I’m committed to finishing series this year and for my last review for a few days, I’m bringing you my thoughts on Shorefall! So far this series has one of my favorite adult fantasy “magic systems” and character casts of all time, although various aspects have changed drastically since Foundryside. As always, I do my best to keep these book talks spoiler free but it *is* book two in a series 🤷♀️
Bookish quick facts:
- Title: Shorefall
- Series: The Founders Trilogy #2
- Author: Robert Jackson Bennett
- Publisher & Release: Del Rey, 2020
- Length: 512 pages
- Rate & Recommend: ⭐⭐⭐⭐✨ for fans of darker fantasy with technical magic, lots of world, and all the heist shenanigans
Here’s the synopsis from Am*zon:
As a magical revolution remakes a city, an ancient evil is awakened in a brilliant novel from the Hugo-nominated author of Foundryside and the Divine Cities trilogy.
A few years ago, Sancia Grado would’ve happily watched Tevanne burn. Now, she’s hoping to transform her city into something new. Something better. Together with allies Orso, Gregor, and Berenice, she’s about to strike a deadly blow against Tevanne’s cruel robber-baron rulers and wrest power from their hands for the first time in decades.
But then comes a terrifying warning: Crasedes Magnus himself, the first of the legendary hierophants, is about to be reborn. And if he returns, Tevanne will be just the first place to feel his wrath.
Thousands of years ago, Crasedes was an ordinary man who did the impossible: Using the magic of scriving—the art of imbuing objects with sentience—he convinced reality that he was something more than human. Wielding powers beyond comprehension, he strode the world like a god for centuries, meting out justice and razing empires single-handedly, cleansing the world through fire and destruction—and even defeating death itself.
Like it or not, it’s up to Sancia to stop him. But to have a chance in the battle to come, she’ll have to call upon a god of her own—and unlock the door to a scriving technology that could change what it means to be human. And no matter who wins, nothing will ever be the same
A quick note on the audio: from Random House Audio at 19 hours & 40 minutes, narrated by Tara Sands. This is a longer one and I absolutely love Tara’s narration. She does a great range of voices and kept me interested throughout the entire book! Highly recommend this route if you like audiobooks
It’s hard to talk about a book with so much scope, and I absolutely loved this one just as much as Foundryside. About three years has passed and scriving is much more accessible to the public thanks to the crew’s shenanigans at the end of book one. There’s no waiting for action: it opens right up with another magical heist as Sancia, Orso, and the others are aiming to bring down the big Houses and make their scriving definitions available for everyone.
It’s a cute and cozy establishment but as you can imagine, then *the synopsis* happens. Things get dark quick and then it’s a manner of damage control as Cresedes and Valeria, the two hierophants, face off.
Where this book really shines is…. Everywhere. The history of the constructs (Clef, Valeria, even Cresedes) isn’t what I expected at all. It’s sad, it’s dark, it’s epic, and we get to watch as reality itself is redefined. Is God just a scriver that had the highest permissions? I freaking love this take on evolution and creationism, sociology, it’s all here in a big way as the morals of reality and control move to a globally historic scale.
The characters are amazing too, everyone is older and more tired. They’ve gotten a tad softer over the years and Bennett accounts for this in the heists. He does everything right and keeps the plot moving quickly forward. I think the only place the book stalled was when everyone kind of finally hit “rock bottom”, the tears and antics got a tad repetitive, but man was I feeling for these characters.
There’s so much history and world building tied into the characters and plot as well that’s it’s not hard to just get sucked into these books. The setting and atmosphere is consistent and well realized throughout the entire thing. It’s everything I look for in a fantasy. And the consequences at the end are astronomical.
Where can he even go from here!
(I do have questions but I’m going to put them after the end of the review disclaimer in case anyone wants to discuss them with me, but they’re spoilery, so stop at the second line if you don’t want spoilers🤔)
Thanks for checking out my audiobook & book review for Shorefall by Robert Jackson Bennett! I obtained my copy through the Libby app and as always, all opinions are my own♥️
Ok now let’s do the discussion questions: stop here if you haven’t read it yet!
I’m dying to know ..
- Did anyone else tear up when Orso split off at the end?
- Did anyone else notice that Bennett seemed to forget that Orso had been twinned into their group? They should have retained an emotional connection, no?
- On that note, the Tevanne Construct didn’t seem to retain any Gregor after the initial water-burial! I thought he would retain more influence but it didn’t seem that way
- So do we think there is another, higher Maker, or was it Valeria all along? I think there’s something else above it all
- Most importantly – what was the point of utterly destroying Tevanne (the city?) They’re not exactly remaking civilization if they just wipe the entire population out!
Oooh I hope someone will chat Shorefall spoilers with me!