Shorefall (The Founders Trilogy #2) by Robert Jackson Bennett, #Shorefall, @JoFletcherBooks

ShorefalShorefall is the second book in The Founders Trilogy and is yet again an impressive display of unique storytelling by this incredibly gifted author.

Quick warning – if you haven’t read the first book in the series you may want to avoid this review in case of spoilers (although I do try to avoid spoilers).

Shorefall picks up a few years after the conclusion of Foundryside and gets off to a cracking start as Sancia and her friends are in the thick of an ambitious heist at one of the major Houses of Tevanne. If you enjoyed Foundryside you’ll be pleased to know that your favourite characters are back and they’ve come a long way since the first instalment, setting up their own firm and contributing to significant changes in the city -not least of which is the negative impact on the four ruling Houses.  Things are of course still far from ideal with slavery and exploitation at the outlying plantations and this is something that is about to become intensified as a new threat becomes evident to Sancia due to a dream sequence.

I’m going to be intentionally vague about the plot.  The first instalment brought three key players to the scene and whilst one of those is mainly absent during this book the other two take part in a desperate bid against each other for power involving a lot of hide and seek due to disparities in strength.

Sancia and her friends play a huge role in trying to prevent this latest plot development and although they meet with limited success (or more to the point just barely stay alive) the city is about to be devastated in a most spectacular fashion that clearly sets the scene for the final book.

This is another very good book by Bennett.  An author who is incredibly creative with a seemingly endless array of plots, worlds and magical systems up his sleeve.  His writing is incredibly persuasive and I never find myself in any difficulty at all in imaging either the place or the characters and the magic system at play in The Founders Trilogy is brilliant.  It really is. The use of glyphs placed on objects to tell the object how to behave.  It’s almost stunningly simple and yet I can’t remember ever reading anything like it before.

In terms of the characters.  Well, we have pretty much the same characters as the first book although Clef is largely absent and I have to confess I missed his wit a good deal.  Sancia and Bernice share a very sweet relationship and in fact the themes of friendship are very important to the story here.  We delve a little more into Gregor’s history which is very revealing in terms of the emotional scars he carries and his own reluctance to become involved with others.  His is such a dark and horrible story which makes certain elements very hard to bear although the later developments are incredibly satisfying for those same reasons.  On top of this the hierophant, Crasedes Magnus, plays a large and very creepy part in this instalment.  Assisted by others, his resurrection brings a certain horror to the story that was absent from Foundryside – for the sake of clarify this was not a negative for me. Crasedes is hellbent on transforming the city and only the presence of another character from his past, much weakened and in hiding, can really stand against him.  The problem is,this other character is also very difficult to place any trust in so the whole sorry mess becomes a stark choice between the devil and the deep blue sea.

In terms of criticisms.  Well, after a rather sparkling start that really got me back on board almost with whiplash efficiency I did find that the plot slowed down a little.  I’m not entirely sure that ‘slowed down’ is the right phrase.  More it became a little dense with explanation of the magic system and (and I did feel similarly in book 1) it just became a little bit too much and slowed the pacing quite noticeably – at least until the last 40/50% when things sped up considerably.  I love the magic system here (I may have already mentioned that), but I felt that I had a good grasp of it and so could have used a little less explanation, plus it felt that as the story really got into the thick of things the ideas and solutions became even more convoluted with more explanations heaped on top.  The thing is though, even though the solutions became ever more fantastical I didn’t ever quite feel enough tension to be sat on the edge of my seat, reading with baited breath to see if things would work out.  Along with this I really sorely missed Clef and his interactions with Sancia.  They helped to lighten the story in No.1 and so Clef’s absence for most of the book felt like a bit of an issue for me.

That being said, and slightly slow feeling to the first half being set aside, this is still an impressive second instalment, it does have a bridging feeling for the final instalment (which promises much goodness I think) but it really does heap on the emotion and I loved the way the characters have developed.  The explorations of friendship and how the povs supported and helped each other was easily the winning element of this story for me.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

Rating 4 of 5 stars.



24 Responses to “Shorefall (The Founders Trilogy #2) by Robert Jackson Bennett, #Shorefall, @JoFletcherBooks”

  1. Barb @ Booker T's Farm

    I’m seeing this one everywhere and am really glad it it sounding like a solid follow up!

