close

The Qwillery | category: The Founders Trilogy

home

The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

qwillery.blogspot.com

Qwill's Top 3 of 2018


There are 3 top novels for me from 2018. These are books that I have thought about long after I finished reading them. I'm listing them in order by author name not order of favorite because trying to put one first would be like trying to choose a favorite child. Each novel features a well crafted magic system. These novels stand out for their exceptional worldbuilding but, more important, for their wonderful characters and riveting stories.



I love Robert Jackson Bennett's writing. From The Company Man to Foundryside, his work is just fantastic. Vigilance (from Tor.com) is out later this month. I'll be letting you know what I think. Check out The Divine Cities Trilogy if you're looking for great fantasy read. Don't miss reading The Troupe either. Just read everything he's written. You can thank me later. My review of Foundryside is here.


Foundryside
The Founders Trilogy 1
Crown, August 21, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 512 pages
   Trade Paperback, May 21, 2019

Qwill's Top 3 of 2018
“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 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.





David Mack's The Midnight Front, the 1st novel in his Dark Arts series, is set during World War II. The titular Midnight Front fights the war on the magical level. The Nazis have magic wielders and so do the Allies. Mack's magical system is finely developed and like all well-written magical systems there is a price to pay for the magic users. While some passages in The Midnight Front will be perhaps just a disturbing historical footnote for some, to others (including me) there is a visceral gut-wrenching reaction. Mack pulls no punches in The Midnight Front. He doesn't sugar coat what happened during WWII as part of the Final Solution. He brought tears to my eyes more than once.

With or without magic Mack writes about some difficult events to which his characters bear witness. Yet the novel is not all doom and gloom. This novel is in equipoise - the horrific and evil balanced expertly by humor and good. Not everything is black and white though. The Midnight Front is as close to a perfect novel that I've had the pleasure to read in a long time. Mack leaves no cliffhangers and beautifully sets up the next novel in the series. I can't recommend The Midnight Front enough.

And I've just finished book 2 - The Iron Codex - which was published yesterday, and is set several years after the end of the first novel. It features some of the wonderful characters and not so wonderful characters from The Midnight Front. I can unequivocally recommend both novels.


The Midnight Front
A Dark Arts Novel 1
Tor Book, January 30, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 480 pages
   Also available in Hardcover

Qwill's Top 3 of 2018
From New York Times bestselling author David Mack comes a visionary World War II-era adventure. The Midnight Front is the epic first novel in the Dark Arts series.

On the eve of World War Two, Nazi sorcerers come gunning for Cade but kill his family instead. His one path of vengeance is to become an apprentice of The Midnight Front—the Allies’ top-secret magickal warfare program—and become a sorcerer himself.

Unsure who will kill him first—his allies, his enemies, or the demons he has to use to wield magick—Cade fights his way through occupied Europe and enemy lines. But he learns too late the true price of revenge will be more terrible than just the loss of his soul—and there’s no task harder than doing good with a power born of ultimate evil.





Aching God by Mike Shel is the first novel in his Iconoclasts series and The Qwillery's Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off (SPFBO) Finalist. It's going up against 10 other books to be the last book standing. Read more about SPFBO here at Mark Lawrence's site.

After going through a slush pile of 30 books, Shel's Aching God stood out. It's a terrifically fun read. I loved this novel from the moment I started reading it. The worldbuilding, history, and characters are outstanding. Read more of my thoughts here.


Aching God
Iconoclasts 1
Trade Paperback, eBook, Audible

Qwill's Top 3 of 2018
“Closer, mortal. You are here, finally, to feed the Aching God…”

The days of adventure are passed for Auric Manteo. Retired to the countryside and isolated with his scars and riches, he no longer delves into forbidden ruins seeking dark wisdom and treasure. But just as old nightmares begin plaguing his sleep, he receives an urgent summons back to that old life.

To save his only daughter, he must return to the place of his greatest trauma: the haunted Barrowlands. Along with a group of inexperienced companions and an old soldier, he must confront the dangers of the ancient and wicked Djao civilization. He has survived fell beasts, insidious traps, and deadly hazards before. But how can he contend with the malice of a bloodthirsty living god?

First volume in the planned epic fantasy trilogy Iconoclasts, Aching God is the debut novel by RPG adventure designer Mike Shel.

Also included is an advanced preview of Iconoclasts - Book II: Sin Eater.

Melanie's Month in Review - September 2018


Melanie's Month in Review - September 2018


Welcome to my very first Month in Review. If you have been following my Week in Review then hopefully you still also enjoy my brand new monthly post. If you are new then I hope you enjoy hearing about what I have been reading.

September has been a nightmare on my work/life balance and as a result I haven't had a lot spare time to read. I have however, read a couple of 'goodies' and maybe a not soo goody to tell you about. I also had the opportunity to treat you to not 1 but 2 full reviews. Yipee!

I am going to start this post with a review of the audio books that I have been listening to. I have really gotten into audio books after not really enjoying them for years. This may or may not have something to do with my love of all things Hugh D'Ambray and the perfectly cast narrator Steve West.


