4 out of 4 stars
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We are Voulhire: The fires of Virko by Matthew Tysz
A good novel should have the ability to transport you to a world beyond your own reality and that is exactly what this one does. With each sentence, you are on a journey to a place outside your own world and time; outside the consciousness of your space, far away on a planet closely related to earth with people who share a close resemblance with humans and you are forced to take each step and embark on journeys with each of the characters. So, it is safe to say that this novel is a remarkable one.
The city portrayed is Voulhire and like every other human city, it is a machinery of its own; constantly evolving and taking on new thoughts formed by the humans residing in it. How does a society cope with the ever scheming and seemingly wicked instincts of the humans in it? What happens when there is some dark secret looming in the most powerful places in a city? What happens when the gap between the magical and physical worlds is bridged in the process of saving the world? These are questions you would seek to find answers to in this novel.
The plot is an interesting one and it is clear that the author invested his time into making it reliable and closely knotted, thereby making for a good story. The author made use of literary devices such as foreshadowing and flashbacks to show us important moments in the book and explain events which ordinarily cannot be explained. The will, power and story of each character is tied up closely with each other and properly accounted for in the course of reading the book. This is so much as to say that reading this book would leave you looking for a sequel.
Matthew Tysz presented us with the opportunity of seeing important characters make their decisions and also made us feel like we are the characters presented with those choices in life by writing the book uniquely in two different narratives. He used the omniscient view in certain places and the first person narrative in other places which gave us the unique ability to witness the story in all of its amazingness. So, while one narrative is presenting to us a feeling of helplessness, the other narrative makes you feel like you are actively making a decision through the eye of the character. Thus, the book is balanced in terms of views.
To wrap it up, this is a book for the curious. It is a tale of magic and science and the machinations of capitalism on a nation imbued with faith and knowledge of the extraterrestrial world. Also, I would rate this book a 4 out of 4 stars for its unique storyline and what I would describe as a perfect beginning to an ending which is to be encountered in its sequel(s).
We are Voulhire: The Fires of Virko
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