4 out of 4 stars
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Virko, the industrial city of Voulhire, is set to transition into a new age. Continuing the story of the first book, The Fires of Virko follow the main protagonist Galen Bray’s journey in the land of Voulhire. In the first book, Galen was tasked by Herr Mayor to bring in iron for Voulhire’s military equipment against the Riva Rohavi. Galen’s task is what brings him to Virko where he and his friends get caught up in the problems of the city. The physical world and the magical world once again collide in Matthew Tysz’ The Fires of Virko.
Founded by Lord Venden Hrelek, Virko is an industrial powerhouse in the land of Voulhire. Lord Venden wants to employ capitalism in his city instead of feudalism. With the drastic changes led by Lord Venden in the city, conflict with his son and other noblemen who were not in favor of his plans are imminent. Now on his deathbed, Lord Venden’s son Hans Hrelek is left in charge of the city. Unbeknownst to his constituents, Hans has another plan for the city which includes a bound demon in his estate. Galen and his friends get caught up in Lord Hans' plans. Will Galen and his friends be able to warn the Eiodi and Voulhire against Hans' plans? Or are they too late to save their homeland against the invasion of the magical world?
Matthew Tysz’ second book on his series We Are Voulhire is impressive. I like the first book, and I love the second one. Tysz did well incorporating the real-world problems with magic without making the story seem childish. He is not afraid to tackle different issues from economy, power, and even homophobia. The novel has a compelling view of science and religion. In reality, there are not a lot of people who think that science and religion can be united. There is always somewhat a degree of separation between the two. However, in the novel, science and religion were incorporated by the Eiodi to fight off the evilness of magic. It’s interesting to see an author take on such a topic even if it’s fiction. Tysz managed to combine magic and science without making the story absurd.
Just like the first book, the chapters are written through the perspectives of different characters. The novel grabs the attention of the readers right from the first chapter and does not let go. There are no slow scenes and it keeps the readers' adrenaline pumping throughout the story. The only thing that I did not like in the novel is that there are more spelling errors than the first book. They even got one character name wrong, which makes me wonder how did the editor of the book get a character name wrong in the first place.
Other than the wrong spelling of a character, there’s nothing that I don’t like about this book. It has great pacing, great plot, and great commentary on societal issues mixed in with the right amount of magic. Contrary to the target audience of the novel, I can say that adults can also enjoy this book. There’s just the right amount of reality mixed with magic in it. People who like fantasy and adventure will surely enjoy this book. However, to those who might be sensitive on topics such as rape, torture, and homophobia should be cautious if they ever read this book. Despite the spelling errors, I still give this book a 4 out of 4 stars because I enjoyed reading it.
We are Voulhire: The Fires of Virko
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