Review by BuzzingQuill -- We are Voulhire: A New Arrival...

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BuzzingQuill
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Review by BuzzingQuill -- We are Voulhire: A New Arrival...

Post by BuzzingQuill »

[Following is a volunteer review of "We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies" by Matthew Tysz.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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A New Arrival under the skies begins Matthew Tysz’s fantasy series, We are Voulhire, with a bang. The majority of the story takes place in the fictional land of Voulhire—a place where human innovation and magic intertwine. Our story can be split up into two main narratives:

(1) The story of Galen Bray, whom by the behest of his late uncle—one that Galen himself did not even know existed—escapes his war-torn homelands for the city of Magnum Caelum in Voulhire. Galen, with help from his uncle’s executor, Rowan, tries to manage the forge he had inherited from his uncle.

(2) The story of Voulhire’s biggest threat, a mage by the name Malderoth. This narrative chronicles the journeys of the King of Voulhire, Wilhelm Arcolo and the Lord of Hillport, Lord Eldus Alderman, as they attempt to protect the people of Voulhire from Malderoth.

These two narratives don’t connect with each other directly; however, I suspect that as the series progresses we will witness some, if not a complete overlap between these two narratives. I loved the idea of these two separate stories as it allowed for the book to have contrasting tones. For the most part, Galen’s story is one of whimsy and lightheartedness, this in no small part due to the previously mentioned executor, Rowan. While no less whimsical, the second narrative takes a darker tone than the first, this is due largely to the mature topics of pedophilia and human experimentation lurking in the background of this section of the novel. I think both of these narratives are executed very well and I favor both these narratives equally.

For many, a story’s characters make or break the book, so how did this novel fare in this regard? It fared well, very well. Our protagonists are likable, they do have their flaws, but I would not deem them morally grey. King Wilhelm was a charismatic and intelligent leader who knew how to maneuver his people into a false sense of security, believing their ignorance to be in their best interest. Lord Eldus is an honorable man who wants to see Hillport rise from the dark past that Eldus’s predecessors had brought upon the city. Galen is an incredibly pleasant and hardworking, albeit naïve young man, who just wants to repay his uncle’s generosity by maintaining his forge. Galen was my favourite character in the story as in my opinion, his character maintained the highest level of relatability and sympathy from me. I also loved that he was an outsider in the land of Voulhire, so he mirrored the same feelings I did when introduced to Voulhire, endearing him further. Another standout character in the book was Malderoth, the author did a fantastic job painting Malderoth as the ultimate antagonist. This is evident by the sense of unease I felt every time his name was mentioned or his presence was alluded to.

But, perhaps the thing I most enjoyed about the book was the way I felt reading it. As I had briefly mentioned before, the book contains a sense of whimsy, something that many adult-fantasy novels lack. Throughout the novel, I was in awe of the elaborate world the author was able to create, the way he had been able to weave magic into the society in an organic and pragmatic way. Every bit of history felt like a relic that had been passed on through generations, every prayer felt like it was a centuries old tradition.

My only grievance with the book is a mild one. The author writes in alternating points of view, choosing to write Galen’s chapters in the first person, while the rest of the story is in third. Often, but not always, this style of writing makes the work seem slightly less polished. I could have excused this if there was a clear reason as to why Galen was the only character written in this point of view. I assessed the possibility that the author had written him this way because the title of the first chapter reads “I am Galen, from the Lands of the princes”, the ‘I’ insinuating that this was supposed to be written in first person. But, I also noted that the second chapter was entitled “I am Wilhelm, King of Voulhire”, the ‘I’ here would also insinuate that this character would be written in first person, yet he is not. This is only a mild gripe and in no way detracts from the overall quality of the story, some people may not even notice the changing point of views.

Finally, let’s talk writing style. I would say that Tysz takes a no-frills approach to writing. He ditches flowery prose for succinct descriptions and compelling and efficient dialogue. Whether or not this is a good thing is dependent on the reader. Personally, I loved it, his style of writing suited the exposition-heavy narrative incredibly well and ensured fluidity throughout the novel. The novel is also completely free from pesky typos, grammatical errors and other editorial mistakes, which would suggest that the novel has undergone professional editing.

