4 out of 4 stars
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We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies is the first book in the We are Voulhire series. Matthew Tysz depicts three corners of a world. First we meet the Emperor of Lullabies. "A wise and wicked ruler of a vast and powerful nation." He had four sons, all with legitimate claims to his throne, and with desires to lead. To be sure they wouldn't team up and overthrow him, the emperor gave each of them a small chain of islands off the mainland of his empire, small armies, and plenty of weapons. He counted on them warring, which happened. He was left alone.
The Lands of the Princes is the second corner of this world. The four princes have been at war for years. That's where Galen Bray, our protagonist, was born and raised. Galen only ever knew survival, because in the Lands of the Princes, tomorrow might never come. We follow Galen's escape into Voulhire, the third corner ruled by King Wilhelm. Galen is wide-eyed and innocent, and his learning journey is also ours.
There are numerous characters that I cannot begin to touch on. Lord Eldus will show you just how much positive changes one good leader could bring. Then there's Lord Meldorath. With his mage magic, and the allies he has at his side, it looks like no one will ever be able to stop him from getting what he wants. Lord Meldorath and the Riva Rohavi, a group not unlike any terrorist group, are the villains in this story.
I liked the balance the writer was able to put the story into. Despite the story being told from multiple points of view, I enjoyed all the individual stories equally. I did not get that urge readers sometimes get, to jump forward to my favourite character's story. I commend Matthew Tysz for that. I rate We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies four out of four stars. It couldn't be anything less.
The only thing I disliked was how limited the information we got about magic was. We meet several magic users throughout the book. I would have liked to know how they come to be. Are magic users born into this unique world as magic users, or do all the people have the potential to learn magic? Is it too much to hope that somehow Galen learns magic in the second book? That last part is wishful thinking, of course.
I recommend this book to people who are out to learn new words while enjoying an interesting story. Why not kill two birds with one stone, right? When I started reading it, what came into my mind was 'big words'. Do you happen to know what curmudgeonly means? The book was also well-edited. I encountered only one minor error while reading. I also recommend it to those who love fantasy stories. Matthew Tysz did a wonderful job building this world. I did not even need the map therein, but it was a genius addition on his part. I do not recommend this book for a younger audience though. There is so much death and violence woven into the story.
We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies
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