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Publisher's Summary

"The exciting beginning of a promising new epic fantasy series. Prepare for ancient mysteries, innovative magic, and heart-pounding heists." (Brandon Sanderson)

"Complex characters, magic that is tech and vice versa, a world bound by warring trade dynasties: Bennett will leave you in awe once you remember to breathe!" (Tamora Pierce)

In a city that runs on industrialized magic, a secret war will be fought to overwrite reality itself - the first in a dazzling new fantasy series from City of Stairs author Robert Jackson Bennett.  

Sancia Grado is a thief, and a damn good one. And her latest target, a heavily guarded warehouse on Tevanne’s docks, is nothing her unique abilities can’t handle.  

But unbeknownst to her, Sancia’s been sent to steal an artifact of unimaginable power, an object that could revolutionize the magical technology known as scriving. The Merchant Houses who control this magic - the art of using coded commands to imbue everyday objects with sentience - have already used it to transform Tevanne into a vast, remorseless capitalist machine. But if they can unlock the artifact’s secrets, they will rewrite the world itself to suit their aims.  

Now someone in those Houses wants Sancia dead, and the artifact for themselves. And in the city of Tevanne, there’s nobody with the power to stop them.  

To have a chance at surviving - and at stopping the deadly transformation that’s under way - Sancia will have to marshal unlikely allies, learn to harness the artifact’s power for herself, and undergo her own transformation, one that will turn her into something she could never have imagined.

©2018 Robert Jackson Bennett (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"A stunning fantasy [from] the endlessly inventive Bennett...a crackling, wonderfully weird blend of science fiction, fantasy, heist adventure, and a pointed commentary on what it means to be human in a culture obsessed with technology, money, and power." (Publishers Weekly)

"Mona Lisa meets The Matrix... A grand entertainment [that] inaugurates another series of imaginative, thoroughly idiosyncratic fantasy novels." (Kirkus Reviews)

“In Foundryside, scriving magic is the cheat code to reality, and Bennett is a master gamer. A refreshing look at magic - featuring a heroine every reader will root for - from one of the smartest writers I know.” (Peter V. Brett, New York Times best-selling author of The Demon Cycle)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing Fantasy

This book was amazing. With a well thought out magic system, engaging characters, a plot that pulls few punches, after writing the Divine Cities Trilogy Robert Jackson Bennett strikes again as a fantasy author with a new series that looks to be shaping up to be another great one.

For me this book ticks many boxes that a great fantasy should have. A sense of discovery, abundant magic, society shaped by that magic, a consistent story, and after finishing you feel like you accomplished something, gained a new perspective, and new characters to cherish and imagine.

Tara Sands was a great voice for this novel captures the characters well and the tone of the story. The production was on point.

Not having much more to say and not wanting to spoil the novel the book, my recommendation is: BUY

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

If you know the work of Brandon Sanderson, you’ll enjoy this.

Although it could very well be part of the cosmere as it’s so similar in style and magic system. (Set in the Elantris world most likely). I wish the book had developed the “bad” character a bit more. Sometime it feels a bit gratuitous or over-exaggerated. The second and last thing, I also wish the romance part was further developed. It really comes out of the blue although it get better by the end, I’m not sure it should have been delayed to the next book where it could get more pages. Overall great listen, good narrator and engaging story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Another excellent book by Robert Jackson Bennett

Audio
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Tara Sands does a fine job, making the audio a decent option. Her normal reading voice seems like a good fit for the protagonist and does some additional voices that adds that little extra something to the book.

Story
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I'm typically a big fan of thief protagonists, and heist stories, so it's no surprise that I was excited to see how RJB tackled the genre. I really loved his Divine City books, especially the first two and I was looking forward to read a story in a different setting.

Sancia is a pretty good protagonist, although I didn't connect to her right away. Once things finally got going with the magic key however, things picked up quite a bit for me.

The story in this book was enjoyable, but for me the best part was the excellent magic system. I'm a sucker for a well thought out and detailed magic system. I'm a software engineer by trade. The details of how scriving works reminds me a lot of how software is built. You start with a foundation of lower level language and build higher level languages on top of that.

I loved, loved LOVED this system, and I'm hoping we continue to get some more interesting details about it as the series progresses.

Overall this was a pretty solid start to a new series that only got better as the book went along. I'm really looking forward to seeing where he takes things next. If you haven't read anything by Robert Jackson Bennett, I highly recommend it. His Divine cities books are excellent, and this one is right up there with them.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Joshua
  • Winnipeg, MB Canada
  • 11-14-18

I found a beautiful moment

This book very nearly became one of those that could have lingered forever in my wish-list, never purchased. The synopsis suggested a race for the Macguffin that could change the world. Pretty standard fare, nothing too special there, except that the reviews were encouraging. So I gave it a shot, mostly because of its length. I'd burned through five other books in the previous couple weeks, and wanted something that I could stick with for a while.

Well, the Macguffin turned out to be a character that was initially amusing. I figured it would get old quickly, and I'd probably end up annoyed by it. Wrong again. The author did a great job of developing the character of the Macguffin, and it became more interesting as the story progressed.

The same was true for the main character. She was developed well, and I came to a point where I realized the author had managed to describe a truth in this book. The character was asked if they felt free, or if they felt as though they had stolen themselves. That might not be directly applicable to me, but it touched on a deep insecurity that I found familiar when confronted with it. It wasn't overblown, wasn't some confrontation where someone is revealed to be someone else's father, it was a brief passage that I felt touched on a truth, and that's what earned it my fifth star.

An author can't hope for more than to speak a truth through his book. That statement might seem overwrought, but that exchange has stuck with me, and it felt authentic.

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a fast and suprisingly unique story!

definitely reccomend. hate that I know have to wait 2 years for the next one!

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Fantastic in all facets.

Fantastic writing, complex yet elegant magic system with deep broken characters. Not to mention an absolutely stellar performance by Tara Sands. Robert J Bennett crushes it out of the park with this one, I often felt like I was reading a Sanderson novel. A great man once said:
"If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that's a full day. That's a heck of a day."
In each of the two days it took me to get through this book Robert J Bennett brought me to laugh, think and cry. This is a heck of a book and I strongly recommend that everybody read it.

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Fantastically entertaining!!

I found this book to be one the best I’ve listened to in long time. A great mix of action character development and a well rounded complex hard magic system which I found to be very interesting and full of potential. If your a Brandon Sanderson fan you’ll love this book!

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    3 out of 5 stars
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A bit childish

After the elegant complexity of the Divine Cities Series, this book seems a bit simple and straightforward. There were a lot of well used tropes which I was surprised that Mr. Bennett employed. Poor but fiery street urchin, a starkly divided society with clear good guys and bad guys. It’s not bad but I expected a bit more layering, depth and intricacy from a writer as good and creative as Mr. Bennett.

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Great story and world. Set with great possibilities

So this is another near complete binge listers. The world and characters that the author has created will leave you enraptured. I started this book on a 4hr drive, and it left me not wanting to leave my vehicle once I arrived at my destination. This world that Robert J. created, is a clean story arch that is tied up neatly. The world is well thought through and developed. This has leads to distinct characters and their development through out the book. Yet leave vast legions of possibilities for future books with in this story arch. I highly recommend buying this book with a credit or just straight up. I feel it was well worth my money and will be looking forward to then next one.

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ended up better then it started out

I thought it was stupid at first but I ended up liking it. . .

0 of 1 people found this review helpful