Overall, I loved everything about We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies, it is a well-constructed and highly immersive story that is sure to hook most readers. Despite its inconsistency with the point of views, I would happily rate it 4 out of 4 stars. I think it would be unfair to remove a point for an inconsistency issue so minor that most people may not even notice it. I would recommend this book to those who are over the age of 16, as this book deals with a lot of mature themes that are not suitable for a younger audience. I also believe this novel is a perfect fit for readers who enjoy their fantasy novels infused with political intrigue. Additionally, I would highly recommend this book to those of you who are looking to transition from reading YA-Fantasy to adult-fantasy. The book is mature, but not overwhelmingly so—the perfect introduction into the world of adult fantasy.

******
We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies
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Post by Letora »

Interesting how the two subplots didn't connect by the end of the book. The characters do sound like great compliments to one another as the story progresses. I may give this one a try. Thank you for reviewing!
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Post by Artizi »

This is a great review! I'm so glad that this book is well-constructed and immersive, despite its inconsistencies. I might give it a read, your review tempted me to at least try it!

If you wouldn't mind checking my latest review, that would be greatly appreciated!

All the best!
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Post by juliusotieno02 »

I've read this book too, and i must say your review is very good. I particularly like the way you've summarized the book, handling each story separately. Thanks for the review.
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Post by BuzzingQuill »

Letora wrote: 15 Jun 2019, 09:34 Interesting how the two subplots didn't connect by the end of the book. The characters do sound like great compliments to one another as the story progresses. I may give this one a try. Thank you for reviewing!
Thank you so much for your feedback! Yeah the characters really do compliment the book well and the book really would make for a good read, so if you get a chance, check it out :D
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Post by BuzzingQuill »

juliusotieno02 wrote: 16 Jun 2019, 07:42 I've read this book too, and i must say your review is very good. I particularly like the way you've summarized the book, handling each story separately. Thanks for the review.
Thank you so much for your feedback and compliments, I really appreciate it. Glad to see you read the book and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did :lol:
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Post by BuzzingQuill »

Artizi wrote: 15 Jun 2019, 18:51 This is a great review! I'm so glad that this book is well-constructed and immersive, despite its inconsistencies. I might give it a read, your review tempted me to at least try it!

If you wouldn't mind checking my latest review, that would be greatly appreciated!

All the best!
Thank you so much! Honestly tempting you to read the book is one of the greatest compliments I have received, really appreciate it. And yes the book is fantastically immersive. If you do end up checking it out I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Oh and of course I'll check out your review :D
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Post by Kelyn »

I love books that are tinged with whimsy! I don't know if you've read any of his other books, but the changing perspectives are a common device with him. You just have to get used to them and they become less confusing, at least for me. This book is going on my TBR shelf! Thanks for the detailed review!
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Post by Wambui-nj »

I have been planning to read this book. Thanks for the review, will give it a shot.
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Post by kdstrack »

Your clear and detailed description of the characters is quite helpful. I also enjoyed your insightful comments about the changing point of view used by the author. This is a well-written review. Great job!
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Post by BuzzingQuill »

Kelyn wrote: 16 Jun 2019, 13:02 I love books that are tinged with whimsy! I don't know if you've read any of his other books, but the changing perspectives are a common device with him. You just have to get used to them and they become less confusing, at least for me. This book is going on my TBR shelf! Thanks for the detailed review!
Thank you so much for dropping by and commenting! I haven't read any other book by him yet, but I intend to so I guess I will have to get used to it then :D
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Wambui-nj wrote: 16 Jun 2019, 13:22 I have been planning to read this book. Thanks for the review, will give it a shot.
Thank you for stopping by and commenting. Yeah, the is great, you should totally check it out!
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Post by BuzzingQuill »

kdstrack wrote: 16 Jun 2019, 18:13 Your clear and detailed description of the characters is quite helpful. I also enjoyed your insightful comments about the changing point of view used by the author. This is a well-written review. Great job!
Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting! I really appreciate it :lol:
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Post by YL_Eytka »

I’ve read this book as well, and liked it a lot although I did have trouble imagining the setting sometimes
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Post by leiabutler »

I love the personal tone your review has. I can really see your voice as a writer coming though! Great review!
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