ARC Review: Locklands or I tried to make up my mind about it but… still no luck!

Hello people and happy Monday! I hope your week has started in the best possible way. I am still struggling with my slump, but it seems like things are getting better on that front so I really hope to be back to my reading self in no time! Anyway, today I am here with an overdue review because I had a really hard time making up my mind about this one and I hoped that letting some time pass would help me out. As you guessed from the title I didn’t have a lot of luck here, but I thought that it was time for it all the same. I waited for too much as it is!

Thanks to NetGalley and to the Eidtor. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Title: Locklands
Series: The Founders Trilogy #3
Author: Robert Jackson Bennett
Pages: 544

A god wages war—using all of humanity as its pawns—in the unforgettable conclusion to the Founders trilogy.
Sancia, Clef, and Berenice have gone up against plenty of long odds in the past. But the war they’re fighting now is one even they can’t win.
This time, they’re not facing robber-baron elites, or even an immortal hierophant, but an entity whose intelligence is spread over half the globe—a ghost in the machine that uses the magic of scriving to possess and control not just objects, but human minds.
To fight it, they’ve used scriving technology to transform themselves and their allies into an army—a society—that’s like nothing humanity has seen before. With its strength at their backs, they’ve freed a handful of their enemy’s hosts from servitude, even brought down some of its fearsome, reality-altering dreadnaughts. Yet despite their efforts, their enemy marches on—implacable. Unstoppable.
Now, as their opponent closes in on its true prize—an ancient doorway, long buried, that leads to the chambers at the center of creation itself—Sancia and her friends glimpse a chance at reaching it first, and with it, 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, embark on a desperate mission into the heart of their enemy’s power, 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.

Let’s start with the easy bits: I enjoyed this book, but it is my least favorite in the series. Okay, this was easy. And I think that can summarize pretty well all the other things I will say in this review.
Some years passed between the second installment in this series and this one, and things aren’t really going well for our characters, they are at a war, and the world at large is not faring so well. And it was a bittersweet experience meeting up with Sancia and Ber again. They are older and jaded, but they have a mission, and they won’t be swayed. Or conquered. And they are ready to do all it takes to win.

But even if the situation is bleak, and the war is not really going as well as we all hoped, and even if a lot of time passed (and even a year is infinity when you are at war) and they seem no nearer their goal than they were in the second book, they managed to create something unique. Because they sort of create a new nation, Giva, with a very very special new addition to it: Cadences (I think they were called it, but I can be misremembering them, and if it is so I am sorry for that!). I won’t say a lot about them, because discovering them for yourself is quite a pleasure, so I’ll try to be less spoilery as possible, but they basically take even further the concept of scriving, and they create something unique.
And this was one of the best features of this book because we get to see a ton of possibilities for scriving, and they are not all bad. And this is quite fantastic. And also pretty unique. Because with every new discovery people tend to find military applications for them, and then we just get the bad parts, or we get what it would profit more for the ones that are investing in it, and usually it does not end with something that can really help the normal people, in a not war like fashion at least. And this was positively stunning.
But I think that, at the same time, this was what made me enjoy this book less than the others in this trilogy.

Mind me, the best feature of this series as a whole is the world and the magical system, especially the magic system because the author did an amazing job with it, it is original, it is well developed and it is fascinating. And not only that. Because the author constantly develops on it, the scriving keeps growing and evolving, and we always get some new applications for it. It is amazing.
The author is masterful in this respect, and he does wonders. It is a brilliant system, and it has so many possibilities, and the author explores them all and presents them to you like an amazing gift.
But since he is so focused on this exploration and on this part of his books, the characters get the short stick out of the deal.
It is not that they are plain, or bi-dimensional. Not at all. The author did a really good job with them all too but… but it is not enough. Or at least, it was not really enough for me.

I am a characters-driven kind of reader, and I really need my characters to be front and center, but here the spotlight is not for them. In the previous books, things are more balanced so I was quite fascinated by the sheer amount of good things in there, but in this one, the balance is not so perfect anymore, and my enjoyment suffered from it. First thing first, I really missed Gregor and Orso, and second thing… Sancia and Clef are my favorite characters in these books, and sure we get them in this one too, but… but Berenice is the one leading the plot, and I missed the banter. I think that in part is also due to the new developments that we get with the scriving, because now they are able to be linked with each other, and to talk psychically and this took some of the fun from the dialogues too. So, if on one hand, I was really glad to get Sancia and Cleg together again, I was a bit disappointed because I was expecting more from them. Quite a lot more. And this was my main problem with the book.

So yeah, this was not my favorite, and from time to time I got bored while reading, but I think that the author did an amazing job with this trilogy, and also there is another big bonus: in this series we see our characters grew and get old and this is somehow priceless to me, I really love when we get to grow with the characters, and when we get to see them getting older (like really getting older, not just growing and getting a year or two).

So, if you haven’t already started this series, but you want to see some really intriguing magic system, go for it! And go for it right now!!!

and half!

And that’s all for today! What do you think? Have you read this book or this series? Are you planning on doing it?? Let me know!

Happy reading!
S.

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9 thoughts on “ARC Review: Locklands or I tried to make up my mind about it but… still no luck!

  1. maddalena@spaceandsorcery says:

    I’m sorry that this book proved to be something of a disappointment, but I understand your point of view perfectly: I set aside Shorefall midway for the same reason you mentioned, i.e. the way in which the descriptions of the magic (fascinating as they were) pushed the characters and their development to the sidelines. Maybe I will pick it up again, and then finish the trilogy with Locklands, but right now the disappointment is winning….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susy's Cozy World says:

      It is a bit of a shame, because there are some really amazing things in there, and they way in which the author explores his creation and it give life to his magic system is astounding but the characters suffer from it and this is not so great, sadly!

      Liked by 1 person

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