4 out of 4 stars
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“We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies” by Matthew Tysz is the introductory novel within the We Are Voulhire series. Inspired by the indecisiveness between imagination, science and spirituality — three concepts that occupy intimate roles in human history — and the inclination to consider one higher than the other, Tysz gives the reader a whole book to get to know the world of Voulhire and its charming magic through multiple points of view with seemingly separate storylines. A world of physics and a world of magic are brought together in this adventure. The series will ultimately consist of nine parts.
The novel starts with a legend about an ancient king who divided his land among his four children. Except, greediness led to war in the Land of the Princes. Twenty years later, Galen Bray, who possesses few memories from before the war, finds a way out due to a letter from his late uncle. He arrives in Magnum Caelum and learns about all the wonders in this more advanced country. The executor who tracked Galen down, Rowan, takes him under his wing as Galen prepares to start a new life as a blacksmith with his uncle’s manual as a guide.
In another part of Voulhire, Hillport, a tragedy had taken place not so long ago under the reign of two vile lords in merely six months. The current lord, Eldus Alderman, has to build the town up again and let the people move on. However, tension rises as people question if the man responsible for most of the pain is indeed gone. There’s only time to hope that the people of Hillport are ready for what’s coming for them.
I loved reading this book. While the action isn’t the prime focus, the reader definitely will not be left unsatisfied. The reader receives a lot of information about the world of Voulhire in a rap tempo, but won't feel overwhelmed at all. The book contains philosophical influences which give the story a magical touch. Two fun additions are the map and reference guide at the start of the book. The way of writing has the reader engaged and constantly wanting more, as there is a mystery waiting to be discovered. It’s the ending of the book that’s the most gripping, acting as both a thrilling climax to the novel and the start of a very promising series.
Despite its merits, I found the book to have some minor drawbacks, for instance, its depiction of gender roles. While the book has influences from human history, it’s also a work of fiction. Gender roles aren’t something that had to improve and develop with newly gained knowledge like technology. The author could have been more creative in that aspect. However, the book already hints at LGBT-characters, so I maintain hope it may be addressed later in the series.
I discovered a few grammatical errors, but overall, the book was written very well. The book contains mentions of erotic acts but no actual erotic scenes. Swear words are used a couple of times but weren’t too disturbing. I would recommend this book — and series — to everyone who likes fiction, and to those who like thinking about books, legends and tales. It should be suitable for more youthful readers as well. Just take note of the swear words.
I rate this book 4 out of 4. Although the criticism I stated earlier still stands, I acknowledge there has gone a lot of thought into the writing and the story. I really enjoyed reading this book and look forward to the rest of the series.
We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies
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