Robert Jackson Bennett’s Foundryside was one of my favorite books of last year, so the sequel became my first reading priority as soon as it became available. Three years after the previous book, the upstart Foundryside Limited is thriving, and Sancia has established a happy relationship with Berenice. But Clef is still silent, and the plot to restore Crasedes Magnus is near fruition.
The stakes are even higher than they were in the first book, and Bennett provides a number of spectacular setpieces for the action. There are quite a few take-your-breath-away moments here, for both the characters and the readers. Bennett never forgets the importance of the characters’ personalities and relationships, though. The growing love between Sancia and Berenice is genuinely heartwarming. And despite Orso’s general irascibility, it gradually becomes clear just how proud he is of Berenice’s accomplishments as a scriver. If anything, I was even more invested in the characters than I was while reading Foundryside. There were moments that made me smile, moments that made me laugh, and one or two that almost brought me to tears.
My only criticism had to do with one of the side characters. While her goals are generally aligned with those of the main characters, she has a different outlook on some things, which made her an interesting addition to the cast. While she does play a role in the story, Bennett didn’t do as much with her as he could have.
To the best of my knowledge, a release date and title haven’t yet been given for the final book in the trilogy. When it comes out, I’ll be just as eager to read it as I was to read Shorefall.