Book Review

Book Review: Foundryside (The Founders Trilogy #1) by Robert Jackson Bennett

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Adult Fantasy
Length: 505 pages
Author: Robert Jackson Bennett
Publisher: Crown
Release Date: August 21st, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


In a city that runs on industrialized magic, a secret war will be fought to overwrite reality itself.

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. 


Somehow this fantasy has slipped past my radar! I read it based off a friends recommendation and I overall, really enjoyed this one. Definitely interested in the sequel sometime!

Foundryside is a very plot heavy book. Action scenes take up a lot of pages, as well as magic system breakdown scenes. I liked the idea of the magic system, but honestly, am still a bit confused by it all. Somethings became clearer over time and others are still murky. It is unique though and it never felt like info-dumping during discussions.

I liked the multi-POV set-up too! I love a few narrators during a long fantasy book and this one held up. Getting to see multiple sides to the story from vastly different characters was exactly what this book needed. My only real complaint for this read was that there wasn’t enough characterization for me. While I loved the mixed points of view, I didn’t feel super connected to anyone. Honestly, I can’t even tell you what anyone looks like. I wanted to understand the characters better. Now, this did get better on that front towards the end, so maybe book two helps as well?

The world-building was fascinating (if, like the magic system, confusing). I hope that is also expounded on in book two. I thought by the end I was starting to figure out all of the terminology, yet I’m pretty sure I’m lost on some fronts. This kept my attention though. It’s a slower read style fantasy that takes its time, but packs in the action at the right times.

Overall audience notes:

  • Adult fantasy
  • Language: some mild
  • Romance: kiss
  • Violence: physical altercations, murder, magic, explosions
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: fatmisia, hate slurs, slavery, sexual assault, domestic abuse, PTSD, medical experimentation, gun violence, child trafficking

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