Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Book Review: Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett

Pros: unique magic system, intricate world-building, fascinating characters, interesting plot


Three years ago Sancia Grado was a slave. Now she’s a skilled thief, hired to pull off a very difficult job. The payout means she can finally get a physiquere to fix the scar on her head and remove the metal plate beneath it that was scrived to allow her to hear the thoughts of every object she touches. But the item she steals is connected to the Occidentals, also known as hierophants, those who became like gods, able to use scrivings to change reality itself. Suddenly the plate in her head’s the least of her worries.

This book was amazing. I’ve only mentioned Sancia’s plot thread, though there are several others that intersect with hers once the book gets going. She’s a thoroughly engaging protagonist, and while her scrived state makes her fairly powerful in some respects, that’s balanced by the pain speaking with objects causes her.

I absolutely loved Clef. He’s such a fun character, coming out with all the sarcastic, swearing, responses people would love to use but don’t because they want to be polite. The book does have quite a lot of swearing, which I sometimes found jarring and other times thought fit the situation nicely.

The worldbuilding was intricate and detailed, with several layers to it. The main setting is the city with it’s four campos and the commons, but other locations are mentioned. History comes mostly in the form of mythology - which different sources report in different ways.

The magic is unique and hard to describe in few words. It’s remarkably… logical, though it takes some time to wrap your brain around what the people are doing.

The plot is interesting, with several threads wrapping around each other. There is some downtime to get to know the characters and let them figure out their next moves, but the majority of the book is one daring break in or escape after another.

As I said, it’s an excellent book. If you’re looking for a unique fantasy novel, I highly recommend this.

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