Robert Jackson Bennett’s Locklands is the conclusion of his Founders Trilogy, which started with Foundryside.

The thing about this trilogy is that each book is very different from the previous one. Like, in terms of plot and characters, there are obviously major connections between them, but the feel and style of the books are so different. The first book is about a street thief who gets mixed up in some shit; the second book is about city politics and capitalism; and this third book is about an all-encompassing existential war. On the one hand, when you’re liking the vibe of a book, you kinda want more of it, so there’s some frustration to this structure; on the other hand, we live in an artistic culture that is far too dedicated to giving you more of what you already like, so I applaud anyone who refuses to do that.

But leaving all that to the side, another key thing about this book is that it starts off a) some years after the previous book, and b) with absolutely zero recap whatsoever. Nobody thinking back to the events at the end of the second book, no authorial reminders of who a character is, nothing. If you, like me, read the second book some while ago and don’t have a great memory for fictional detail, you absolutely must go out and hunt down a recap if you don’t want to spend the first third of the book just desperately wishing you remembered what the deal was with everything.

Beyond that, I don’t want to say too much about the plot—probably even what I’ve already said is an unacceptable spoiler for the first two books—so I’ll just note that while it’s rather darker than the first two books in the series, it does bring matters to a satisfying conclusion while exploring some interesting ideas, in keeping with the “SF disguised as fantasy” feel of the trilogy. Recommended to epic fantasy fans.


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