Locklands (The Founders Trilogy #3) – Robert Jackson Bennett

Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Del Rey Books
Pages: 544
Release Date: June 28, 2022

Haven’t read the previous novels? Check out my reviews of Foundryside and Shorefall!

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. 


The Founders Trilogy started out strong with Foundryside. I loved the magic system, the characters, and the plot. It was everything I wanted from a fantasy novel and cemented my love for Robert Jackson Bennett. I didn’t think the sequel, Shorefall, was as strong as its predecessor, but enjoyed it nonetheless. Unfortunately, Locklands fell flat.

It took me forever to read Locklands, even with skimming the last 80 or so pages. Locklands dives deep into its magic system to the point where Bennett included diagrams to explain Twinning. As much as I love the magic system, this was too deep a dive. Normally, this wouldn’t be an issue; however, most of Locklands focuses on the small details at the expense of the characters and plot.

The new characters that were introduced were interesting, however the original characters feel different. In the acknowledgements, Bennett talked about how he wrote Locklands during Covid and how difficult an experience it was for him. So, I’m assuming this is why the characters feel different.

I would recommend potential future readers to read these novels without too big a gap between. 

Overall, Locklands was truly a disappointment and will probably be one of my most disappointing reads of the year.


Have you read Locklands? What did you think?

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