Cover Image: Shorefall


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Embarking on the thrilling journey of Shorefall feels like a rollercoaster of epic proportions, consistently blowing the mind with every twist and turn.

As the second installment in the Founders series, Shorefall lives up to the high standards set by its predecessor. Robert Jackson Bennett doesn't just craft good writing; it's exceptional, and the characters are brilliantly portrayed.

Set a couple of years after the events of Foundryside, Sancia, Berenice, Orso, and Gregory have established their scriving business, aiming to uplift the less fortunate and challenge the supremacy of the merchant houses. Yet, amidst their noble efforts, a formidable force approaches Tevanne. The group must pivot swiftly to confront this new menace, a threat that jeopardizes not only the city but their very existence.

Shorefall takes the captivating concepts of scriving and cranks up the intensity, not just a notch but enough to leave your senses ringing! The exploration of reality and its transformation when manipulated, making objects defy their inherent nature, is utterly fascinating.

While the narrative is densely packed with plot developments, occasionally muffling the characters caught in its intricate web, the brilliance of the series lies in Bennett's profound and mind-bending plot ideas. The Founders series is a delightful blend of fantasy and steampunk, delivering a hefty dose of pure awesomeness.

As Shorefall concludes, you'll realize that Bennett hasn't merely introduced a new concept like scriving; he's unveiled an entire realm of reality and dimensions. Get ready, because this journey will blow your mind!

I'm genuinely excited for fellow fans to delve into this latest addition to the series. Trust me, disappointment is not on the horizon!

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No matter if you waited months after finishing the first book or mere minutes, Bennett pulls no punches in throwing us back into the action that has defined this series so far. We pick up the story three years after the end of the first book and much has changed. The book starts us off directly with attention grabbing action as our four Foundrysiders - Sancia, Berenice, Gregor and Orso - attempt to try and make the world into a place that the see as better than it was. However, their first adventure on the high seas doesn’t go as they had anticipated and they are faced with the emergence of a power that is even larger and more dangerous than they could have expected.

Thrown together with a cast of interesting side characters, the main try four attempt to figure out how to save their world and prevent the explosion of god-like powers that are suddenly ravaging the city. Add in a revolutionary set on saving all former slaves, old rivals rearing their heads, and so many new problems, the crew is back to their unusual ways of solving problems.

This book started with a heist, much like the first one did, and even as the first section comes to an end, it feels like the climax only to realize it’s less than halfway into the book. This book was almost consistent action that made it incredibly difficult to put down and very enjoyable.

While it was announced at the beginning that three years had passed, I found myself continually forgetting and wishing that we had seen the development of the relationships between the various characters. That being said, reading about the group again had me realizing that I had missed them and their antics.

I highly recommend this book and ended up giving it nearly 5 of 5 stars. I can’t wait to finish the series next month!

I received an eARC copy from the publisher and would like to thank them for the copy.

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4.5 stars

If I thought the concepts in book one below my mind, I was in for an ever bigger mind blowing.

Now the only reason I gave this book 4.5 stars instead of 5 is because I felt it was a bit too drawn out. This novel was long, and I read multiple books in between just to give myself a break. I also was a little confused about the story of Clef and Cresades, I wish we got a little more backstory on that.

But apart from that, the concepts in book one went from 10-100 in this second book, like the BRAIN of this man is absolutely astounding to me. How much he expanded on the capabilities of scriving in this book blew my mind away, especially when it came to the last two parts.

The characters were a lot more spread out rather than mainly being focused on Sancia this round, which was nice because she wasn’t as exciting this book for me, but the back and forth between Valeria and Crasedes was mind blowing.

I am excited to see how this series ends because it has been a phenomenal entry into the steampunk version of high fantasy!

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Read for Hugo Award for best series 2023. The second book of the trilogy starts strong and keeps a fast pace. Although I had read the first book ages ago there were enough hints/reminders that it came back fairly quickly. A diverse cast of individuals with a strong found family aspect and expanding the world building from the first book. A tense story with great characters, unique magic, and nuanced motivations, an engaging read.

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Another corker of a novel from Bennett here as he takes the stakes from Foundryside and ramps them up further and further. Once more we start with a heist, but the stakes are even higher this time and Sanca, Berenice, Gregor and Orso are determined to re-distribute the wealth of scribings to the masses. This is very much akin to dancing with death and they are making some very powerful enemies indeed. But human enemies aren't the only ones coming for them, this time they may well find them set against a God and that is a whole different kettle of fish.

As with Foundryside, this is full of innovative and interesting world-building, fantastic characters and a wry humour throughout that will make you smile at the most tense of moments. It's action packed and high stakes, with a taut narrative that drags you along by your ankles. There are answers to your questions, but always more questions to follow and it's impossible not to be drawn in by the novel.

All in all, an excellent sequel that doesn't fall foul of second book syndrome. And the third is out!

