is going to be out on August 21 and I also preordered the electronic copy for my kindle.
Content warning : couple of torture scenes
Dear Robert Jackson Bennett,
I was not sure what to expect of this book except after reading this writer’s previous fantasy trilogy I expected something amazing, and I mostly was not disappointed. The blurb describes the set- up perfectly without giving away much of the plot. The city of Tevanne may be based on some historical European city states in its basic set up and structure, but this city, this world, runs on magic. I was very impressed that this magical system is basically based on one thing – the technology of scriving. Scriving simply put is an art of writing out the commands which made objects behave in the way sentient beings would. It does not give them intelligence per se, but it certainly tricks them into “thinking” those objects are something they are not. And one can do amazing and very sophisticated things with the magic of Scriving. The writer builds up on the basics of this magic and with every page, with every chapter adds more and more sophistication into world building and manages to do it without info dumping instead he disperses information sparingly and on the “need to know to understand the story” basis.
The people who know scriving built amazing tools that increase their magical powers even more and this very art which only certain people are allowed to practice became the reason for economic prosperity for some population and extreme poverty for other people. Basically very soon we learn that there is a ton of economic and political inequality in Temanne. Its poorest population lives in the area called “Foundry” – hence the name of the story. Foundry is the home for our main character young Sandria who is about twenty years old and who steals things from wealthy areas of Tenanne when she is asked in order to buy food and in order to correct a humongous injustice which was done to her in the past and which I do not want to disclose because this would be a huge spoiler.
The mission Sandria is going to in the beginning of the book goes horribly wrong and as a result of it some powerful people want her dead and she acquires a talking key. I have to admit as much as I loved the beginning of the story I had to stop and ask myself whether I want to continue when I met the “talking key”. I also wondered if the book is Young Adult because the protagonist is still quite young and at some point ( which did not last too long) I thought that she would be going on the light hearted adventure.
By the way I have nothing against YA books, I do read at least some, but coming from this writer this sounded unexpected let’s put it this way. Light heartedness did not last for long , I mean there were brief moments later in the book here and there, but Sandria’s quest turns into something quite dire and complicated. Her world seemed to be at the boiling point and fascinating magic or not a lot of people suffer because of it, and Sandria is more caring soul than she dares to admit in the beginning. The plot had twists and turns and what we expected to happen in the beginning may have never come true or come true sooner than I would have wanted to.
I loved several secondary characters and cannot wait to meet them again in the next books.
My only complaint is not really a complaint but a note about my reading experience with it. I mentioned in the beginning that I loved his previous fantasy trilogy “Divine cities”; however as a result of reading it. I now do not trust this writer one bit to keep my favorite characters alive . I am sure he would do it in a way that fits the story and of course it is his absolute right to do so if he so chooses. The reason I am bringing it up is because when I remembered bawling my eyes out god knows how many times, I was now putting emotional walls between the words and myself, I tried not to care much about Sandria and others, thinking that they will probably all be dead at the end of the third book or earlier. I wonder if it diminished my reading experience.