Written by Robert Jackson Bennett
Shorefall Review (Book 2 of the Founder’s Trilogy)
Author: Robert Jackson Bennett
Netgalley provided me with an ARC of Shorefall, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Netgalley!
First of all, if you haven’t read Foundryside then stop reading this and go pick it up. It is a fantastic book that builds the foundation The Founder’s Trilogy is set upon. Also, this review may have a few minor spoilers if you haven’t read Foundryside, but I’ll do my best to avoid anything that would ruin the reading experience for you.
Shorefall picks up about 3 years after the events of Foundryside. Sancia Grado, and her companions are working together in an attempt to make Tevanne a better place. They, of course, plan to do this by taking down the corrupt houses in the city. If you enjoyed the steampunk world and the high-stakes heists of Foundryside then buckle up because Shorefull puts the pedal to the metal as soon as you open the book. What begins as a simple heist in one of the many corrupt houses quickly becomes something much, much larger. Soon Sancia and her companions find themselves at the center of something far bigger than them and their mission. The world, quite literally, could face complete and total annihilation when Crasedes Magnus, the first of the hierophants, resurrects himself, and returns to Tevanne.
Bennett raises the stakes in Shorefall, pushing the characters to their limits. He also manages to increase the scope of the world and sheds more light on its mysterious history.
Shorefall, like Foundryside, reads like a heist story with heavy steampunk elements. My favorite thing about Foundryside was the magic system. It is a complex system, which Bennett has managed to make believable somehow. Shorefall gears everything up to max with the magic system, and the results are fascinating.The problems these characters face have far higher stakes than in Foundryside, and the ideas they come up with to overcome these challenges is half the fun of reading the book.
The book reads in third person omniscient, while Foundryside was third person limited, with everything being from Sancia’s perspective. This is both Shorefall’s greatest strength, and greatest weakness. With Shorefall, we get to see things from the perspective of a few different characters. I think this writing tactic was used in order to effectively build upon some new abilities the characters learn to use through scriving (not going to reveal anything in fear of spoiling the good stuff). The result, however, was mixed for me. I really enjoyed the intimate look at the world through the eyes of Sancia in Foundryside, and I feel like her character development suffered in Shorefall because we had less time with her. Not much less time, mind you, but I could definitely feel the difference. On the other hand, we do get to learn a ton more about Gregor. In fact, I almost felt like Gregor was at the center of this story, and I really enjoyed learning his backstory. Each of the characters are interesting in their own ways, and this includes the book’s villain, who has plenty of gray areas to ponder over. I really don’t want to go too far into any of this, just in case you haven’t read Foundryside yet, but the characters are great.
Aside from my feelings on the POV changes, Shorefall was a fantastic read. I had fun the entire time, and felt even more intrigued with the magic system and world than I did with Foundryside. On top of this, the ending was…just wow.
Robert Jackson Bennett had a difficult job with Shorefall. He had to match the quality of Foundryside, and add to it in order to increase the scope of the world and the depth of the insanely awesome magic system. He absolutely succeeded at both of these, and I am definitely going to be impatiently waiting in line for book 3!
I’m not a huge fan of rating books I read with a score because I don’t think all books can be fairly compared to each other based on a number alone. Still, I do see the value in providing a score. So, 4.5 out of 5 for Shorefall. A really fun read with an excellent magic system and complex characters that captures the spirit of book 1 and adds to it. READ IT!