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August 21, 2018

Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett ~ a Review

by MK French

In the city of Tevanne, the four Guild Houses own approximately 80% of the city property and function almost like city-states. The remaining 20% are the Commons, where those that don't belong to a Guild House live. There are no laws to protect the people, and it is in this place where Sancia Grado lives as a thief with extraordinary abilities. She stole an item from the docks, and it turns out to be more than an ordinary magical technological item. This one isn't scrived with the usual magical languages and is able to overwrite the magic the Guild Houses use. That would allow it to control all of reality if Sancia hands it over. When she decides not to fulfill the job, she has to collect allies and figure out a way to survive in Tevanne.
Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

August 2018; Crown; 978-1524760366
ebook, print (512 pages); fantasy
The use of magical sigils isn't a new concept in fantasy novels, but the foundations and practice to turn ordinary items into magic ones is. It's very clearly and cleverly laid out in the opening chapters, as we follow Sancia through the streets and the job to steal the box out of the docks. Due to the scrivened plate that was installed in her head against her will, she is able to sense the magic items as a murmur and talk to the key. Explaining her society to Clef also explains it to us in a very natural kind of way.

Backstories evolve over time in very natural ways, and we're introduced to more and more of how the world works as we learn them. Not only do I really feel for Sancia as she struggles through the novel, but for her erstwhile companions as they try to figure out why Clef is so important, as well as who wants to kill them. Even that changes over time so that in the final two parts of the novel, things we thought were true are stood on their head and it's a race to the finish line. It's very masterfully done, and I had to keep reading to find out what happened, even though I had other things that needed doing! I was wholly absorbed in the developments and surprises, and then there were fascinating teases that are sure to be fleshed out in the next two books. This is a great start to the Founders Trilogy, and I can't wait to see the rest of the series.

Buy Foundryside at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and golden retriever. 

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  1. Donna, I don't read this genre but, hope you like this one.

    1. It's not a genre I read either. It's what makes me so thankful for my team of reviewers - they read the genres I don't.

  2. Loved this one! Can't wait for others to read it!

  3. Glad it was a great read for you.

  4. Sounds good. What a great beginning! This week I have Through the Fire by Katie Ruggle from my review stack. Happy reading!

  5. Not my usual read, but I love that cover...and the intensity of the excerpt. Thanks for sharing, and here's mine: “THREE DAYS MISSING”

  6. I'd at least read a little more. I want to know why she's face down in the mud.

  7. Great teaser, and it sounds really interesting! Might give this a try if I see it around. Thanks for stopping by my Teaser today!