4 out of 4 stars
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Galen Bray arrives in the kingdom of Voulhire after being named heir by a family member. Coming from a land ravaged by war and left to fend for himself, he finds himself in a foreign place of wealth and comfort. But in this new land where he envisions a better life, other powerful forces stir. The Riva Rohavi, a ruthless group of rebels, would take any measure to overthrow the ruling kingdom. In distant shores in the south, a man who wields magic also threatens to seize power.
Amidst all these, the king does everything he can to protect the realm. However, he finds himself at odds with the first knight of the Mianoran knights, a supposed ally bound to serve the kingdom. In We Are Voulhire: A New Arrival Under Great Skies by Matthew Tysz, readers are left to wonder about the role Galen Bray has to play to save his new home.
As the first story in a series, the book posed a promising start. In every chapter, the author introduced new characters and revealed their perspectives. Whether these characters are heroes or villains, one cannot tell for sure yet, but the author made it clear that they are of great importance in driving the story forward. Despite this focus on characters, its plot was nonetheless carefully crafted with scenes that fit into each other. Also, the depth and vividness of the descriptions made it more enticing.
Fantasy novels often deal with tropes that are rarely distinct from one another. Commonly, it includes forces that are out of this world and men attempting to dominate. We Are Voulhire: A New Arrival Under Great Skies did not stray too far from this. It did not break new ground with its story of magic and oppositions that aim to dethrone those who are in power, but what made it gripping is its style. Matthew Tysz presented an intricate storyline that provides insight into what is to happen. It is not action-packed as I initially expected, but it gave an immense sense of thrill out of the pieces. If anything, the introductions to the characters allowed them—and the happenings—to be better understood by the readers.
The book spanned fewer pages than typical, which I find fitting for the kind of storytelling it delivered. There were only a few errors, but nothing major that makes it discouraging from reading. It tackled philosophy, religion, and politics on a sub-surface level, and I hope that it would elaborate more on these topics in the succeeding books. It also contains a trigger warning for sexual abuse.
Overall, I rate the book four out of four stars. Though it is a cliffhanger, it would leave you with enough curiosity to want to read the next book. It did not fail in setting the pace of the entire series, which is crucial in a continuous piece of writing. Because of a few sensitive scenes and minor profanity, I recommend this to readers 15 and above who love a good fantasy book.
We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies
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