    • @lynnsbooks

      It’s such a great idea – this author is really creative for sure. This was a good follow up, I struggled a little with the pacing in the first half but overall it didn’t spoil the read for me and I can’t wait to see what happens in No.3
      Lynn 😀

  2. Tammy

    I had very similar feelings. I didn’t like it quite as much as Foundryside, mostly because Clef isn’t really in it, and I thought the descriptions of how striving works were just so dense. It took me FOREVER to read, not sure why.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yeah, the pacing for the beginning was definitely off for me, think it was just too much explanation really.
      Lynn 😀

  3. sjhigbee

    Great review, Lynn:). I think I must be one of the few readers who preferred it to the first book – I burned through this one in just two sittings and found the action scenes and the appearance of Crasedes upped the stakes. Glad when Clef made an appearance and wasn’t that twist a bit of a shocker?? Looking forward to reading the final book in this series!

    • @lynnsbooks

      I’m glad you loved it so much Sarah. I think my reading mood atm is not helping me tbh and it makes me wonder if I’m being a little unfair even trying to reat atm. But, I didn’t dislike this, I just struggled a little at the beginning and I’m definitely still looking forward to the grand finale!
      Lynn 😀

      • sjhigbee

        I don’t think you are being unfair – just absolutely honest. And that’s all any of us can be. Your review, as ever, was detailed and thoughtful and you made clear your reservations and why. It’s why I follow your blog so closely – I always enjoy reading your reviews.

      • @lynnsbooks

        Thanks 😀

  4. Rebecca

    I missed Clef so much!! I did like that Crasedes’ presence made everything a little horrifying – he could literally just unravel reality and he was definitely quite the specter!

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yes, Crasedes is a great presence – in a totally horrible way. Pity about Clef being mia for such a good portion though – he did lighten the mood with his banter.
      Lynn 😀

  5. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    Oh goodness yes, the magic system explanation and world-building exposition was DENSE. I definitely felt the slowdown you mentioned too, though it didn’t affect my experience as badly, but I still thought the first one was the better book. Ironically, this one lost a bit of its magic somehow, but having TOO much magic, if that makes sense!

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yes, I couldn’t put my finger on it because it is a good book, and I don’t think it’s book 2 syndrome or quite as simple as the novelty wearing off. There was something in the first half. A sort of tiredness somehow – maybe it’s a reflection of how Sancia felt.
      Lynn 😀

  6. pagesandtea

    Foundryside is yet another book I bought and haven’t read yet so I can’t really read your review having seen your warning at the beginning 🙂 Perhaps it should be one of the books I move to the top of my TBR. I’m torn between that and Ten Thousand Doors of January as my next potential reads.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Ooh. That’s a difficult choice. I really like both books – on balance I’d probably say 10,000 Doors. It’s an amazing book, an ode to readers really and it’s a standalone.
      Lynn 😀

  7. Susy's Cozy World

    I haven’t managed to read even a book by this author, even if I have two of his titles on my wishlist and even if I am lusting after Foundryside since it came out! On the upside, I am waiting for May to start this series because I have the first book and I am waiting for Wyrd and Wonder to start before reading it, but the waiting is killing me!

    • @lynnsbooks

      I hope you enjoy Foundryside. I do love this author, he has a fantastic imagaination.
      Lynn 😀

  8. Jen | Book Den

    I peeked a little bit because I haven’t read book 1. I have it on my TBR shelf, though!

    • @lynnsbooks

      I tried to avoid spoilers but you just never know if something you say innocently might be a giveaway – so you did the right thing avoiding reading.
      Lynn 😀

  9. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    Having finished Foundryside just last night, I’m now quite eager for its sequel and I’m happy to learn that the story and characterization remain solid throughout. Granted, in book 1 the sometimes-too-long explanations about how the magic works did bother me a little, so I guess they will do the same here, but if that’s the “price” I have to pay to meet again with Sancia & Co. I will do it gladly. I’m just sorry about the mention of Clef being mostly absent…
    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yes, there is some explaining taking place again in this one but it’s still a great read and he’s such an imaginative author. I think you’ll enjoy this one – the baddie of the piece is a show stealer and I can’t wait to see what happens in the third book.
      Lynn 😀

  10. waytoofantasy

    Skipping this because I haven’t read the first one yet but I’m glad you enjoyed it!

    • @lynnsbooks

      He’s a great author full of imagaination and with oodles of unique ideas. The pacing at the start give me a few issues but overall this wasa good second book in series and the third promises much goodness.
      Lynn 😀

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