4 out of 4 stars
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The novel begins following Galen Bray, a young refugee who fled his home on a boat in hope of finding a better life in the far more powerful and advanced Voulhire, after receiving a letter from his last living relative. But the further he delves into his new home, the more he learns of a darker past, filled with magic and destruction. Galen meets Rowan, his uncle’s executor, who takes him on an exciting journey to expand his Blacksmith business. It also follows the story of Lord Eldus on his journey, appointed by the King, to repair the village of Hillport after a rule under two tormented Lords that left the people of the town psychologically and emotionally affected.
We Are Voulhire: A New Arrival Under Great Skies by Matthew Tysz is an interesting novel in that it is written following various perspectives in different chapters. It begins following Galen’s journey but quickly jumps to a banquet for the King. This gives the story more depth and keeps the pace fairly quick so as not to feel too static. Throughout the novel, perspectives go between Galen and Eldus mostly, but occasionally there are new perspectives, such as King Wilhelm, that add more depth to the story and brings in helpful context in an interesting way.
The first-person narration of Galen’s perspective in contrast with the third person narration of the other parts of the story gives a personal and more sympathetic connection between the audience and character. Although there is still an effective personal aspect of Eldus’ story. Both narrations are very realistic and the distinction between the two is excellent, creating very well-written characters.
Furthermore, there is a distinct utopian-like aspect to the story, in which the people of Voulhire regularly brag about the perfection of the state. But every so often there is mentions of things much darker, just carefully dropped into a conversation especially, in the beginning, creating the sense of a dystopia. I think this is very effective in creating tension and suspense. Similarly, the youthful innocence, almost naivety, of Galen is a refreshing change for a protagonist that makes him a very likeable, relatable character.
I rate this 4 out of 4 stars because I thought it was an exceptional novel with an interesting concept and cannot find any notable negative points about it, so couldn’t warrant giving it a rating of 3 or less. I found it to be very well edited and personally found no errors. Due to the nature of some aspects of the story, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this book to younger audiences, however, it is perfect for a gentle thrill and fantasy lovers. I found myself enjoying the exploration of the world Tysz creates, almost as much as the actual story. His construction of the setting and different parts of the state is excellent.
We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies
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