2 out of 4 stars
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We are Voulhire: A new Arrival Under Great Skies, by Matthew Tysz
Matthew Tysz is a skilled writer. We are Voulhire: A new Arrival Under Great Skies, has strong characters, intrigues, a plot that works well and the editing is excellent. The part of the book, about Lord Eldus is well done, believable and should have been where the story started since it is the primary focus of We are Voulhire: A new Arrival Under Great Skies.
From the title and the first character introduced, one would think this a story is about the newly arrived youth Galen whose uncle went to great expense to get him to Voulhire. However, that story is barely touched on in this book. The focus here is about Lord Eldus, a man appointed by King Wilhelm of Voulhire to take over, govern, and improve the city of Hillport. That is where the vast majority of the action is, that is the character with whom we are deeply involved. Albeit, he too is a new arrival, and maybe this is whom the author intended the title to refer to However, Lord Eldus does not make an appearance until page 14 near the end of the second chapter. At any rate, the newly promoted Eldus has grand plans for the city of Hillport, has the full support of King Wilhelm, and wants to help his new city heal from the malfeasance of its previous two lords.
For me, the story starts slow, but overall, it is still impressive. I would recommend it as a good quick read. I absolutely loved the portion about Eldus. Unfortunately, introducing Galen here especially at the beginning, when he has nothing to do with the main action of the story, strongly detracted me from an otherwise excellent tale. Had everything been focused on Eldus from the beginning, I think it would have been a more compelling read and warranted a higher rating.
An opposing faction, also a focal point for the story, is Riva Rohavi, a culture residing in a wasteland north of Voulhire, called the Graylands. The population has opposed the kingdom of Voulhire since its foundation but has never had the strength of arms or the resources to present a true challenge. The Ravi Rohavi, supposedly a dying people, occasionally raided the Voulhire countryside to express their continued opposition. However, they harbor their own secrets and are quickly changing. With new leadership, newfound wealth and resources, they are rapidly building an army and the commander is anxious to exercise them on a raid against their ancient enemy.
I enjoyed the story of Mage Meldorath, even though in this book, he is a secondary character, there is a good mix of mystery and foreshadowing of things to come. The powers he commands are awesome, and we barely touch on his abilities in this book. He is, with reason, frightful to the characters in the story. I wondered why the king imprisoned him rather than executed him for the murders he committed. However, as I read further, I began to suspect that such punishment might have been impossible it impose on a mage as powerful as Meldorath.
A couple of parts of the story I did not care for: first, a page of backstory about Riva Rohavi. This pulled me away from and out of the flow of what was happening. Second, use of modern street language in what appears to be an early 20th-century type setting where such would be out of place; for example, Rowan being called a metrosexual, or calling Marshus a drama queen. I found this annoying, out of place, and it caused me pauses in the reading.
In the end, for the reasons above, I rate We are Voulhire, A new Arrival Under Great Skies a high 2 out of 4.
We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies
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