4 out of 4 stars
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We are Voulhire A New Arrival Under Great Skies by Matthew Tysz is a an epic fantasy novel and the first of a nine book series. The stories follow the life of Galen as he moves to Voulhire from the war stricken country he grew up in following the death of his uncle. In awe of all the wonders of Voulhire, Galen now has to learn to ply his trade as a blacksmith while also adapting to the customs of his new home. However, the story follows more than just Galen’s journey to accept his new home and place in life and also takes a wide look at Voulhire's royalty, secrets and the beauty of the country itself.
The book is really well-written and although it starts out slowly due to providing a lot of exposition regarding its world and setting, it soon grabs the attention of the reader. The story becomes increasingly difficult to put down as more details about the country and Galen are revealed. The author has stated that the series is meant to be treated like a TV series and this book functions very much as its pilot episode, focusing on explaining the setting and main players to the reader. The author has an interesting take on narration, utilising a combination of first-person narration for the chapters focusing on Galen, and omniscient narration for the chapters focusing on the rest of the characters and occurrences. I found this to be a unique touch, and well-executed besides.
I particularly like the main character Galen as he is a kind person whose life has humbled him and it is heart-warming to see a person so appreciative of the small and big things in his life. His journey from arriving in Voulhire and growing into his new place in the world is very interesting to follow. I loved the rich detail provided by the author giving the reader the ability to imagine every scene as if watching a show. The diversity of characters also intrigued me and throughout the book I actually developed an attachment to several of them, which is something that does not happen all that often when I read a book. I was especially saddened by the fate of Eldus Alderman, whose story arc was very well done.
There are no obvious negative points I could find in the book, with the only thing that may bother some people is the amount of exposition in the first part of the book. However, as we should treat this book as a “pilot episode” of sorts, it is not unexpected and I would definitely encourage the reader to not let it derail them from enjoying the rest of the book.
The book is professionally edited with basically no errors. The book’s ending is appropriately climactic and leaves the reader wanting more. I cannot wait to see what happens next in the series.
Based on the above I give the book 4 out of 4 stars as this is a great book with a well thought out story. I would definitely recommend it to any lovers of a good fantasy read.
We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies
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