3 out of 4 stars
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The book We are Voulhire by Matthew Tysz was described well in the outline by the author but delivered more than I expected. The story follows a young man who has grown up in a war-torn land and finds his escape in the form of an inheritance from his uncle. His uncle had built up a thriving blacksmith shop in a small country town in the land of Voulhire. Voulhire is a peaceful and thriving kingdom ruled over by a benevolent King. Galen arrives in this beautiful country to take over his dead uncle’s smithy even though he knows nothing about being a blacksmith. He is also extremely naive about this new land and the people there as it is so different to what he was used to from living in a country always at war.
It seems like a simple story but as I read on the complexity of the situation started to develop. This country that Galen thought to be so perfect has more going on than Galen realises. New characters appeared and I began to realise what a multifaceted place Voulhire was. There are many different faction leaders who have their own agendas which do not necessarily align with what the King wants. Some of the characters also have some remarkably interesting abilities which adds to the mystery of the story.
The author says in his outline that this is the first book in what will be a complex series. This book is supposed to set up the start of Galen’s story and give an insight into the new world he finds himself in. I think the author achieved his aim. I felt I came away with a good sense of who Galen was and how he fitted into his new life. I also felt I got a significant look at everything going on around him that he was unaware of. I found the characters relatable and fascinating. When I finished the book, I was left with many questions about them that I wanted answers to.
The only thing I did not like about the book was the character Rowan. He is obviously essential to the story as he highlights how little Galen knows about his new country. He is largely responsible for teaching Galen as they interact throughout the narrative. However, I found the difference between them too pronounced. Galen comes across not only as naïve but also a character with morals and Rowan as a character who has very few morals. This did not bother me, but the way Rowan spoke at times did. His use of language was crude at times and did not seem to fit with the overall book. The use of vulgar language from this world was jarring and I felt it tossed me out of the land of Voulhire back to this world.
Overall, I felt the book was professionally written and edited and I rated the book 3 out of 4. The book flowed well and was mostly easy to read. I felt drawn into the world of Voulhire and the different characters. My only issue was with the jarring language of Rowan at certain points. I think this book would be enjoyed by most fantasy fans, especially those looking for something fresh and new. The world of Voulhire and the characters are marvellously illuminated and made real by the writer and pull you in, leaving you wanting more. I am looking forward to reading more in the series.
We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies
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