4 out of 4 stars
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We are Voulhire: A New Arrival Under Great Skies is the first installment of the We are Voulhire fantasy series written by Matthew Tysz. The book introduces the readers to different colorful characters and interesting cultures of the kingdom of Voulhire. Galen, a young man from the Lands of the Princes, is called upon to travel to Magnum Caelum, a part of Voulhire, to continue his uncle’s legacy of being a successful blacksmith. Rowan, his uncle’s executor, helps him start his new life in the city and orients him with the nuances of the new place. The two lads form a friendship, and they discover secrets and mysteries not only in their physical realm known as the Cosmos, but also in the magical realm called Caromentis.
Meanwhile, the king of Voulhire, King Wilhelm Arcolo, sends his trusted Judge, Eldus Alderman, to be the new lord of Hillport to help rebuild the place after the ordeal the people suffered through the hands of their past rulers, Lord Orlin and Merdorath. Lord Orlin was the king of Voulhire until his reputation was tarnished by his atrocities to his people, especially to the children. He was then replaced by Meldorath, a powerful mage, who also committed horrific things to the people of Voulhire and was then captured and presumed to be dead. Lord Eldus has to do everything he can to heal the land and console the people by giving them a brand-new start on life. But these are no easy tasks for the new lord as a group of rogues known as the Riva Rohavi are slowly gathering strengths to rise and cause acts of terrorism in Voulhire. There is also the big question looming above everyone in Voulhire, is Meldorath really dead or is it another part of his trickery?
We are Voulhire: A New Arrival Under Great Skies is a book that almost every fantasy lover will enjoy. Matthew Tysz was able to create an immersive world filled with mysteries, politics, and adventures. There are so many things to love about this book that it is hard to pinpoint a specific aspect of it that I liked most. All the significant characters are fleshed-out well, and they each have interesting storylines that keep the book from being one-dimensional. The different cultures in Voulhire are fascinating, but the one I liked most (and I’m terrified most) is the Riva Rohavi. From the way they dressed with feathers from pheasants that they kill to the way they dance as they commit their cruel acts, this band of rogues will definitely send chills down your spine.
If I really have to choose what I loved most about the book, I would say the mythology the author has created is the best aspect for me. I found the concept of having different realms for the physical world and the magical world interesting. Different types of people such as mages, biomages, monks, bawlers, and kings are all captivating to me, and I can see that each will play significant roles as the series progresses. A fair warning for those uninitiated with epic fantasy books, this type of book usually comes in series, so it is only natural that the first book will focus on world-building and introduction of several storylines that may or may not be resolved in itself. This book is no different, there are multiple plotlines in the story and most of them will not be resolved at the end. I saw this as a good thing, with the mythology the author has created, it will be an injustice to finish it in one book. I am excited to see how the different storylines and subplots will merge on the succeeding books.
I did not find any significant aspect of the book that I disliked, but if I have to nitpick something from it, I would say someone may find the changes in perspective of the narration a little bit jarring. Galen’s story is told through first-person narration, while the other storylines are told through third-person narration. But readers need not worry since each chapter’s title describes which main character or group the section will be about as to avoid confusion. I even thought that the alternating narration style was a neat idea, and it is something that is easy to get used to.
I’m giving We are Voulhire: A New Arrival Under Great Skies 4 out of 4 stars. The book’s editing is done professionally as I did not see any errors in it. The book is well-suited for those who love epic fantasy or those who want to start to try the genre. There are some profanities in the book and graphic depiction of violence, so I don’t think this will be appropriate to younger readers. I am looking forward to reading the next installments of this epic series. In fact, I loved the book so much that when I was just halfway through it, I already picked up the second one for my next reading activity.
We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies
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