Last Updated on February 13, 2020 Robert Jackson Bennett is an American speculative-fiction author who is mostly known for his Divine Cities trilogy. While he has books published since 2009, it was this series that make him an internationally acclaimed novelist.
His first book in the Founders fantasy series, Foundryside, published August 2018, is yet another winner in the speculative fiction/fantasy genre. Brandon Sanderson himself praised the book highly in a detailed review on Goodreads.
Here are the Robert Jackson Bennet books in order for his standalone novels and his current two series.
New Robert Jackson Bennett Books
Divine Cities Trilogy
Standalone Robert Jackson Bennett Books
Robert Jackson Bennett Biography
Robert Jackson Bennett was born in 1984, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, however, he moved to Katy, Texas, with his family at the age of 10.
He attended the University of Texas at Austin and graduated with a degree in English and Government. Robert ended up living in the city even after he started his own family.
He always loved reading with his parents instilling in him a love for literature, as they always gave him books to read. In return, as a youngster, he always tried to make the stories he was reading better, to alter them in one way or another, until he eventually started writing his own books. The author mentioned in an interview that he wrote his first novel, Mr. Shivers, during the time he was working at a Home Depot call center at night, while helping people on the phone with fixing pain machines. As the process was quite slow, he had a lot of time on his hands, so he wrote the book bit by bit.
His debut novel, Mr. Shivers, published December 2009, was a finalist for the Crawford Award, and it won a Shirley Jackson Award for Best Novel, and the Sydney J. Bounds for Best Newcomer Award. His next book, The Company Man, won an Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original, and it received a special citation in the Philip K. Dick Awards. His third book, The Troupe, focusing on a group of Vaudeville performers and troupes that performed from one theatre to the next all over the country in the early 1900’s, has some inspiration from the author being trained a classically trained violist. Thus, he has knowledge of people depicted in his book, and could paint their characters with a very easy brush. American Elsewhere won the Shirley Jackson Award for best novel.
His first four books were set in alternate versions of our realities, however, starting with City of Stairs, the first book in the Divine Cities trilogy, the author Robert Jackson Bennett began a new stage in his writing by switching genres to fantasy. It is interesting to note that back in 2012, around the time The Troupe came out, Robert Jackson Bennett didn’t intend to write a book series at all. He was still heavily involved in writing standalone novels. It took him only two years to change this outlook, and much to his readers’ delight, to start his Devine Cities trilogy.
City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett was the first book I have read by this author, and when I finished the trilogy including City of Blades and City of Miracles (a trilogy which, interestingly enough, has an opening for yet another book, although I understand the author considers the series finished), I eagerly waited for his new book, Foundryside, which was published in August 2018. While City of Stairs was an awesome beginning of the series, I was impressed with Foundryside even more.
Foundryside is the start of a new fantasy series where human augmentation using runes is a real possibility. The magic system in the book is quite unique. The second book by Robert Jackson Bennett in his Founders series is titled Shorefall, published February 2020.
The author has a knack for creating strong female characters. For example, in American Elsewhere, we meet Mona, Mother, Miss Benjamin, and Gracie. In the Divine Cities trilogy, we have Shara Komayd and Turyin Mulaghesh. In Foundryside, we have as main character a scrawny young thing, Sancia Grado, a thief living in the most dilapidated part of the city of Tevanne, who becomes stronger and stronger as time goes by until she comes into her own by the end of the book.
Also, the Robert Jackson Bennett books – especially his fantasy novels -tend to have some truth always hidden behind some hidden place. Once you get to the passageway and have the key to open the door, a new truth will be revealed. In Foundryside, the first book by the author in his Founders fantasy series, this concept is also implemented, which makes for a fun read. Reading the Robert Jackson Bennett books in order for his series is a must. Of course, reading his first four standalone novels including Company Man, can be done in any order you choose.
Praise for Robert Jackson Bennett
Intricate worldbuilding, fascinating magic, and engaging characters. More please! (Felicia Day)
In Foundryside, scriving magic is the cheat code to reality, and Bennett is a master gamer. A refreshing look at magic—featuring a heroine every reader will root for—from one of the smartest writers I know. (Peter V. Brett)
Fast-paced, intelligent, and fun with a fantastically cool magic system. I can’t wait to read the next one (Brian McLellan)
Robert Jackson Bennett deserves a huge audience. This is the book that will earn it for him. A story that draws you in, brilliant world building, and oh my God, Sigrud. You guys are going to love Sigrud. (Brent Weeks)
Alien and human at the same time, Bennett’s world is engrossing and fascinating. The pacing kept me reading far later than was healthy. (Mur Lafferty)
- Robert Jackson Bennett author page
- Author interview with Tor.com
- Robert Jackson Bennett publisher page