Hello book friends! Long time no see. I haven’t blogged due to a combination of not having the energy and just generally being busy with university stuff. I really need to relearn how to manage my time!
As you may know, I have been having some trouble with finishing books lately. Honestly I blame it on moving across the ocean for the third (?) time in one year. I started reading Shorefall while on my flight to NL, but paused it when I still hadn’t finished it by the end of August. I felt slightly bad about it, because I was enjoying the book and I absolutely loved the first book, Foundryside. You can find a spoiler free review of that one here!
Anyway, I finally finished reading Shorefall, so here is my spoiler free review!
P.S: Even though this review contains no spoilers for Shorefall, it might contain some spoilers for Foundryside, so reader beware!
By Robert Jackson BennettPublished 21 April 2020 by Del Rey
fantasy | magic | LGBTQ
My rating: ★★★★★
Having narrowly saved the metropolis of Tevanne from destruction, Sancia Grado and her allies have turned to their next task: sowing the seeds of a full-on magical-industrial revolution. If they succeed, the secrets behind scriving—the art of imbuing everyday objects with sentience—will be accessible to all of Tevanne’s citizens, much to the displeasure of the robber-barons who’ve hoarded this knowledge for themselves.
But one of Sancia’s enemies has embarked on a desperate gambit, an attempt to resurrect a figure straight out of legend—an immortal being known as a heirophant. Long ago, the heirophant was an ordinary man, but he’s used scriving to transform himself into something closer to a god. Once awakened, he’ll stop at nothing to remake the world in his horrifying image.
And if Sancia can’t stop this ancient power from returning? Well, the only way to fight a god…is with another god.
What I Liked
What I loved about Foundryside was that the story starts in the middle of the action. This is also the case with Shorefall. From the first page, I knew we were in the middle of something big, and it’s best to pay attention.
Shorefall takes place a couple of years after the events of Foundryside. Sancia and crew have set up shop in the Commons, and have begun their mission to make scriving accessible to everyone in Tevanne, not just the elite. Plus, they are busy pushing the limits of what scriving can do. I really enjoyed this continuation of what is essentially world building. The limits to this particular magic system are not yet entirely defined, and thus can grow with each new installment in this series.
Foundryside was mostly about Sancia, but in Shorefall the other characters get a lot more page time. I love the dynamic between all the characters. They work so well together, and despite the seriousness of this book, there is still plenty of banter and humor. Plus I also love how accessible Bennett’s writing style is. Too many times I have picked up a fantasy book, only to find long description, and large words I don’t even know the meaning of. Like Foundryside, Shorefall reads very easily.
When I wrote my review for Foundryside I mentioned that I expected a little bit more foreboding at the end, and I hoped that the second book would have more of an “oomph” to it. Ehh, well it did. That’s all I’ll say about that.
What I Liked Less
Again, I rated this book very highly, so it’s not like there’s anything wrong with the book. But like with Foundryside, I missed an emotional factor. In terms of character safety, Shorefall is way worse than Foundryside. You should definitely always be fearing for their lives. And yet, I felt a little removed from it all. A lot happens in this book, and we finally get some answers about who the Hierophants are/were, and where Clef comes from. All these revelations should be very emotional, but I didn’t really feel it.
Lastly, sometimes this book felt like it had too many quests. You know when you play a game, and you have to solve all these little things before you can solve the big thing? Reading this book kind of felt like that. Yes, you need to have solved the little things before even attempting to solve the big thing, but it also meant I sometimes lost view of the big picture.