FOUNDRYSIDE (Founders #1)
Written by Robert Jackson Bennett
Published by Broadway Books, May 21, 2019
My star rating – 5 million 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.
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. Find it on Goodreads
How do I review perfection? No, seriously, that’s an honest question! I finished this book days ago but haven’t been able to force myself to write a review. Every time I sat down at my computer I would get hit by a tsunami of thoughts and feelings and had no clue how to get it all out of my system. Every time I tried it would all come out in this clump of gibberish because I was trying to say too much and I was far too excited. I think I’m ready to talk about this book now. Hold on tight folks, this is going to be a few hundred words of me gushing about how fucking brilliant this book was!!!
Let’s start with the magic system, shall we? I’m a sucker for a good magic system. Especially one that is so unique and interesting! It’s basically like a combination of runes, sigils, physics, and engineering…. and it was glorious!!! The basics are this – you have scrivers, ok. These scrivers learn for MANY years how to create or alter tools to have magic. They use symbols that act as commands, telling the tool what to do, when, how, and all that jazz. One symbol wouldn’t work. The tool wouldn’t have enough information to complete a task. So, these scrivers use a string of symbols all together that give the tool all it needs to understand its function. For example – a door. A door can be told to only open for a certain key or only to open at certain hours of the day. A sword can be scrived to believe that it’s falling from great heights so that the force is much stronger than just the strength of the person wielding it. There’s so much more to it than this and you would need to read it from the authors words to be able to understand the complexities behind it all! I love it when magic is created and not gifted. This is the sort of magic that anyone can create – that is if you’re smart enough and have the right symbols!
If the magic system doesn’t sell you then let me mention the pace. This was the fastest paced fantasy book I’ve ever read…. EVER! Right from chapter one I was hooked. I kept waiting for the story to hit a lull and it just never did! I honestly don’t think i’ve come across a book that pushed me so hard from one chapter to the next! Shit would go down and I would think “Well, this character is screwed. So how is there 300 pages left?” and then something would happen and the story would take off like a rocket down another path. If you like heists, thievery, and escape….. then you’re in for one hell of a treat! This was heist, after heist, after heist….. you get the point! And every time that a character would find themselves in the worst situation possible, it would get even worse yet, there would be another task to the bigger picture, and they would be off running to yet another demise. Honestly…. this book NEVER stopped!
And then we have the characters. These are my type of characters!!! We have Sancia who has had one hell of a shitty life. She grew up as a slave on a plantation and is doing everything in her power to remain “free”, whatever that entails. She was strong, smart as hell, powerful, yet so broken and flawed. My heart went out to her the whole way through. I knew that if she were given different circumstances she would be a really sweet girl. Gregor, who is the son of one of the most powerful Merchant Houses (more on that in a second) and it seems that he’s just trying to carve his own path. He is born into a position of power yet he focuses on doing good for all of Foundryside. His character wasn’t developed as much as I hoped for but there’s kind of a reason for that. I have a feeling he will be explored more in book 2. There were quite a few side characters in there as well – Orso who is a grumpy yet brilliant scriver, Bernice who is Orso’s assistant and is the quiet brains, Giovanni and Claudia who are backstreet scrivers, running from the Merchant houses and making the best of what they have. They were all so different! It was amazing seeing all of them forced together by something Sancia stole and fighting for their lives. There’s also a woman who is so evil but I HAD to respect and be in awe of her brilliance….. it’s rare that an author can create a villain that you respect… but it happened!
Lastly, let me touch quickly on the world building. I know that when it comes to epic fantasy, people are often scared off by the world building. I get it – it’s overwhelming! But not in this case. We only really see the one city and it’s never too much. Instead of being bombarded by info dumping and details, we see the world as Sancia and the other characters see it. Bit by bit we learn about Foundryside and how everything works. We get the vivid picture of how everything looks, the background of this magic system, and what the Merchant Houses are and how they matter to Foundryside as a whole. I loved that the Merchant Houses were essentially government. They had their own areas of control where they went by their own sets of rules then, anything outside of those houses were left to fend for themselves.
To say that I enjoyed this one more than I expected is an understatement!! I might even go so far to say that this is a new all time favourite book! Ok, yes – that’s what i’m saying!! I flew through this in no time and it induced an insane passion for fantasy and reading in general. I’ve heard good things about this author in the past and I knew I was going to like it. But I was NOT prepared for what this book did to me. I now need to read everything this man has written….. bloody brilliant!!!
Until next time, happy reading!