4 out of 4 stars
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There is a world existing parallel to our Cosmos where everyone and everything is magical. In the course of history, powerful mages in our world have derived magic from the enchanted realm of Caromentis for the welfare of the people. But what if all of these mages are not so honourable? What if there are some wicked ones too, who are capable of annihilating everything that the people of Voulhire has worked so hard to forge?
We Are Voulhire: A New Arrival Under Great Skies by Matthew Tysz is a mesmerising, soul-nurturing tale of a multidimensional fantasy world. The first book in the series is nothing like you would have ever read before. It will take you on an adventure filled with kingdoms, kings, knights and mages, some of whom can control humans even at their cellular level!
Galen Bray belongs to the ‘Land of the Princes’ which has seen nothing but war. All that he had ever known was death, poverty, starvation & fear. A ray of hope came his way when he was summoned by his dying uncle to take up his business as a blacksmith in Magnum Caleum, a small city in the kingdom of Voulhire. Determined to create a better life for himself, Galen worked along with Rowan, his uncle's executor, to make his dream of becoming a great blacksmith come true. Meanwhile, the King Wilhelm of Voulhire elected Eldus to be the lord of Hillport, a small city which was still traumatized by the actions of its previous lord and chief magistrate– Lord Orlin and Lord Meldorath respectively. Meldorath, the army general-turned-chief magistrate, was one of the most powerful mages of all times. Once closest to the king, he later turned into an evil monster who traumatized everyone irrevocably. Lord Eldus assured the citizens of Hillport that Meldorath was dead as the king made sure of it. But is he really dead? And if he is not, what kind of destruction will ensue upon his return?
In the interim, Voulhire encounters another threat from the Riva Rohavi, an organization whose sole purpose is to overthrow Voulhire. It has remained dormant for over 200 years but as the rumors of its uprising spread, how will the kingdom tackle with its biggest enemy?
Tysz takes you through this amazing journey, which while reading, feels more like a movie. He is so incredible at describing the surroundings and situations that you feel like you are standing right there in the moment - breathing the same air and walking across the same landscape as the characters. The writing is in third person's point of view except Galen's which is in the first person. The narration jumps between different characters' point of view which to me, was exciting and refreshing. All the characters are reasonably developed and are absolutely relevant to the story. The author provides the readers with a reference guide for the terms which are relevant only to the people of Voulhire. He even provides a map to help readers get an idea about the kingdom of Voulhire.
My favourite part of the book is the author's explanation of the Caromentis. The magical realm defies all the laws of science that we are familiar with. It surprised me that I was able to understand such complex scenarios. Of course, it was only possible because the author painted such a beautiful yet simple picture of this magical world. If I have to criticize anything, it will be the pace of the story which is a little slow for my liking. But it is understandable because its the first book in the series, so the author is only introducing us to the characters. I wish to see more action and adventure in consecutive books.
There is the use of profanity in the story which, in my opinion, is absolutely relevant to the characters based on their backgrounds and nature. There is a separate religion called Destinism in the story, which has its own beliefs. Its followers do not say or do anything to hurt the sentiments of any other religion but if you are still sensitive to such topics then you should avoid it. There are no sex scenes in the book, but reference to them do exist. The book is professionally edited, so I did not find any major errors in the text. I would like to award this engaging page-turner a perfect score of 4 out of 4 stars. I cannot wait to read the rest of the books in the series.
I would recommend this book to all the fantasy geeks. Trust me, you will not be disappointed. If you enjoy reading about action and adventure, you will definitely get a kick out of this book. Besides, Meldorath is a very proud person, if he finds out you refused to read his great legends, then you are in great trouble, my friend!
We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies
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