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Publisher's Summary

As a magical revolution remakes a city, an ancient evil is awakened in a brilliant novel from the Hugo-nominated author of Foundryside and the Divine Cities trilogy.

“An absolutely wild ride...Foundryside blew me away, and this is a perfect sequel.” (Amal El-Mohtar, The New York Times Book Review)

A few years ago, Sancia Grado would’ve happily watched Tevanne burn. Now, she’s hoping to transform her city into something new. Something better. Together with allies Orso, Gregor, and Berenice, she’s about to strike a deadly blow against Tevanne’s cruel robber-baron rulers and wrest power from their hands for the first time in decades.

But then comes a terrifying warning: Crasedes Magnus himself, the first of the legendary hierophants, is about to be reborn. And if he returns, Tevanne will be just the first place to feel his wrath.

Thousands of years ago, Crasedes was an ordinary man who did the impossible: Using the magic of scriving - the art of imbuing objects with sentience - he convinced reality that he was something more than human. Wielding powers beyond comprehension, he strode the world like a god for centuries, meting out justice and razing empires single-handedly, cleansing the world through fire and destruction - and even defeating death itself.

Like it or not, it’s up to Sancia to stop him. But to have a chance in the battle to come, she’ll have to call upon a god of her own - and unlock the door to a scriving technology that could change what it means to be human. And no matter who wins, nothing will ever be the same.

The awe-inspiring second installment of the Founders Trilogy, Shorefall returns us to the world Robert Jackson Bennett created in his acclaimed Foundryside...and forges it anew.

©2020 Robert Jackson Bennett (P)2020 Random House Audio

What the critics say

“The book I’ve most thoroughly and uncomplicatedly enjoyed this year so far. It shocked and delighted and upset me from page to page, managing to thread humor and pathos and intrigue together with the speed and precision of a loom. Its comments on our present moment are so deft and sly that when they turn earnest it’s deeply affecting....[and] sometimes brought me to tears...I’m so excited to see what happens next.” (Amal El-Mohtar, The New York Times)

"Bennett’s characterization...strikes a perfect balance between terror and allure. This thrilling installment will leave readers eager for the series finale." (Publishers Weekly

"An expertly spun yarn by one of the best fantasy writers on the scene today." (Kirkus Reviews)

What listeners say about Shorefall

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Thoroughly Unentertaining

I’ll try to keep this brief.

The sequel was just not as exciting as the first book (and I truly did like the first book).

The majority of the story was supremely boring and consisted mostly of a group of people in a basement talking about a plan.

The narration was decent with the exception of the AI construct character. The narrator talked like a computer whenever that character was speaking, and unfortunately there’s a lot of monologuing that occurs there.

The conflict that exists was just not engaging. The main character and some secondary characters were often portrayed as in extreme emotional distress, and yell a lot about how they don’t want to do something.... and I mean a lot. And the whole time they were going through this I just realized I really didn’t care. I had just not bought in to the conflict and I wasn’t invested in any of the characters.

Then.... the book ends... and the ending is actually a pretty great ending!!! Which is frustrating for me, because I really thought I would quit the series after this book; however, I still kind of want to see how it ends.

We will see.... my honest advice is just to skip this book and read some summary of it and hope for a better third book. It really was painful to listen to.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars

Questionable sequel. Frustrating elements.

I stopped caring about the series, the world, and the characters based on this book.
Instead of being a story about interesting capable characters and found family in a world of corruption it becomes just another fate of the world/future of humanity/defeat the big bad guy type story. The big theme of humanity and it's self destructive tendencies takes over everything.
In my opinion the villains of all this are pretty generic and not compelling.

The characters become inconsistent to what they were in the first book in my opinion, and not in a way that makes sense or feels like growth.
No spoilers, but the main character in particular has a scene where she witnesses some difficult things and becomes emotionally overwhelmed and incapacitated in a way that feels totally out of character considering the horrific stuff she saw and experienced in the first book.
In general there is a surprising amount of time given to characters talking about their feelings of pain and helplessness. Things like that aren't automatically bad at all, but are executed here in a way that often drags and feels out of place in my opinion.
It feels like there is a lot less action then in the first one too.

The magic "system" kinda stops being interesting here as well. The supposed rules and limitations of it get glossed over and become meaningless to the point where the magic can basically do anything the plot need it to do and any kind of magic rig can get made however just in time the plot requires it to be available.

Mine seems to be the minority opinion, most people appear to still love the series. Which is fair enough. Just know that it is a very different type of book and it never hurts to lower your expectations a little. I wanted to like it way more than I did.

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Great series

I have really enjoyed this series so far. I cannot wait for the next one. Keep these going.

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  • B. Thomas
  • 2020-05-19

The sequel is never as good as the original

I Returned for the charterers. The main characters developed in Book 1, Foundryside, did not disappoint. The protagonist are unlikely allies brought together by their idealistic opposition to an seemingly oppressive oligarchical system. I really enjoyed the characters who succeeded so often with a combination of intelligence and dumb luck. Their relationships and goals are complicated and intriguing. However, It's impossible to ignore the political undertones of the book. The protagonist scheme to redistribute wealth is all to overt but the reader is lead to accept this because the major houses, called Campos, deal not only in magical technology but slavery and torture. Instead of our heros attempting to end slave trade and rights violations, something we can all agree with, they are instead relagated to fantasy hackers with an intent to destroy the entire system. Luckily this takes a back seat in act 3 when two new nastier magical opponents appear. One intent on using magic to reshape the world in his image; a plan that is childish and petulant. The other, set on cleansing the world of the magic that makes it.

