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Initial thoughts: “Robert Jackson Bennett became an author to watch with his stunning City of Stairs trilogy. With his newest series, he entered my automatic read list. Mr. Bennett’s world-building is superb, and his stories are intense and complicated and exciting in all the best ways. However, it is with his characters where he truly shines, and Sanchia is one of the best heroines I have read in a while. She is feisty, fierce, more than a little capable, and intensely vulnerable. You cannot help but fall a little in love with her, even though she would probably punch you in the throat for doing so. Her supporting cast is equally impressive, and I am excited to see where their stories take them. Mr. Bennett’s stories are not the types for quick reading. Instead, I savored every sentence and will now wait patiently for the rest of the series.”

Now: My initial assessment still stands. Foundryside is a fantastic story. There is magic. There are legends. There is science. There are the human interactions which fuel the drama. There are the socio-economic strata that will always cause strife.  There is a larger-than-life cast of characters which not just support but enhance Sanchia’s role as the hero. Nothing is black and white. The myriad shades of gray not only add action and drama, but they also serve as cautionary lessons that define and develop Sanchia as a character. The story is creative and intense, with the stakes being much higher than they initially appear to be. With a classic style of storytelling that takes its time, Foundryside solidifies Mr. Bennett’s place among my all-time favorite authors, and I eagerly anticipate the next book in the Founders series.

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