by Robert Jackson Bennett
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Pub Date 28 Jun 2022 | Archive Date 3 Jul 2022
Quercus Books, Jo Fletcher Books
Once, Sancia Grado was just a thief with a grudge and a rare talent. Then she learned how to use that talent, and beat the great merchant houses of Tevanne at their own game. With Clef and Berenice, she even saw off an immortal hierophant - but the war they're fighting now is one they know they can't win.
This time, they're not facing robber-baron elites or an immortal hierophant, but an entity whose intelligence is spread over half the globe: a ghost in the machine using the magic of scriving to possess and control not just objects, but human minds.
Despite all their efforts their enemy marches on, implacable, unstoppable - and it's closing in on its true prize: an ancient doorway that leads to the centre of creation itself.
Sancia and her friends glimpse a last desperate opportunity to stop this unbeatable foe - but to do so, they'll have to unlock the centuries-old mystery of scriving's origins and pull off the most daring heist they've ever attempted.
And as if that weren't enough, their adversary might just have a spy in their ranks - and a last trick up its sleeve . .
'Absolutely riveting . . . A magnificent, mind-blowing start to a series I'm hungry for' - Amal El-Mohtar, co-author of This is How You Lose the Time War, in the New York Times on Foundryside
'One of the best fantasy writers on the scene today' - Kirkus Reviews
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 18 members
The first two books of this trilogy were five star reads for me, with a terrific atmosphere, location and brilliantly imaginative magic system. This final volume massively increases the scale and goes full widescreen. Where the earlier books were largely set in one city this one covers a whole continent blighted by war between two impossibly powerful adversaries, and the stakes are about as high as they could possibly be. But for all the epic conflict there’s a huge emotional core and the heart of the book is about two relationships, between a father and his son and our hero Sancia and her wife, and it’s these that lead to the final satisfaction of the ending. There’s an epilogue set after all the dust has settled and it’s one of the most powerful and emotional sequences I’ve read for a long long time.
With this trilogy and the preceding Divine Cities series, RJB has produced some of the best and certainly the most original fantasy novels of the twenty-first century, and he’s at the top of my must read list.
This book ! This series ! These characters !
Oh scrumming hell how am I supposed to put into words how incredible this book is. This book left me full on ugly crying on the floor at midnight. But its not sad in the way that it wants you to be sad. Its not a book that's made to crush you. Its about hope. Its about the goodness in the world and bloody well fighting to see it - and that somehow made me cry even more.
This book is and has everything. A magic system that is written into the face of reality, that seems so real that its almost unmagical . Found family that heals your soul and queer romance that melts your heart. Characters that are so real, characters that I want to be real. Character arcs of your dream - redemption, to prove oneself, to protect your family, to let them be themselves, to live, to love, and to let go.
Through three books, more years, and some tears it comes back down to a heist
“Its like old times again. You and me against the whole goddamn world”
Except the world has changed a lot.
This is the best conclusion to a series that I have ever read - there's amazing battles and satisfying conclusion to foreshadowed clues. It all just makes sense. In a world where money means magic and everything has changed. Chasing the footprints of godlikes who came before. Can they change the world ?
Locklands is the intense conclusion to Robert Jackson Bennetts uniquely intriguing Founders trilogy and it was action-packed from the first page to the last.
This is a world full of codes. Scrivings can be written, or rewritten, to do just about anything. This is an epic fantasy world that has fascinating magic and an altogether amazing cast of characters that is ready to become one of my favourite series. Sancia, Clef and Berenice are now fighting a war they can’t win. This time, they face a ghost in the machine that uses the magic of scriving to possess and control objects and human minds. Their unstoppable opponent is looking for an ancient doorway that leads to the centre of creation itself. Sancia and her friends have a chance of reaching it first and with it, a last desperate opportunity to stop an unbeatable foe.
Locklands is filled with non-stop action from front to back and Bennett really brings out the big guns in this one. The stakes are higher and Bennett really draws upon his descriptive strengths to show how these characters are going through constant trials and tribulations. This is not your typical epic fantasy story and instead pulls on the weirdness of reality and magic that makes it nothing short of extraordinary. Bennett really tore on our emotions in this one. It felt like one long epilogue and ties off the series wonderfully. This was a war of machinery and wit that left us emotional. The creative battle scenes, the emotional avalanches, the beautiful revelations all make for a fitting end to a uniquely fresh series.
The pacing and the plot were managed safely. Nothing was boring or dragged out and it all felt like a nice build up to an emotionally satisfying pay off. The story was character-focused and the world-building was complex and intricate. Bennett has always made the world interesting and fun and there was not a single part of this book that didn’t leave my mind blown.
Bennett has crafted a devastating system full of hope and torrent. It can be hard to finish a series as fascinating as the Founders well but Bennett has rewarded us with an incredible end and I cannot wait to read more of his work. If anyone enjoys unique stories, exciting plots, brilliant characters and a complexity that is so large in scope - check out the Founders trilogy.
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