4 out of 4 stars
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We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies by Matthew Tysz is the first book of the We are Voulhire series, an epic high-fantasy tale about the kingdom of Voulhire. This first installment introduces us to several characters scattered across Voulhire. We learn about why this kingdom is special and different from any other, what makes it tick and what dark secrets are hidden below the idyllic surface. The first character we meet is a young man arriving by ship to Voulhire. He comes from a war-torn country, saved by his uncle who leaves him everything he had. Voulhire becomes everything to Galen Brey and soon this young man will mean a lot to Voulhire as well.
Galen is technically the main character of the story but there are multiple POVs as well as third-person POV. I found the different POVs easy to follow. I welcome the breaks in pace and learning about the cities and people of Voulhire through the various characters.
The writing is masterful, elegant, it weaves the narrative beautifully, just like the dance performed at the royal feast near the start of the novel. The characters are diverse, I felt like I could understand yet felt a mystery about them. The descriptions are stunning, written in ways that surprised and fascinated me. The author clearly put a lot of thought and effort into the development of his world. The politics, history, magic... everything was presented with a great pace which added to the value of the story. I felt like I got to know Voulhire as a country and could understand how the people in various towns and cities ticked. I could visualize every building and every landscape. That's what great writing can do!
I cannot say anything negative about this book. Everything was well done! I will be reading the next book as soon as possible. I haven't been this immersed and excited about a book in a long time.
The book is aimed for readers of YA novels but I'd recommend this to anyone even if they aren't a big fan of fantasy. The book isn't one of the overly heavy high-fantasy novels that some readers find tough to stick with and would be a great entry point into the genre. The book is suitable for adults as well.
I feel obliged to let potential readers of the novel know that there is mention of sensitive topics such as pedophilia. I know this can be a deal-breaker for some readers. One of the characters mentioned (dead in the novel) had the vile liking but there are no graphic depictions, only brief mentions.
I rate the novel 4 out of 4 stars because it's brilliantly written, the story is engaging, the characters are well-rounded, the world is immersive, and it's well-edited. I cannot think of a single flaw and recommend this novel to everyone. I can't wait to sink my teeth into the rest of the series.
We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies
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