Book Review: Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett

What a wild ride this book was! I first saw Foundryside on the PeruseProject YouTube channel (Reagan is one of my favorites). When I read the synopsis, I knew this was going to be right up my alley! A magic heist book? Sign. Me. Up. While I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, I did have a couple issues that detracted from the overall experience.

To start, I absolutely loved the premise of the book. We meet our main character, Sancia, and we’re with her through to the last page. Sancia is a thief and recruited to a steal an artifact from one of the main “houses” in the city. Sancia successfully secures this item (this happens within the first chapter or two, so no real spoilers) and the floodgates open wide from that moment on. I loved the fast-paced narrative and action-packed story. Bennett writes to effortlessly and it keeps you literally on the edge of your seat. The world was rich and inviting. There was so much history and backstory, it’s easy to tell this world was extremely well thought out. Having finished the book a couple days ago (and having some time to digest it), I’m still impressed with how this plot came together. I was shocked, surprised and delighted with every page turn (or Kindle button-click, in my case).

What I did struggle with was the amount of world-building-info-dumping that had to happen to set the stage. I read this book over several weeks (which is partially on me) and I found the world building to be a little on the overwhelming side. There was so much foundational information that that needed to be established to set the stage for the rest of the plot. Personally, I also struggled to keep track of some of the verbiage. The names of the artifacts were a little difficult to keep track of. I also think it’s worth mentioning that there is a somewhat significant amount of violent content included. I was a little surprised, and somewhat caught off guard, by the graphic violence. I know this a turn off for some readers, so I thought it was worth calling out here. It’s really a shame, too, because Bennett manages to craft a fantastic, engaging and thrilling story but it’s definitely not accessible to all people! Overall, I really enjoyed this entry in the Founders trilogy and am looking forward to reading Shorefall in the future!

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