Paperback, 503 pages

English language

Published Aug. 21, 2018 by Jo Fletcher Books.

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4 stars (19 reviews)

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 …

2 editions

reviewed Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett (The Founders Trilogy Book 1)

Review of 'Foundryside' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

I'm having enough fun with the world and magic system in this book that I'll probably continue reading the series, despite chafing pretty hard against the prose and character articulation. Everyone feels a little cartoony/campy/caricatured? in a way that I suppose is typical of more pulpy speculative fiction, but I've been spoiled by authors like Muir and Jemisin to expect more maturity. I vaguely thought as I read it, "maybe this is a debut author who needs some practice to mature" but apparently he's written a lot of stuff before this so idk, might just not be my jam.

Also the author feels like he's trying really hard to be woke and feminist, but lands squarely in trope territory with motifs like "strong female protagonist with a high pain tolerance constantly made to endure pain" and "sexual trauma as a plot device" and "women who seek power are inherently evil" …

reviewed Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett (The Founders Trilogy Book 1)

Review of 'Foundryside' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Golems from Jewish folklore have always fascinated me, with their heads full of instructions written on a life-giving scroll. A golem is both the creation myth in miniature and a way to codify magic, a sort of early computer programming where the processors are clay giants. It’s strangely comforting to imagine that human beings could control the world in such a fashion, while also terrifying to imagine the many ways it could go wrong.

In Foundryside, Robert Jackson Bennett takes some of those basic elements and introduces a world where craftsmen use the art of scriving to write a reality-controlling language on inanimate objects and give them a form of consciousness; everything in creation is nothing more than a golem waiting for its instructions. Then, he imagines all of the ways that this power could and would go sickeningly, catastrophically, heartbreakingly wrong.

Sancia is a thief, and a damn good …