4 out of 4 stars
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The Emperor of Lullabies is afraid that his four sons would vie for his kingdom and they might also kill him. To prevent this disaster, the Emperor decides to give each of his sons a separate island to rule. But soon enough a civil war begins in the land of the princes. Gallen, a poor young man from the war-torn place, gets an opportunity to escape the chaos when he receives a letter informing him of an inheritance from his Uncle. Gallen sets off on the boat journey to Voulhire, a kingdom ruled by King Wilhelm. Voulhire is a melting pot for technology, wealth, science, culture, magic, and faith. What would Gallen have in store for him in Voulhire? Is he there to serve a purpose he is unaware of? We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies by Matthew Tysz is a fantasy novel in which Cosmos, the physical world, collides with Caromentis, the magic world.
When I started reading the book, I was slightly confused about the time period the story was set in. The descriptions of the ships, the kingdoms, the elements of magic, etc. indicated that the story was from 'way back when'. But the characters conversed in a very contemporary style. They greeted each other with salutations such as, ‘Hi dad!’ They even played the game of ‘rock-paper-scissors’. I wished the author had imagined more innovative greetings, games, and other such elements, reflective of the time period in which the story is set.
I loved that the author has kept the chapters short. Each chapter is named after the character that forms the focus of the narration. Tysz has an excellent way with words. The poetic descriptions of the cities of Voulhire and the characters help the readers to visualize the story as they read it. At first, it might be a bit confusing to keep up with the characters and sub-plots, but the author has woven the entire story together quite intelligently. Be it reading about the power-hungry Mianoran Council, the threat to the kingdom posed by the disgruntled tribe of Riva Rohavi, the threatening magical illusions created by the evil General Meldorath, or the courage of Lord Eldus, I remained engaged throughout.
The book is professionally edited. I did not come across any grammatical errors. The pace of narration is perfect. However, there is a considerable amount of profanity in the book. The characters often talk in a crass manner, which might not go down well with sensitive readers. There are mentions of sexual acts, but the author does not describe any scene graphically. The descriptions are just enough to expose dark thoughts but not so detailed that they repulse readers.
This is the first book from a series that is supposed to have nine books. The author ensures that the readers are kept engaged enough so that they commit to the entire series. I have no complaints about the book. I would have liked lesser profanity, but this did not impact the enjoyability of the story. I would rate the book 4 out of 4 stars. The book is geared toward the YA audience, but older readers who love fantasy tales would also enjoy it. I would recommend this book even to readers who are not particularly fond of fantasy stories. The style of narration is certain to engage readers of all ages and inclinations.
We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies
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