Shorefall (Founders: Book 2) by Robert Jackson Bennett

5 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Ray

Date of publication: April 21st, 2020

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Founders

Foundryside—Book 1 (Review Here)

Shorefall—Book 2

Where you can find Shorefall: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

The upstart firm Foundryside is struggling to make it. Orso Igancio and his star employee, former thief Sancia Grado, are accomplishing brilliant things with scriving, the magical art of encoding sentience into everyday objects, but it’s not enough. The massive merchant houses of Tevanne won’t tolerate competition, and they’re willing to do anything to crush Foundryside.

But even the merchant houses of Tevanne might have met their match. An immensely powerful and deadly entity has been resurrected in the shadows of Tevanne, one that’s not interested in wealth or trade routes: a hierophant, one of the ancient practitioners of scriving. And he has a great fascination for Foundryside, and its employees – especially Sancia.

Now Sancia and the rest of Foundryside must race to combat this new menace, which means understanding the origins of scriving itself – before the hierophant burns Tevanne to the ground.

First Line:

“The gates are just ahead,” said Gregor.

Shorefall by Robert Jackson Bennett

My Review:

I was pretty pumped when I got the email from Del Ray/Random House asking if I wanted to review Shorefall. I had loved Foundryside and was wondering when the next book was going to be published. So, it was a no brainer what my answer was going to be.

Shorefall is the 2nd book in the Founders trilogy. I would highly recommend reading Foundryside first. You would better understand the world, the houses, Sanica, and everything else in the book.

Shorefall takes place three years after the events of Foundryside, and Orso, Sanica, Berenice, and Gregor have founded their scriving business. They have become a sort of Robin Hood to the poor but they give out scrives instead of money. After an excursion to steal one of the remaining Houses lexicons, Sanica is contacted by Valeria. Valeria has a warning. Her Maker is coming, and he is getting ready to destroy Tevanne. Sanica and her crew must prepare to fight Valeria’s Maker. But are they prepared for the toll it will take upon the group? And with the lines between good and evil blurred, will Sanica make the right choice?

Shorefall’s plotline was fast-paced. Seeing that this book takes place within a week or so of Valeria’s Maker arriving in Tevanne, there were no dropped plotlines or characters. The writing flowed beautifully when the book had to change from Sanica. There was no awkwardness either. That alone made me love the book.

It did take me some time to read Shorefall. But, and I want to stress this, it wasn’t because the book was awful and I was putting it off. Nope, it was the complete opposite. I slowed down my reading pace so I could savor this book. The writing, the language, the characters were beautifully written.

I can’t get much into the storyline or characters of Shorefall without giving away spoilers. I will say this; the characters blossomed in this book. And the storyline was fantastic. The details that the author thought to include was terrific.

I will touch upon Clef, Valeria, and Valeria’s Maker. There is a massive twist in the plot that I didn’t see coming that involves them. Looking back, it makes total sense. But when I was reading it, I was shocked. I ended up putting my Kindle down and saying, “No freaking way.

The end of Shorefall made me cry. Again, I can’t say why, but it does involve Orso and Gregor. My heart broke into smithereens during those scenes. With the way the book ended, I am not sure what is going to happen and now will be impatiently waiting for the final book!!

I would give Shorefall an Older Teen rating. There are mentions of sexual situations (no details). There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

I would reread Shorefall. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Foundryside (Founders: Book 1) by Robert Jackson Bennett

Foundryside (Founders, #1)

4 Stars

Publisher: Crown Publishing

Date of publication: August 21st, 2018

Genre: Fantasy, Steampunk

Series: Founders

Foundryside – Book 1

Where you can find Foundryside: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

In a city that runs on industrialized magic, a secret war will be fought to overwrite reality itself–the first in a dazzling new fantasy 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 underway—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.

My review:

This was my first time reading anything by Robert Jackson Bennett. I didn’t know what to expect from Foundryside. So wasn’t I surprised when I realized I was reading fantasy with steampunk elements in it. I don’t know if I had mentioned it on this blog before, but I am a huge steampunk fan. I love it. I rarely read it. Even more rarely do I review those books. So yeah, I was a pretty happy person.

Image result for fantasy italian village

What I also liked about Foundryside was the place that Tevanne was modeled after. Foundryside was set in a jungle on an unnamed continent. The book is set in the city. I say almost because Sanica’s memories take us back to the plantation that she was a slave at. That was on an island, which was owned by one of the Houses. Other than that, it was pretty much well contained. I liked it because I had to only remember the name of the city and the houses it was carved into. The houses in the city reminded me of Italian cities. Italian cities that have fallen onto bad times but the likeness was there.

Foundryside starts off slow. While it doesn’t creep like some books, it also doesn’t gain momentum until the middle of the book. I would be complaining about it but it worked in this case. In doing this, the author allowed me to get to know the main characters and the city. Everything was explained, which I liked too. In my experience with books this size, there are plotlines that are dropped or holes in the plot. Not in this case.

Going with what I said above, the characters were filled out. What I liked is that they weren’t all likable. That they all had their flaws and that the author didn’t try to hide those flaws. Instead, he took them and made those flaws a part of each character’s personality.

Image result for fantasy runed wheels

I also liked how the author explained scrivings. Scrivings are industrial made magic that is used in everything in this society. Foundations, carriages, wheels…etc, they were all scrived. The only thing that couldn’t scrived is humans. It was forbidden. Until Sanica. Sanica is the only scrived human in Tevanne. Or so she thought. There is another scrived human and it blew my mind because of who it was.

I want to get into what Clef was but it is almost too hard to explain. A key that talks only to Sanica don’t even begin to touch the surface with him. He was one of my favorite characters.

Image result for butterfly shaped key

While Foundryside was a bloody mess in the 2nd half of the book. While I was expecting a little death, I wasn’t expecting how many people died. It did turn me off the book a bit. But I do think that the book couldn’t be written any other way. People had to die for Sanica to have her transformation. They also had to die to expose Estelle as the insane woman that she was.

I loved the end of Foundryside. I loved Orso giving Ofelia Dandolo what amounted to the middle finger. I also liked what Orso sprang on Sanica. But my favorite was the very ending of the book with the meeting between Ofelia and her prophet. It gave an interesting twist on things as well as opening things up for a 2nd book.

What I liked about Foundryside:

A) fantasy/steampunk combination

B) filled out characters

C) How the author explained what scrivings were.

What I disliked about Foundryside:

A) How slow the book was at first

B) How the book was a bloody mess during the 2nd half of the book

C) What happened to Sanica at the plantation

I gave Foundryside a 4-star rating. This was a well-written book with fleshed out characters. The book is slow to start and it does get bloody the 2nd half of the book. But I liked it. It was a good read.

I would give Foundryside an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is graphic violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Foundryside. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank Crown Publishing for allowing me to read and review Foundryside.

All opinions stated in this review of Foundryside are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**