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Superb follow-up. Somehow the author managed to up the stakes and it feels like nonstop action throughout the entire book. It had been some time since I read the first installment, so I appreciated the subtle reminders in the first half. This one is very emotionally charged, and I look forward to the final book.

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Thank you netgalley and the publishers for letting me read this. I know this book has been out for a while but I never got around to reading it, Founderyside is one of my all time favourite books, but live happens and I feel out of reading for a while but this book was no different I absolutely loved it and I couldn't recommend it enough. 5 stars all the way

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Shorefall starts after 3 years from the events of foundryside. Orso has established his own house with the help of Berenice, Sancia and Gregor. They help the needy and they are changing how things work in Tevanne. We meet Valeria again of course and there's a hierophant named Cresades.

The whole book was amazing, Fast paced and full of action with so many plot twists. I liked it even better than foundryside.

“But it is a regrettable thing that in order to fix a monstrous world, one must become a little monstrous in one’s own right.”

There is strong power play at work throughout the book, a war between Cresades and Valeria. It was like tug of war as power kept shifting from one to other. The storyline stretches over just a span of few days that is how palpating this book was. It was full of surprises and twists and turns. It bothered me that not a single founder, not even Sancia could figure out who was the greater evil.

The bond between the characters has grown very strong in second book and it felt even touchy. I was rooting for each of the Founders of foundryside. I wouldn't give any spoilers but I'm hoping that everyone is alive in next book. The ending left me sad but it is making me grab and read the third book.

Very rarely that it happens that second book of the series doesn't disappoint and Shorefall was so so much better than I expected.

Thank you Netgalley and Random house publishing Ballantine for the ARC in exchange of an honest review. Jumping on the last installment.

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Pulse-pounding action meets science fiction and fantasy at Shorefall. The second entry of The Founders Trilogy hits even harder than the first. We catch up with the main characters that we have developed an interest in after three years, but its not a catch up over afternoon tea, we are jumping right into another caper and shortly get a new villain. We learn more about our main characters' pasts and more about the magic system of this unique world but its not a long-winded information dump, its more like a fast-paced action thriller. The character fought and thought their ways through all of the obstacles in their path, and there were so many interesting obstacles, from beginning to end in this book. And in the end, we are just left with a stage set to play out in the final book of the trilogy.
This was a masterfully crafted "middle" book that had me on the edge of my seat throughout and left me yearning for the third installment. Lucky for me, Locklands is already published and I don't need to anxiously wait to see how things turn out, so I'm keeping this short so I can go dive in to chapter 1.
I received advanced digital access to this book thru NetGalley (for which I want to thank NetGalley and the publisher, Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine, Del Rey) for an honest review. The opinion expressed here is my own.

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I am not sure what happened here, but I found the first book to be incredibly interesting and fun while this follow up attempt to be decidedly less so. You still have the basic plot … it opens with a heist by our expanded team of main characters before the next big bad makes the scene and we ramp up to the exciting finale (despite several reviews complaining about a cliffhanger, technically it is a really crappy "to be continued" instead since the main conflict is resolved … perhaps it is a nuance without a difference for some). So where did this loos points? In the first book the world building was new and fantastic and carried much of the story … here it seemed like the world-building devolved into a hot mess … starting with the return of the undead hierophant who seems to be able to just do some magic without scriving (while at the same time being limited by plot armor called permissions, rights and privileges that work better in the IT world from which they came than here). That pretty much blew any plot discipline out the window as soon as he appeared with the only reason he didn’t crush our heroes being his apparent need to monologue (because all the kool villains do this). This ridiculousness is compounded through the introduction and abuse of the concept of twinning where this Vulcan mind meld seems to always get the plot rolling again when the author writes himself into a corner.

The pacing is deceptively slow … yes there is a race against the clock feel; however, this is interrupted by simplistic and convenient dialogue added to frequent exhibitions of extensive and repetitive details (info dumps) that was supplied as the main characters stand around talking about what to do next … I am sure this was an attempt to stretch out the forced feeling of suspense and anticipation … but it fails miserable. ["Now, unless anyone else wants to tell me his or her life story, can we shoot the big gun?" - Zurg] Too many words and not enough action make Jack a very bored boy. To make matters worse … what ever connection I had to protagonists from book one (1), it completely evaporated here … I just could not bring myself to care about any of the. Sancia spends a lot of time just being shocked and offended to the point of near paralysis … she just isn’t that interesting as the main PoV character without her interactions with Clef. Overall she was primarily the driver of the train wreck of all the over the top emotional drama. Bearanice was completely flat where even the relationship between her and Sancia had no fire at all. Orsa was a grumpy old man that was only there to insert his collection of course vocabulary … speaking of which … if replacing only one curse word with some meaningless invented word while keeping the prolific use of all the other gorram curses (of which there were way too many instances to be effective at all) is just stupid. All or nothing please. Then there is Gregor … who was simply there for the big reveal at the end. Seriously I connected with none of them.

