I’ve used the term ‘epic fantasy’ to refer to a style or genre of fantasy before, but Robert Jackson Bennett’s Lockland, the conclusions to his The Founders Trilogy, is truly epic in style and heart – not just as a genre description.
Note that you won’t want to read this as a stand-alone novel. It requires prior knowledge of the characters and the world. Being already familiar with this world, I’m not 100% certain how it reads to a newcomer, but just based on how much I needed to recall in order to not feel completely lost, I pity anyone coming fresh to this final volume.
Our heroes are Sancia, Clef, and Berenice. They’ve worked and fought together before, but this time they take on not just petty criminals and the occasional ruler, but someone with the power of a god.
Trevanne is our antagonist. He is powerful and growing more so. He has been using scrivings to control not just the inanimate objects, but the people around him as well. His goal now is to completely reset all life. To do that, Trevanne needs to open the reset door and Clef is the key (yes, that’s a pun, for those of you who’ve read the other books).
This book doesn’t waste any time and jumps right into some action with our heroes apparently on a heist (like their early days), but we sense there’s more to it. The section heading, “The Scriving Wars” lets us know what we’re getting in to.
If you know what scriving is.
Here is one of those areas where Bennett relies on prior knowledge of the world. The details of this world were described so clearly in the previous books – it’s part of makes a reader want to return, but this book focuses more on the story than the world. Which makes sense, of course, being the third book in the series, we aren’t likely to learn too much new about the mechanics of the world. (We do learn some new tricks and new strengths for Clef.)
But despite my perceived shortcomings to the book, my attention was rapt. If anything, this made me want to go back and read the trilogy, start to finish without years between publications.
Bennett builds truly remarkable worlds with strong, unique characters caught up in epic … yes, epic … struggles where the outcomes will determine the path for entire worlds. If you like fantasy, you must read Robert Jackson Bennett. If you think you don’t like fantasy, you must read Robert Jackson Bennett to really understand what the genre can be.
I would rate this book a 4.5. But on Goodreads, do I give it five stars or 4? It’s not a 5 star book, but it’s definitely better than 4. You read it and decide.
Looking for a good book? Locklands by Robert Jackson Bennett completes The Founders Trilogy. This is sad for readers because there is so much we still want to explore in this world, but it’s also a joy because we finally get to read more spectacular Bennett writing.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
* * * * * *
author: Robert Jackson Bennett
series: The Founders Trilogy #3
publisher: Del Rey Books
hardcover, 496 pages