4 out of 4 stars
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We Are Voulhire: A New Arrival Under Great Skies is the transportive first novel in an ongoing series of nine books by Matthew Tysz. It will satisfy any lover of quality fantasy fiction. The author introduces us to a vibrant, original world where the supernatural and mundane coexist.
Galen Bray, a humble, naïve foreigner from a land ravaged by war, arrives in the prosperous kingdom of Voulhire after a harrowing sea journey. He has inherited property from an estranged great uncle. Galen is grateful for this stroke of luck and eager to contribute to his new home.
Despite Voulhire’s financial success, cracks appear in its foundation. Tensions brew between powerful elements: faith, science, and magic compete for primacy amongst the people. Voulhire is trying to move past hellish periods in its history. But, a dark figure from its recent past begins to re-emerge, a powerful wizard imprisoned on a nearby island. Far away in the uninhabitable realms, the bloodthirsty dancing Riva Rohavi also begin their advance on the continent, slaughtering everyone in their path. The promising future of Voulhire is under threat on multiple fronts. Yet, there is still much we don't know. What's the significance of Galen’s appearance in Voulhire? And what role will this innocuous immigrant play as this story develops?
The author sets a dramatic stage for this epic tale. There’s enough backstory provided in this short book to situate the reader comfortably into its mythology. Matthew Tysz wonderfully describes this world, imbuing it with palpable texture and dimension. I especially enjoyed this cinematic quality, as it was easy to visualize the narrative. This first book of the series also ends on a suspenseful note, which should keep the reader interested in moving on to the next installment.
The book seems geared for young adults, although it's also suitable for adults. The use of profanity is sparse and there is no sex. However, be warned that there are multiple references to pedophilia, but no specific descriptions of any acts. I assume the author chose to use this disturbing psychological disorder to explain why the populace of Voulhire is so mentally scarred by its recent past. Nevertheless, this book may not be appropriate for all audiences. It is well written and edited, and has a professional polish.
I liked the author’s relaxed, unpretentious style. However, I felt certain colloquialisms were out of place in this fantasy novel. For example, even though the author was probably attempting at humor, “metrosexual" was a term coined in 1994 that didn't become popular until the early 2000s. How would the characters in the story know this word? But, this doesn’t detract from the overall story.
I rate We Are Voulhire: A New Arrival Under Great Skies a solid 4 out of 4 stars . Matthew Tysz has spent a lot of energy creating this world for readers to enjoy. I’m certainly interested to see how this epic story develops throughout the series. And I commend the author for making an original contribution to a competitive genre.
We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies
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