3 out of 4 stars
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We Are Voulhire: A New Arrival Under Great Skies by Matthew Tysz introduces a world of dangerous mages who threaten to take over an entire kingdom. After an inner betrayal within the king’s circle of closest men, the locals whisper about the return of a certain dark mage who is powerful enough to destroy them all. The story also follows the path of Galen. This young man enters the kingdom for the first time after his uncle’s will specifies that Galen is to inherit not only his property, but all of his blacksmithing tools. Galen begins to prove he is an excellent craftsman just as the pressure of invasion and siege starts to build around him.
What I like about this book is the very unique world that Tysz has created. I also feel connected to almost every character introduced, which is a lot of different people. To be able to create such in-depth characters in such a short time is an impressive feat. Another aspect of this book that I find interesting and unique is their almost modern language. While this way of talking might throw some people off, I think it added to the relatability of the characters as well as the humor. I also love the magic that’s described in the book. It is dangerous and unpredictable, but it’s also very connected to the earth and grounded to the world the non-magic people also live in. I only wish there was more of it in the book.
There are just a couple aspects of this book that I don’t think work well. Firstly, the sections with Galen are written in first person while the rest of the book is written in third person. While this stylization helps me as a reader know when we are back with the “main” character, Galen is already very separated from the rest of the storyline. Because of the different perspective he is written in, his sections feel like a completely different book. There are also so many characters that a majority of the book feels like an introduction instead of a natural storyline. It is hard to keep track of the large cast, so when an exciting climax takes place, I don’t really get the impact.
I think this book would be great for anyone who loves fantasy. There aren’t many female characters, but as a female myself, I was still able to enjoy the book. This book would probably be best for high school and up, as there is a good helping of profanity and adult topics. On the other hand, hard-core fantasy lovers might find this book a bit boring if they’re used to plot-driven stories. This book is a slow burn with a decent pay-off at the end. I think that if the next book digs into the story of just a few characters, this series could end up being great.
I would rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. Although I wasn’t a huge fan of the change in perspective or the massive amount of characters, the book is still filled with entertaining people who Tysz develops very well. The world is unique and diverse, although I wish I had seen more of the mage side of it. All in all, this works well as a first book and contains interesting story elements and characters. The only reason I can’t give it four stars is because the plot was spread a little too thin by the large cast. I’ll be reading the next one for sure!
We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies
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