Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett
**We receive an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This book came out on August 21st and you can get it here**
What I drank prior:
WOOO BEER which was our chant at the Hard Times Cafe the Roller Derby afterpary was in. One of my besties had her roller derby debut tonight and she kicked some fucking ass! I”m so proud. And also pretty tipsty, becuase of beer.
Okay, overview… lets try to keep this a pretty basic summary. Unlike normal where I dump all my feelings here…. (psst it was really good) Sancia has some epic powers that allow her to pull information from objects (and kinda people) which makes her a badass thief. She is given a job to steal an object and she does it with some magical items and her magical poiwers, like a badass. But then things go crazy. The item (which she wasn’t supposed to open) is a magic key that can open any door, except Sancia can hear it (Clef) speaking to the ‘scrived’ objects. She is being chased by the kinda police guy, Gregor. Who is also a badass but surprisingly genteel b/c (spoiler alert) he’s kind of a merchant royal… They get involved with Bernice & Orso who are the people who make magical items for Gregor’s house and then things get complicated.
Characters: I’m a little bit speechless writing this section. With such a large cast of characters (and there are a lot, I’ve only scraped the surface with our characters mentioned above – there’s four major merchant houses that are in a cold war with each other compelte with spying and corporate sabotage, as well as the unlicensed magic creators that Sancia works with and even more people beyond taht) but with such a large cast, so many of the people are well-fleshed out. The relationships all make sense, and grow organically. It’s an incredibly refreshing book in that the characters don’t seem to be forced into a box purely because the author needed a ‘femme fatale’ a ‘walking toxic masculinity stereotype’ or any of a number of tropes that tend to pop up in these books. The backstories fit the characters.
Plot: The plot of this book is crazy. It keeps escalationa dn escalating, and that’s something taht can get really irritating (I’m looking at you, lots of urban fantasty) but the way this book escalated felt like it flowed rather than growing by leaps and bounds. This is a heist story at its base, a heist story that includes magic, and political intrigue, and got I haven’t even talked all that much about the magic system but holy shit – they warp reality to make their magic systems work. There were definitely moments where I picked up on things chapters upon chapters before the characters but I wrote that down as a ‘people in a horror movie live in a universe without horror movies and therefore don’t know waht to expect’ kind of thing.
Writing Style: If you’re looking for deep thougths about the writing style, I am not the reviewer for you. This book had a healthy balance between descriptions and action. The action was well-written in such a way that you always knew what was going on, and did an incredible job explaining the way the magic worked. The language used wasn’t overly descriptive but that’s what I tend to prefer.
I freaking LOVED this book. The characters were well-built, the world was mind-blowingly cool, and I thought this book did a wonderful job of explaining gruesome things without reveling in the gruesomeness of it (the first example of someone reveling in gruesomeness was George R. R. Martin – those books could be a ton of fun but there’s definitely some reveling in certain deaths (looking at you golden crown thing in the first book)). This is a book that deals with a lot of darkness, and a world that in a lot of ways has four contained utopias in a large functioning dystopia where everything is balancing on the edge of a knife, focusing on the people who are pushing it in one direction or the other. And for a book that could have been too dark, this book was a joy to read.
Spoilered Review: If you haven’t read the book and want to read this book, please skip the rest of this paragraph.
I know this book hasn’t come out yet (Thank you to whoever we got this from, this is a free and honest review and very happily given) so it’s unlikely you would have had a chance to read it yet. But holy shit this magic system. The ‘current’ magic just messes with reality, in the olden days human souls were put into objects to give them power, and that is what society is trying to go for. Which is obviously going to tip everything off the fucking knife. And when in a hopeless situation, trying to stop someone who is flawed and kind of bad – but for understandable reasons – from doing something catastrophic Sancia releases a fucking vengeful god/AI… holy shit, I can’t wait for the next one. I can’t wait to see how Gregor deals with the fact taht he’s been a rotting corpse that isn’t rotting since that war that he fought in, how Orse is going to deal with being the head of a merchant house, how Sancia is going to enjoy the end of the ‘curse’ and what the favor fromt he vengeful god/AI is going to be?
What to pair it with: God, this book has got to be some overly complicated cocktail. I went to a whiskey bar a few weeks ago where every drink seemed to involve a fruit being hand-mashed, delicately mixed with a whiskey, add two more ingrediants and then rub the lip of the glass with a goddamn orange peel. They looked amazing. So that… Some sort of complciated whiskey drink – takes a long time to make, is absolutely the right choice, totally worth it, but over and gone far too quickly
Rating: 5/5 Shots – Literally, whatever the maximum shot total is, this book gets it.
COMMENT DOWN BELOW: Hohly shit- please read this book – I need to talk to someone about it.