*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of Shorefall – Book 2 of The Founders trilogy by Robert Jackson Bennett #Brainfluffbookreview #Shorefallbookreview

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I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in this series, Foundryside – see my review here – as the magic system in particular, was original and nicely complex. So I was delighted to have an opportunity to get hold of the arc of Shorefall.

BLURB: The upstart firm Foundryside is struggling to make it. Orso Igancio and his star employee, former thief Sancia Grado, are accomplishing brilliant things with scriving, the magical art of encoding sentience into everyday objects, but it’s not enough. The massive merchant houses of Tevanne won’t tolerate competition, and they’re willing to do anything to crush Foundryside. But even the merchant houses of Tevanne might have met their match. An immensely powerful and deadly entity has been resurrected in the shadows of Tevanne, one that’s not interested in wealth or trade routes: a hierophant, one of the ancient practitioners of scriving. And he has a great fascination for Foundryside, and its employees – especially Sancia.

For starters, if you haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading Foundryside, then park Shorefall and dive into the first book in this series, before going any further. I regularly crash midway into series, but this isn’t one where that tactic would end well. This book starts with a bang more or less immediately after Foundryside finishes – and with the complexity of the magic system and the fact it is essentially a continuation of the narrative arc from the first book, you’ll spend far too much time floundering to make such a strategy worth it.

It was a delight to reconnect with Sancia, Berenice, Orso and Gregory, all memorable and likeable protagonists with their own backstories and different voices – which isn’t always the case in an ensemble cast. I immediately reconnected to them all – which was important as things kicked off from the start of this one and didn’t calm down at all. Not even at the end… My favourite character, other than Sancia, was poor Clef, whose fate from the first book still reverberates through this one – and he is also involved in an amazing twist at the end that I didn’t see coming. There are some gory scenes, though nothing gratuitous, with quite a lot of dismembering going on – nothing I couldn’t handle, but I did think I’d mention it, in case you find such scenes objectionable.

The action scenes were well written, with plenty going on and a delightfully horrible antagonist I loved to hate. What I also enjoyed, was that we got see why our antagonist was quite so awful and what was driving him – I liked the fact that as far as he was concerned, the end absolutely justified the means. And he also put a strong case for it, too… He is definitely one of the more memorable villains I’ve encountered recently. The pacing issues I’d had with the first book weren’t present – fortunately Bennett took the decision to allow folks to pick up his magic system on the fly, rather than interrupting the adventure to explain it all, which I appreciated.

Overall, an entertaining and well written continuation to this memorable dystopian fantasy adventure and I’m looking forward to the final book in the series. Highly recommended for fans of well-constructed magical systems and engrossing high-octane adventures. The ebook arc copy of Shorefall was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest opinion of the book.
9/10



11 responses »

  1. Lovely review, I loved this too, although Clef missing from most of the story was sort of a bummer for me. My review will be up at the end of the week😁

    • Thank you, Tammy. Yes – though I think I’m in the minority, I preferred this one to Foundryside, as I thought it was better paced – and I loved the level of threat, which I thought was very well handled. Though I’ll agree – it would have been nice to have more of Clef, but I think that where he appeared in the story and with that twist – he’s set up to move back into centre-stage in the next book:))

  2. So glad you enjoyed this! I agree the villain totally stole the show though! I always say the mark of a good writer is the ability to create sympathetic and even likable bad guys, and oof, the ending revelations definitely made me feel a gut punch.

    • I know! And I think it’s significant that the readers who were a little disappointed with this offering were less caught up in the latest developments, wanting more of the dynamic in the first book. I am always fascinated by the variation of opinion over books, particularly the popular ones…

  3. I’m glad you loved this – he is a pretty amazing author and I do love his work. I struggled a little with the pacing in the first half for some reason but that baddie – such a good baddie. Lol.
    Lynn 😀

    • Oh, he really, really is! And he completely won me over to Bennett’s writing – I wasn’t totally convinced after Foundryside, despite thoroughly enjoying it…

  4. After losing some sleep last night to finish Foundryside, I’m so glad to learn that there will be no “middle book syndrome” looming on this one! Which makes me even more eager to read it – well, that is, except for the mention of Clef’s absence for the greater part of the story…
    Thans for sharing!!! 🙂

  5. I liked Shorefall even more than I enjoyed Foundryside too. I wish we had gotten to see Clef earlier in the book but that was my only complaint. I can’t wait to see where Bennett takes the story next!

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