Shelf Control #320: Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett

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Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

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Title: Foundryside
Author: Robert Jackson Bennett
Published: 2018
Length: 512 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

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.

In a city that runs on industrialized magic, a secret war will be fought to overwrite reality itself–the first in a dazzling new series from City of Stairs author Robert Jackson Bennett. 

How and when I got it:

I picked up the paperback edition 2 – 3 years ago.

Why I want to read it:

I remember seeing very positive reviews when this book first came out, and since some of these positive reviews were by bloggers whose tastes tend to align with mine, I made a note to check it out. So, of course, when I stumbled into a used book store and found a copy, I couldn’t resist!

The synopsis sounds complicated but intriguing. Industrialized magic? Deadly transformations? Powerful artifacts? Check, check, and check — definitely up my alley.

My hesitation about starting Foundryside are (a) lately, anything over 500 pages feels pretty daunting, and (b) it’s the first in a trilogy, and I already have too many series and trilogies to keep up or catch up with. On the plus side, it’s a (soon-to-be) finished trilogy, since the 3rd book will be released next month — so no getting invested in an ongoing story and then having the conclusion not yet published or not expected for years and years.

This sounds like a book with complex world-building, which means I shouldn’t start it until I know I have the patience and uninterrupted time to really concentrate. I have a strong suspicion I’ll enjoy it once I start — the problem will be psyching myself up to actually dive in.

What do you think? Would you read this book?

Please share your thoughts!


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  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
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15 thoughts on “Shelf Control #320: Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett

  1. I read an ARC of this, and I found the book to be incredibly frustrating. It’s one of those magic systems where the author feels compelled to explain it over and over again, and of often got the feeling that there was a “It’s cool, huh? Is it so cool?” behind the explanations. That never fails to irritate me. Plus, I didn’t find the characters to be particularly compelling. I had to force myself to finish it and never bothered with the other books in the trilogy.

    • That’s disappointing to hear! I’ve found that some approaches to world-building of magical systems work for me, and some don’t. In general, I prefer for things to be spelled out, but from what you’ve said, the repetitiveness might drive me bonkers too.

  2. I loved Foundryside, and I enjoyed the second book but not as much. The third book comes out next month and I hope it’s as good as the first!

  3. I absolutely ADORED this book! The magic system was so unique, and incredibly well done. I love Sancia as a main character.

    However, I do want to say that I did NOT like the way the series ended. I just wasn’t a fan of the last book. I got an ARC of it a couple months ago. My review for it will actually be up next week.

  4. I read this one recently and really enjoyed it, so much going on and a lot of action. I’m saving book 2 for a little while, at least until the final installment comes out, but I don’t think it will be too long until I’m back into this trilogy.

  5. Pingback: GET TO KNOW THE FANTASY READER TAG – jordyn reads

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