Melanie's Month in Review - September 2018 Melanie's Month in Review - September 2018

Despite the fact that I have read and re-read White Hot and Wildfire by Ilona Andrews I decided to try the audio versions, narrated by Andrew's favourite narrator Renee Raudman. So I have listened to quite a few of Andrews' audiobooks over the last few months and I wasn't convinced that Raudman would make as convincing a Nevada Baylor as she did Dina Demille. I quite enjoyed these two instalments of the Hidden Legacy Trilogy. I thought that Raudman's vocal range worked well for both male and female characters and she didn't have the southern twang that she sported in previous recordings. The pace of the recording worked well and built the drama and action of the story. If you haven't read the books in this series then give the audio books a go.


Melanie's Month in Review - September 2018
Another fantastic audio release is David Sedaris' Calypso. We get a hilarious glimpse of Sedaris' life as he hits middle age. This book takes you from 'lol'ling about one of Sedaris' observations to feeling quite mournful as he recounts the events following the suicide of his sister Tiffany. It is a book of highs and lows and really makes you respect Sedaris' keen powers of observation and self deprecating sense of humour.

America - you are soo lucky to have Sedaris as one of your own but we have him now! Safely picking up roadside garbage in Sussex. You can't have him back!


Melanie's Month in Review - September 2018
I discovered that book 5 of Dannika Dark's Crossbreed series had been released and decided to give it a read. Blackout follows almost immediately after the events of book 4. Raven has no memory of her relationship with the vamp Poe and Shepherd struggles with the knowledge he has a child. More crossbreed madness is on horizon for the Keystone gang when a blackout hits the city and breed leaders end up dead. Keystone have a mission to do and the clock is ticking.

As the series progresses Dark has made the decision to increase the number of POV chapters, randomly swapping between characters but still focusing on Raven's experiences. There are only two words I can use to describe Blackout and they are 'hot and mess'. The random swapping of POV chapters really disrupted the story and the story itself wasn't that coherent in the first place. There is very little to the 'whose behind all the bad stuff' mystery and I predicted every major plot point. I decided not to continue with this series as I just don't care what happens to Raven or the other ragtag Keystone crew.


Melanie's Month in Review - September 2018
The final book I have to tell you about is Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett. I actually started this book quite a while ago and finally decided to pay it some attention and finish it. Qwill reviewed this book back in August so check out what she thought.

Foundryside took me by surprise. Usually for me, Jackson's stories hit me with a big KAPOW from the first few pages and I am in there, loving the characters and loving the story. This time, it took me a little longer to warm up to Sancia and Gregor. I found it difficult, at first, to know what was going on and how the characters and civilization all fit together. Because I wasn't immediately engaged I got distracted by other books and left Foundryside for several weeks. In retrospect this actually worked in my favour. While it took me a little bit longer to get into the story once I did I was completely hooked. Sancia was a little bit different and her past experiences were horrific but shaped her into the hero she didn't think she could be. Bennett added some really good twists to make sure that we all paid attention and didn't feel the need the spoon feed us with lots of backstory. In the end I thoroughly enjoyed Foundryside and while it will take quite a bit for it to eclipse his Divine Cities series for me I am willing to it a go.


This isn't quite it for my September reads  - be sure to check out my full reviews of Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews and Phoenix Unbound by Grace Draven. Well folks here endeth my first MMiR. I hope you enjoyed it. See you in October!





White Hot
A Hidden Legacy Novel
HarperAudio, May 30, 2017

Melanie's Month in Review - September 2018
The Hidden Legacy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews continues as Nevada and Rogan navigate a world where magic is the norm…and their relationship burns hot

Nevada Baylor has a unique and secret skill—she knows when people are lying—and she's used that magic (along with plain, hard work) to keep her colorful and close-knit family's detective agency afloat. But her new case pits her against the shadowy forces that almost destroyed the city of Houston once before, bringing Nevada back into contact with Connor "Mad" Rogan.

Rogan is a billionaire Prime—the highest rank of magic user—and as unreadable as ever, despite Nevada’s “talent.” But there’s no hiding the sparks between them. Now that the stakes are even higher, both professionally and personally, and their foes are unimaginably powerful, Rogan and Nevada will find that nothing burns like ice …





Wildfire
A Hidden Legacy Novel
HarperAudio, July 25, 2017

Melanie's Month in Review - September 2018
From Ilona Andrews, #1 New York Times bestselling author, the thrilling conclusion to her Hidden Legacy series, as Nevada and Rogan grapple with a power beyond even their imagination…

Nevada Baylor can’t decide which is more frustrating—harnessing her truthseeker abilities or dealing with Connor “Mad” Rogan and their evolving relationship. Yes, the billionaire Prime is helping her navigate the complex magical world in which she’s become a crucial player—and sometimes a pawn—but she also has to deal with his ex-fiancée, whose husband has disappeared, and whose damsel-in-distress act is wearing very, very thin.

