4 out of 4 stars
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We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies is written showing different viewpoints. We first meet Galen. He’s a refugee from a country torn apart by war. His rich great-uncle has left property for him which would give him the opportunity to relocate to Voulhire, a very prosperous country. We are also introduced to the king of Voulhire who, with the help of one of his loyal subjects is trying to rebuild a seaside town which was destroyed by two despotic leaders. Listed among the different points of view is also the chancellor who detests the king and is known throughout the capital city of Soulhire for his numerous perversions. However, one of the most important players in this game is the enigmatic wizard imprisoned on a remote island and guarded by an entire army of soldiers and mages.
I love when a series actually makes me look forward to reading further installments. That’s the mark of a great author. Matthew Tysz skillfully made this happen by ending this book at a point where it was clear that many exciting events were about to unfold that the reader absolutely needed to follow up on.
The tagline for this book was: Like Game of Thrones, except less sex and more magic. That was one of the selling points for me when choosing this book. I liked Game of Thrones but the recurrence of incest and violent sex throughout the series was a turnoff for me. The biggest similarity to me in this book to Game of Thrones was the distribution of lands among the four princes by the Emperor in the beginning of this book but that is where all similarities ended. The closing scenes of this book, without giving away too much, involved the kind of magic that makes a fantasy book fantastic.
Galen is an immigrant from the Lands of the Princes and his story is told in bits and pieces while we learn about the king, his perverted chancellor and the new lord assigned to rebuild the coastal town destroyed by its two previous lords. Galen’s naiveté is a bit frustrating at some points. I get that he is not as worldly as Voulhirans but sometimes he came off as stupid. In the end, I realized that maybe that was intentional. I get the feeling that Galen will be quite influential further on in this series.
The twisted relationship between the king and his chancellor was quite fascinating especially when the chancellor does not bother to protect a very important asset for the king which resulted in major bloodshed. The wizard and Riva Rohavi are clearly the evil in this classic good vs evil story and Mr Tysz did a fantastic job of quickly bringing the reader up to speed about their past nefarious deeds. Lord Eldus is definitely on the side of good and throughout this book is seen trying to repair past wrongs.
My only issue was that it took quite some time for the story to really get going. If this is a book which is aimed at young readers, it should have picked up more quickly. Teenagers and young adults tend to like their excitement fairly quickly in a new book. However, once the book does get going, young as well as not so young adults will find themselves totally engrossed in this superb beginning to what looks like will be an exceptional series. I give this book 4 out of 4 stars.
We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies
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