by Robert Jackson Bennett
Series: Founders #1
Narrator: Tara Sands
Length: 19 hours and 34 minutes
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
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 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
“Inventive, immersive, and thrilling, Foundryside is a fascinating look at how our best intentions can be corrupted—and how wickedly awesome and terrifying gravity belts can be. Do yourself a favor and pick this up.”—Kevin Hearne, New York Times bestselling author of The Iron Druid Chronicles
And that recommendation was how I came to pick up Foundryside and I couldn’t be more pleased. I listened to the narration performed by Tara Sands. An action-packed, suspenseful tale with an unlikely heroine set in a dystopian world, Bennett captivated and enthralled me from the opening chapter.
Reasons to grab your earbuds and listen to Foundryside
- Sancia Grado is a thief in a world built and ruled by the Merchant Houses who control magic. They use a mystical process called scriving to alter everyday objects. Objects that have been scribed behave differently than intended. Say, for example, you scrive a piece of paper with rock making it more durable, it will become stronger paper. The Houses fight among themselves for more power. They’ve transformed technology and raw power to suit their needs. The commoners are nothing more than slaves in their pursuit for power. Sancia steals an artifact of unimaginable power. In the wrong hands it holds immersible power and will tip the scales. With a price on her head and unlikely allies can Sancia unlock the artifact’s power and save the world?
- The world-building is brilliant from the landscape to the different scribed gadgets. The story made me want more stories and I love when I am already eager to return to a world. When I closed my eyes, I could see the dilapidated cities that have sprung up around the houses and imagine all the scribed objects. My favorite aspect was the magic in Foundryside. Sancia herself is unusual, and she can manipulate objects. Her story is fascinating and I will leave you to uncover it.
- The characters themselves are what brought this tale to life for me. Sancia is spirited and quick in a crisis but suffers from PTSD. She is desperate to change something about herself which has led her to become a thief. She has formed ties with others around her, but has trust issues. We see her develop romantic feelings for another female. Clef, was perhaps my favorite character. I will leave you to discover who he is. The interaction between him and Sancia were delightful. We have villains, allies and objects to round out the tale and all were developed and added to the overall tale. Secondary characters like Giovanni and Claudia who are Sancia’s scrapper friends offered interest from gadgets to stories.
- Action, suspense and fantastic scenes that made me question why this was the first time I’ve heard of Robert Jackson Bennett. I really need to pay more attention to this genre. I would classify this as a dystopian fantasy.
- Diversity, complex characters, PTSD, character growth and sacrifice are all explored. The story also presents questions about our morality, technological advancements, politics and greed.
- This was my first experience with Tara Sands, but it won’t be my last. I loved how her narration enhanced each character from Orso’s cursing fits to Clef’s unique voice. Her pacing was spot on and though emotion and pitch she set the tone of the story.
While Foundryside was more predictable than I would have liked I fell in love with the world and its characters. The ending built to a climax, and most issues were resolved leaving this reader in a good place. I am eager to return to this world and look forward to the next Founder novel.
[bctt tweet=”Foundryside was an action-packed, suspenseful tale with an unlikely heroine, Bennett captivated and enthralled me from the opening chapter. #fantasy #iloveaudiobooks” username=”kimbacaffeinate”]
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
I really love the cover to this one and world building is one of my favourite things to see done well in a novel, second only to great characters. And it sounds like this book does both of those well. I don’t mind a bit of predictability so I would be fine with that.
I don’t either, I was just surprised that it was.
Suzanne @ The Bookish Libra
The world and the characters really captured me as well when I read it, especially Sancia. I’m glad you enjoyed this one overall. Great review!
I loved it all too and look forward to more.
Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight
I’ve heard great things about his one, and the way they can alter objects and things sounds so interesting and unique! I really want to read this! Glad to hear everything was great as well.
Thanks Kristen, this is an author I want to explore more.
Maybe it is better that I read it then, cos 19 is so long! 😉
LOL. I broke it up listening each evening
Carole @ Carole's Random Life in Books
I have an arc of this book that I need to get to as soon as possible. I love Robert Jackson Bennett’s writing and am looking forward to it. Glad you enjoyed it!
Do you have a title you would recommend of his that I try next?
Carole @ Carole's Random Life in Books
I have only read two of his other books but loved both of them. He has a trilogy that starts with City of Stairs that is really well done. I have only read the first two books so far but I really enjoyed them both. I have the third one ready to go and hope to read it soon.
Great review Kim. The title made me curious and I don’t think I have heard of Robert Jackson before, but he is on my radar now. I love dystopian books and add some magic, what can go wrong? lWell…a lot, I suppose. lol
This was my first taste of his works.
I have this for review, and your review makes me excited to read it. I am most looking forward to checking out this world.
Ooo I hope you love it Heidi. Some fun characters 🙂
That actually sounds really intriguing. I will be adding this one to my wish list.
It was a lot of fun with danger, humor and suspenseful moments.
I requested my library pick up the audio or ebook it sounds amazing thanks for the review
Awesome! I hope they grab it soon.
Robin loved this one and I hope to read it soon. Anne – Books of My Heart
Yay. Happy to hear she loved it too 🙂
Very cool sounding Kim and I know why you would take Hearne’s word as gospel knowing how much you love him. Thank you for uncovering this series for me
It was a good one, and I loved Cliff.
I have seen so many good reviews for this book, and you make me want to read it even more. I love your descriptions of this world!
I am really curious about this one. Sorry it was a bit predictable, but I’m glad that didn’t stop you from enjoying it. I think the magic sounds intriguing – and I like the diversity.
Yep, but I have a feeling the next one will be far less predictable!
It sounds like an intricate and intriguing book, Kim. Love your description of the world building especially. I can tell you really liked this one.
I did, and you would adore Cliff.
TIhis is new to me. I understand why you could not resist. I am glad it proved worthwhile.
I am glad I put it on your radar Nadene!