Rogan faces his own challenges, too, as Nevada’s magical rank has made her a desirable match for other Primes. Controlling his immense powers is child’s play next to controlling his conflicting emotions. And now he and Nevada are confronted by a new threat within her own family. Can they face this together? Or is their world about to go up in smoke?





Calypso
Hachette Audio, May 29, 2018

Melanie's Month in Review - September 2018
David Sedaris returns with his most deeply personal and darkly hilarious book.

If you’ve ever laughed your way through David Sedaris’s cheerfully misanthropic stories, you might think you know what you’re getting with Calypso. You’d be wrong.

When he buys a beach house on the Carolina coast, Sedaris envisions long, relaxing vacations spent playing board games and lounging in the sun with those he loves most. And life at the Sea Section, as he names the vacation home, is exactly as idyllic as he imagined, except for one tiny, vexing realization: it’s impossible to take a vacation from yourself.

With Calypso, Sedaris sets his formidable powers of observation toward middle age and mortality. Make no mistake: these stories are very, very funny–it’s a book that can make you laugh ’til you snort, the way only family can. Sedaris’s powers of observation have never been sharper, and his ability to shock readers into laughter unparalleled. But much of the comedy here is born out of that vertiginous moment when your own body betrays you and you realize that the story of your life is made up of more past than future.

This is beach reading for people who detest beaches, required reading for those who loathe small talk and love a good tumor joke. Calypso is simultaneously Sedaris’s darkest and warmest book yet–and it just might be his very best.





Blackout
Crossbreed 5
Dannika Dark, August 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 341 pages

Melanie's Month in Review - September 2018
The fate of millions rests on Keystone when they embark on their most important assignment of all…

After what was supposed to be a simple job, Raven and Christian uncover a sinister plot against the higher authority, and the stakes are as high as the body count. The assassins are merciless, with anyone who stands in their way becoming collateral damage. Meanwhile, Raven is still struggling to make sense of her feelings for Christian following a memory wipe.

During a blackout, the city erupts into chaos. With Breed on the brink of war, Keystone has only twenty-four hours to complete a secret mission. Raven seeks help from the most unlikely of places, but at what cost?

It’s a race against time to save lives in this explosive installment of the Crossbreed series.





Foundryside
The Founders Trilogy 1
Crown, August 21, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 512 pages

Melanie's Month in Review - September 2018
“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 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.

Review: Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett


Foundryside
Author:  Robert Jackson Bennett
Series:  The Founders Trilogy 1
Publisher:  Crown, August 21, 2018
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 512 pages
List Price:  US$27.00 (Hardcover);  US$13.99 (eBook)
ISBN:  9781524760366 (Hardcover);  9781524760373 (eBook)

Review: Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett
“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 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.



Qwill's Thoughts

I started Foundryside with a bit of trepidation. I've read every novel that Robert Jackson Bennett has written and fell in love with his Divine Cities Trilogy - the first trilogy he's written. Could Bennett once again create a striking world with wonderful characters that drive the story? Could the plot again be compelling, deeply engaging and as exciting? Could I care about the characters as deeply? The answer to all these questions is an unequivocal "yes".

Foundryside is set in city of Tevanne which is run by four Merchant Houses. The Merchant Houses have monetized magic technology and have become rich and greedy. The areas in Tevanne not controlled by the Merchant Houses are lawless, grimy and extremely dangerous. One of these areas is called Foundryside and this is where we find Sancia Grado, an extraordinary thief. She's taken on a job to steal an artifact and has no idea what she is getting herself into. Because of this particular heist more than one person wants Sancia dead. In order to survive, she will team up with an unlikely group of individuals from within and without the Merchant Houses.

Sancia is a wonderful character - strong, flawed, damaged, funny, brave. She comes from a horrific background. She is such a remarkable thief because of something that was done to her; something that Bennett reveals slowly and the horror of it for Sancia (and the reader) is palpable. However, this is an ensemble piece and the people that Sancia encounters and works with are wonderfully developed throughout the novel. In their own rights each of the characters is remarkable. There are also plenty of bad actors and villains to go around. This world is full of gray and everything is not as black and white as it may seem.

The magic system is intricate and Bennett delves deeply into how it works and its antecedents. There is a lot of history of this world and Bennett does not skimp with explaining much of it while not overwhelming the story. There is still a great deal we don't know about this magical technology and this world. Social issues are touched upon as well - how the technological marvels created only benefit some and not all; how some people are disposable and others are elevated; and more.

While Bennett resolves the main plot of Foundryside he leaves open several questions for the upcoming novels. Note for those who don't like cliffhangers - there isn't one. There is mystery, nail-biting action, magic, technology, fights, heists, some gore, and much to love about this new world and these new characters. Bennett has done it again. Foundryside is a marvelously entertaining, thrilling and riveting start of a new epic fantasy trilogy. 
Qwill's Top 3 of 2018Melanie's Month in Review - September 2018Review: Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett

Report "The Qwillery"

Are you sure you want to report this post for ?

Cancel
×