3 out of 4 stars
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We Are Voulhire: Someone Else’s End is the third book in the “We Are Voulhire” series written by Matthew Tysz. Despite its relatively short length (like a novella—180 pages), this fantasy is an action-packed science fiction thriller. The story centers around three friends: Galen, Rowan, and Demetrius who decide to journey to Soulhire (the capital of Voulhire). Although the city is in turmoil and currently a target of neighboring kingdoms, these characters cannot deter themselves from the utopic reputation that this empire once held. This sense of perfection seems to override any sensibility to steer clear of a potentially volatile situation. Pressing on despite imminent danger, these individuals encounter many tribulations as their trek progresses including war, mythical beings, undisclosed secrets, murder; consequently, they eventually end up as victims fighting for their own lives. As monarchies derail and armies divide, the question seems less focused on if Voulhire can retain its idyllic atmosphere, but rather becomes a matter of if the empire will exist at all.
Even though I am more inclined to enjoy non-fiction, there were aspects of Tysz’s book that I found intriguing. The fact that this author writes with incredible creativity, enhancing even small details, allowed me to mentally escape to a world where fantasy thrived. I could easily envision the huge centipedes, sinister entities, and battlefields overtaken by winged creatures. Also, the chapters are not numerical, but rather titled according to name/place. In a book where a reader must keep track of numerous characters and fictional settings (often with odd names), I found that defining a chapter after the character to whom it pertained very helpful; this tactic clued me in to what I might uncover as the story unfolded.
Nevertheless, I did not care for the profane language which permeated this work from beginning to end. The curse words were not so overwhelming that their use interfered with my reading, but I do not think they added any validity, nor did they pertain to the characters’ personalities. Additionally, this writer frequently (and without warning) changed from first to third person point-of-view. The “I” speaker at the beginning may not be the same narrator when the chapter concluded. The frequent interchanging of storytellers caused much re-reading and often left me scrambling for clarity.
Science-fiction enthusiasts would more than likely find this book extremely fascinating as the characteristics of this genre are an adamant feature, remaining constant. Tysz never lets the story line focus on specific individuals for too long (especially if they happen to be mortal), is always ready to introduce yet another mythical creation, and is quick to refrain from tangible human existence. Moreover, those who enjoy pondering ideas beyond what the author has given would also find this work intriguing as many details are not set in stone but left open to the imagination. Nevertheless, readers who lack knowledge and/or familiarity with the first two works in the “Voulhire” collection may not fully grasp the information presented in the third, thus finding this novel perplexing. I, myself, made this error and felt as though I was missing important details (such as character roundness, settings, and backgrounds),which probably would have been presented in the first book of this series.
I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars; the author’s grammar and punctuation were exceptional minus a few tiny errors, and I found his vivid imagination quite compelling. However, I did experience some bewilderment in context due to the writing form as well as my own lack of predetermined facts. A word of advice: this novel is presented with a great level of intensity, requiring one to put an abundance of focus into the text in order to prevent total incomprehension. Pursue with heavy intent!
We are Voulhire: Someone Else's End
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