I enjoyed the book because I enjoyed the characters and frankly I enjoy the escapism of most books but it's not by any means as engrossing as many other constructed world books. You won't find it hard to put down but it won't be a one star disappointment either.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Girlymctx
  • 2020-09-03

The Main Character is a whiney brat!

This book need to be relabled 'Oh, Woe is ME!". Really, between the constant LBGT agenda the author constantly forces his readers to listen to & the mc constantly bitchin' about how terrible & horrible her circumstances are, I almost asked to get my credit back.

The 1st book wasn't so agendized but the author's 2nd book feels like the author decided he'd nothing to lose in forcing his readers to listen to a Very Dysfunctional BRAT! She constantly swings from complaining then "crushing on" her 17 yr old 'companion" she meets from book #1's "Foundryside".

"I'm getting sick & G-D tired"...
"Why did you create a back door to save yourself in MY head?"
There are many more examples for you the lsitener

3 people found this helpful

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  • lf
  • 2020-06-04

It's just not very good.

I wanted to like this. I read Foundryside, the first book in this series, when it came out. It's been a while, but I had fond memories of it. When Shorefall came out I got both of them on an Audible promotion and was well pleased.

That lasted until about 3/4 of the way through the first book. It ended, I thought, "Okay, maybe that wasn't quite as good as I remembered, but it was decent. Tally-ho," and moved on to Shorefall.

Shorefall seems to have left behind the enjoyable character interplay from book one in exchange for a weaker plot with a number of painful holes and things that just didn't make sense.

I won't continue with this series, and honestly I probably won't get all the way through this audiobook... thirteen hours in and the history of political interference by the KGB is looking way less painful to listen to.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Michelle N.
  • 2021-12-05

DNF @ chapter 8-- what the hell happened??

Whatever made Foundryside a delight to listen to is completely lacking in this book. The dialogue is absolutely awful, and everytime Orso has a line, I want to scream. His personality has been gutted, and his sole purpose now in the book is to be an exposition robot. So excruciatingly lazy and boring. Did the writer get swapped out???

1 person found this helpful

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  • Matthew
  • 2021-09-08

Much worse than the first book

Tons of exposition, it breaks its own rules seemingly without realizing it, characters routinely don't understand obvious developments (even after a similar thing just happened), and a lack of character development

1 person found this helpful

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  • Benjamin
  • 2021-02-09

If you liked the first...

If you liked the first book, this a lot more of that! plot and world grow, hijinks ensue, gods clash, and madness threatens! Enjoy :)

1 person found this helpful

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  • shweenz
  • 2020-12-30

Story is fun, but one character's voice is bad

I am writing mainly because I cannot stand how Tara Sands voices Valeria. I get it - she is like an AI. And she gives it the most static, painful voice possible. She has a not insignificant amount of lines in this book, and hearing the voice for Valeria makes me want to stop listening.

1 person found this helpful

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  • M.T.
  • 2022-04-12

poor sequel to a great initial installment

this was a chore to get through. better to quit after the first book than waste the credit.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 2022-02-09

Really good but some things annoy me

If you like the first book you'll like this one. And if you like fantasy you'll probably like the first one.

*Spoilers below*

Sancia is very smart when the author needs her to be, most of the time really. I assume she in fact is fairly intelligent. Yet she occasionally does completely idiotic things presumably to advance the plot. Just one huge and obvious example

When Sancia meets the heirophant villain the first time, he insistently asks her repeatedly, where is the key, where is the key, it what like 80% of his side of the conversation and she (smartly) resists telling him.

Fast forward a while later when heirophant villain's plots have advanced and he is looking for Valeria. Sancia and co. go to great lengths to protect Valeria. When the villain shows up outside their shop after murdering half the city, Sancia decides to go talk to him to delay him while *Gregor* lines up a shot with a magic scrived bullet to kill the heirophant. With *Clef* on her.

A) Gregor was previously controlled by said heirophant. Granted Sancia wasn't present but she and her team are all aware he can control Gregor since he and his mom put in his resurrection plate. It occurs to *no one* that Gregor might not be able to shoot the godlike heirophant who basically made him. In fact that is their whole plan that he can.

B) For some reason never given, Sancia takes Clef (the key) out of the zone of protection under Valeria's influence when she talks to the heirophant Presides. She *knows* he is desperately looking for the key, and that it gives him massive powers like the ability to cross barriers in reality, which among other things allows him to teleport.

Very predictably, Gregor can't shoot Presides and instead gets controlled by him, and Sancia basically just gives Presides the key after getting knocked around by Gregor.

This whole plan seemed out of character for the group who stormed the Mountain in Foundryside. Like they suddenly dropped from tactical geniuses to complete dumbasses because it advanced the plot for the villain.

Also, right after this, Baronese suddenly realizes her twinned plate with Sancia gives her all of her abilities, which she masters in about 10 seconds, because it's necessary for the plot for someone left to come save Sancia.

Like 80% of the book is good but there are these spots where all logic disappears just to advance the plot and it really annoys me.

---

Narrator is pretty good. Some of her voices are kinda cartoonish (Clef especially, but also Orso) or overly emotional, but she's ahead of the curve on audible.

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  • John Dalco
  • 2021-09-20

good second book great performance

thanks once again to Tara for bringing this book to life. cool story, grrat concept, fun and geeky and fantastical.