4 out of 4 stars
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‘In a lot of ways, I wasn’t just discovering the people of Voulhire, I was discovering people in general. I was discovering me.’
Imagine a world where faith, science, and magic play equal parts in the rules of existence; where people inevitably favour one over the others; and where bringing these three elements together in just the right proportions could bring about great change and great power.
Galen Bray, a refugee from the war-torn Lands of the Princes, has known poverty his whole life. When his great uncle dies, leaving his house, forge, and wealth to Galen, he also sends him his papers – Galen’s ticket out of the Lands of the Princes. Without a second thought, Galen climbs aboard the first ship to Magnum Caelum, a small town on the coast of the great and vast empire of Voulhire. Wide-eyed, innocent, and unaccustomed to people who are not as they seem, Galen sets out on this new adventure under Voulhire’s great skies.
We are Voulhire: A New Arrival Under Great Skies by Matthew Tysz is but the first novel in what promises to be an epic series following the adventures of Galen, and the political, economical, and magical struggles and successes of the great nation of Voulhire.
This is merely an introductory novel. As pointed out by the author, if this series were to be a television series, We are Voulhire: A New Arrival Under Great Skies would merely be the first episode. The reader is introduced to the important role players and to each of the main storylines; however, none of the conflicts is resolved. This is only the beginning.
Although Galen is clearly intended to be the main character, a large portion of the book is devoted to other important characters. These include Lord Eldus, the new lord of Hillport; King Wilhelm, king of Voulhire; the Riva Rohavi, a terrorist group whose end goal is the complete and utter destruction of Voulhire; and the mysteriously evil and supposedly dead mage-general, Lord Meldorath.
The chapters alternately focus on the different characters or groups to give the reader insight into the perspectives of the various role players. For the most part, the narrative is in the third person, with the exception of when a chapter revolves around Galen. These chapters are told in the first person narrative.
The lavish, almost archaic, diction chosen by the author perfectly complements the setting of this medieval fantasy. The reader is drawn in and completely immersed in the story from the very beginning.
The author has the extraordinary ability to write his characters in such a way that the reader cannot help but connect with them. In just the first 17 pages, Tysz manages to have the reader absolutely loathing one character, admiring another, and feeling the uncertainty and fear of yet another. Needless to say, my favourite aspect of this novel is the exceptional character design and world-building. A map is even included in the first pages to aid the reader in picturing the great kingdom of Voulhire. This speaks to the vast thought and effort the author has put into building his world.
If there were anything I had to change about this book, it would be the puerile manner in which Lord Orlin chose his victims and the childishness of the biomage. Neither of these matched the maturity seen in the rest of the narrative.
Due to the nature of the typographical errors that I found, I would say that the pdf version that I received to review was not professionally edited – one word was unnecessarily in a different colour and font, and more than once a capital letter followed a dash in the middle of a sentence. However, due to the minimal number of errors that did not relate to formatting, it is likely that the official version of this book was professionally edited.
I would recommend this book to all lovers of fantasy; however, due to the use of profanity and the sexual inferences, it is not suitable for younger or sensitive readers.
All things considered, I wholly enjoyed this book and I am pleased to award it 4 out of 4 stars. Provided the author keeps up this standard, I can easily see this series joining the likes of The Magician’s Guild by Trudi Canavan and Eragon by Christopher Paolini on the shelves of fantasy enthusiasts across the reading world. I eagerly await the opportunity to read the next instalment, We are Voulhire: The Fires of Virko.
We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies
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