Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Sancia is a specially skilled thief who accepted a job that can pay beyond her wildest dreams. The target is a simple box in a safe at the Tevanne docks. When curiosity gets the best of Sancia she learns she's stolen a device that could forever change the magic like scriving that has built Tevanne. She decides to flee rather than hand it over. Before she even has a chance to do so her contact is murdered and she escapes a trap that would undoubtedly lead to her demise. Sancia has to keep running, but she unfortunately doesn't have the resources to get far. She's forced to make previously unthinkable allies and to take risks that could lead to the destruction of Tevanne itself.
Foundryside is an intriguing book jam packed with world building. It's clear the author intends for Foundryside to be the first in a series as it establishes the history of the world along with the detailed day to day science of the world's unique attribute, scriving.
I've read and watched many stories that go into detail about scientific details of a world, but I don't know that I've ever seen one explained as thoroughly as scriving. Scriving at it's core is the process of making an item believe something different about itself through a complicated process filled with sigils and fueled by lexicons. For example weapons in the world similar to crossbow bolts believe when fired by the bow that they haven't been fired by the bow, but instead have been falling for hundreds or thousands of feet. This increases the attack velocity and power of the bolts which in turn makes a useful weapon into something inhumanly devastating.
The most interesting part of the story was Sancia herself. Sancia is a scrived human. Scrived humans shouldn't exist, but Sancia does. Her powers are a gift for stealing and fleeing, but a nightmare for everyday life. Sancia learns about anything she touches. If she touches a table for example she learns it's physical attributes such as where it's weakest or if any grooves have been carved into it. This is extremely helpful for her when she's on a job as such an ability is very useful on a wall or tunnel. The problem with her ability is she can't turn it off. Sancia keeps her skin covered most of the time and has to avoid human contact so she isn't overloaded by her ability. Sancia as a person is simply a survivor who is doing her best in a hard world.
Foundryside is largely a mystery to unravel and it is filled with stunning surprises.
4 out of 5 stars
I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
View all my reviews