Sancia is a master thief. She lives in Foundryside, a slum outside the four ruling merchant houses in the town of Tevanne. In Foundryside, scribing is used to make objects do the will of the scribner.
When we first meet Sancia, she is using a complicated plan to break into a safe at the well-guarded Tevanne waterfront. She has a special skill of feeling the emotions and particularly the flaws of inanimate and animate objects simply by touching them. This is a great gift for a thief as walls can tell her where their handholds are and safes can tell her their combinations. However, it is a problem in real life. Sancia has to keep her entire body covered so she isn’t receiving the emanations constantly. The more she uses her gift, the more her head aches. When she returns triumphantly with her booty, she is curious what is in the box she has stolen. What she finds is Clef, a key with a big personality.
Foundryside has fantastic worldbuilding. No one would want to live in Foundryside, but a quick visit is fun. The mood is playful. The setting is imaginative. Sancia is a great character who readers will love. I love a good genre mash-up and this combines a fantasy world with a thief’s tale. It seems like a combination of Ocean’s Eleven with Les Miserables (if you can picture that!) The fact that the rich are fat and evil while the poor are struggling with just survival seems fitting for our times. Overall, if you liked Artemis by Andy Weir, you will probably enjoy this book too. 4 stars!
Thanks to Crown Publishing and NetGalley for an advanced copy.