Crasedes was actually more interesting than I expected, if still a little creepy in the way he was always stalking Sancia. He loses points for being ridiculous overpowered and for the unneeded torture scenes (trigger warning are appropriate for this book), but I could almost understand his motivation to bring about his end goal of total human enslavement (almost) … especially after more of his mysterious past is revealed in several surprising plot twists. Unfortunately his reticence to actually explain anything that he was doing only served to keep him in the shadows as the main bogeyman (a bit of clumsy misdirection while the real antagonized works against both him AND our team of intrepid adventurers). Valeria, the artificial god limited only by her “programming," was also interesting … in a rogue AI trope in a sci-fi meme that we all know always ends badly. Go Team V. Ultimately the ending was a relief when it came … no I still need to figure out if I want to read the next installment (odds are decent as I still enjoy the world building).

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#Shorefall #TheFounders #NetGalley

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This picks up where we left off and continues to expand on the world and the magic system, as well as the villain/s from the first book. There are a lot of players and they all have their own goals that don't play nice together, so the characters are often placed at odds with their desires and with each other as they pick the lesser evil and try to find an unaccounted for option-- which means lots of interesting situations and character dynamics!

I didn't love it as much as they first book, but it was a solid entry.

Audiobook Notes: Dear god, do NOT pick up the audiobook for this series. The narrator makes so many choices on how to voice the characters that I absolutely do not agree with (thank goodness I already had clear ideas formed from Foundryside because her accuracy in portrayals was 0/∞).

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Robert Jackson Bennett is one of my fav authors. Everything he writes is phenomenal! This was no exception. I will always pick up any book by him. An auto buy author. That’s for sure. His writing is smooth. The plot spaced evenly and his characters were well described and seemed like real life.

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This was fantastic! This book picks up just a few years after the events of the first book. Sancia, Orso, Gregor, and Berenice are still working together and I thought that they made a great team. The story was incredibly exciting since it seemed that Sancia and the rest of the group faced one impossible situation after another. There were more than a few surprises that kept the story very interesting. I was really worried about how things would work out for our crew and had a really hard time setting the book aside. I listened to the audiobook and thought that Tara Sands did a wonderful job in bringing this story to life.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Del Rey and purchased a copy of the audiobook.

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Almost didn't finish it because the middle sagged. But I do love these characters and their messed up world. Thankfully, it got better and ended on a strong note. This doesn't have any neat and tidy wrap up. Everything is very much in the air for the third book. No idea how they're going to get out of this.

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Shorefall was an amazing follow-up to one of my all-time favorite fantasy reads. Bennett created a truly impressive world with minute details that boggled the mind. I can't say for certain that I was able to fully understand the intricacies, but he never made you feel like you were being left out of this adventure. Simultaneously dreading and yet eager for the upcoming conclusion.

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This one lost me a bit and I don’t know that I’ll be continuing with the series. The world is a bit overwhelming at times and the characters don’t feel strong enough to carry the story

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Foundryside is still one of my favorite fantasy worlds. I loved learning the intricate magic system and the development of the relationships between the characters.

Shorefall felt a little flat to me compared to the first book but I still enjoyed the story and characters but I just did not feel as captivated as I did Bree the first on the series.

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I liked the first book in this series, but I could really not get into this second volume, unfortunately.

The magic system, which I really loved in the first book started feeling familiar and the story just wasn't it for me. We had the initial failure of stopping the Big Bad for manifesting and then, obviously, there was the McGuffin that would save us all, etc. It all seemed a bit trite and contrived and it failed to hold my interest.


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Mostly - I liked it, but I didn't love it as much as I loved the first. There was a lot of WTF in it, to me. (But there was also some delicious tropey Sancia/Berenice - also some bits that made me roll my eyes and think of the worst fanfic - as well as answers to a few questions raised by the end of the previous book.)

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Shorefall picks up three years after the end of Foundryside, and it starts just as Foundryside began: at the beginning of a heist. In this case, Sancia, Orso, Berenice, and Gregor want to steal scrivings from a powerful group and distribute those scrivings to others in Tevanne. Of course, this can't all happen without some problems along the way. During all of this, one of Sancia's foes has resurrected Crasedes, a hierophant who was scrived to the point that he essentially became a god. Now Sancia and her companions must stop Crasedes from destroying and remaking Tevanne.

I appreciated all of the commentary the author managed to include that easily applies to our world. More than anything else, I adored seeing Sancia and Berenice's relationship develop and grow. Another aspect of this book that I don't completely want to spoil is the way that characters are brought together and how they are able to empathize with one another.

Although the beginning was so explosive, I felt the story start to go flat toward the middle, only to pick up in the last 25% and end on a high note. This isn't unusual in trilogies, so I can't fault the book too much for that. Shorefall was overall enjoyable and I look forward to the final book.

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