I was a little meh about Foundryside, but Robert Jackson Bennett’s Shorefall, the second book in that trilogy, impressed me a lot more.

Part of this is because of where things were left at the end of Foundryside. Rather than just reprising a standard fantasy-thief thing, it’s set up to do something far more interesting; I don’t want to talk about this in any detail, because that probably constitutes a spoiler for the first book, but it’s neat.

But then also part of it is because this book just kicks into high gear and never lets up. There’s this hyper-compressed timeframe (I think the whole book takes place in like two days?), and just a lot of stuff going on. And then, when you think you know where it’s going to end up, it doesn’t really do that, either.

It’s not just fast-paced action, though; the book is also digging into some really interesting themes about what it means to “win” in a historical sense, in kinda the way that the last season of Game of Thrones essentially failed to. I’m looking forward to the third book, and will read it basically as soon as it’s available. Recommended to anyone who likes modern-style epic fantasies that don’t suck.


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