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Release-Day Review: Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett (Founders #1)

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Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett // VBC ReviewFoundryside (Founders #1)
Robert Jackson Bennett
Published: Aug. 21, 2018 (Crown)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 5 stars

Tevanne is a city run by four Merchant Houses who each control the art of scriving—a magical code that can imbue objects with a kind of sentience.

Those who don’t work for one of the houses survive by whatever means possible. For Sancia Grado that means thieving. For this particular job, Sancia has been tasked with stealing a great artifact. An artifact, unbeknownst to her, that could change the magic of scriving forever, in fact it’s an artifact with the potential to change reality itself.

Once Sancia realizes not only her life, but the lives of everyone in Tevanne is at stake, she, along with a ragtag group of rebels, will have to figure out what kind of power Sancia holds and how to use it to prevent the apocalypse.

Foundryside is one of those cleverly built fantasies that just really hit all the right buttons for me as a reader. Robert Jackson Bennett balanced everything out very nicely between the action, history, characterization, and the complexity of the magic that is scriving and its perceived divine conception. Instead of feeling inundated each time the concept of scriving and its various uses and capabilities would be broken down, I appreciated that we were given so many angles in which to take it all in. Understanding how the right formula written upon a piece of wood could make that wood act like stone with the same strength and durability. Now imagine if said formulas were written on a human?

From this idea, Robert Jackson Bennett cleverly inserts a think piece about who we perceive ourselves to be from both internal and external forces and what it takes to finally be free of the constraints put on us by ourselves and those around us. Also, what we do with the power that we obtain, how do we use it? These are very interesting and unassuming ideas that I look forward to seeing expanded upon in the next books.

I loved the way the story built upon itself, and how through this building we get the assemblage of our cast of characters: Sancia, the aforementioned thief, Gregor Dandolo, son of a Merchant House “Founder,” Orso Ignacio, a Merchant House hypatus—aka head researcher—and Berenice, Orso’s aide. They’re all tied up with the stolen artifact in some way, and as they come together they each bring some different, but essential, piece of the puzzle to the table in order to survive what’s to come.

I started out believing Foundryside would be another fantasy heist novel—which I love, don’t get me wrong’but I was extremely surprised, in the best way possible, in the direction the story ended up taking. If you’re looking for an interesting, complex, and fresh type of magic in your fantasy that also offers some thought-provoking ideas on what it means to have power, look no further than Foundryside.

Sexual content: references to sex

2 Responses to “Release-Day Review: Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett (Founders #1)”

  1. Beth C. says:

    I AM SO GLAD to see the 5/5 – I have an arc of this to read (yes, slacker here), and I’ve been a little…not motivated because I really wasn’t sure about it. So yay!

  2. Shannon says:

    Great review.. Adding this to my TBR list. Thank you!!!!

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