4 out of 4 stars
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We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies by Matthew Tysz is a fantasy work based in the fictional world of Voulhire. The work moves in two seemingly separate storylines, occurring in two different cities in Voulhire. The first follows a young man called Galen, who has inherited land in Voulhire. This narrative focuses much on the disparities between Galen, who has spent much of his life in the chaotic Lands of the Princes and the supposedly better civilized Voulhirians. The second storyline follows a man called Eldus Alderman, who is newly appointed to govern the town of Hillport. There is use of magic, psychological manipulation and use of illusions in this book, which makes it a highly gripping narrative.
The spelling and grammar in this work is excellent. The book appears to be professionally edited. The author writes very descriptively, and creates a very believable world. The focus on the creation of Voulhire is paramount because the following books in the series will be based off this fictional world. The author has created a fully fleshed out image of Voulhire, and has also created believable characters. The author has created a solid foundation for the entire series within this work. Whilst the focus is on the creation of the Voulhirian territories, the plot progression is also very balanced. Both storylines are riveting and invite the reader to continue reading the rest of the series.
The chapter titles are the name of the most prominent character within that chapter. This has made it much easier to keep track of the switches in storyline and also to keep track of the characters themselves. There is a plethora of characters introduced in this book and the author has managed to make each character believable and relatable without making the story seem muddled or overcrowded.
The recommended audience for this book is an adult audience. There is a lot of profane language in this book. There is no outright explicit content but there to is some suggestive imagery and some crude remarks here and there in the novel. The aspect of this book that warrants the adult rating is the disturbing images in the narrative. There are mentions of pedophilic behaviour and slight allusions to flexible sexuality. The book has very strong focus on the use of dark magic and mind manipulation and therefore the emphasis is on creating content that is more unsettling rather than gorish or violent. There are some violent acts described in the work, but the thrust of these scenes is on showing the capabilities magical prowess of the characters and not on the violent action itself.
I would rate this book a 4 out of 4. I especially enjoyed that the villain in the work, Lord Meldorath, is more discussed than active for the majority of the book. That has made him much more formidable. The author has left the reader plenty of room to speculate as to how the villain can be thwarted. The world of Voulhire is so marvelously build, and it has just the right amount of oddities to make it fascinating. For example, the author creates a dancing army that does not stop dancing even as it destroys.
The two plotlines are very distinct from each other that they could easily be separate books. The link between them, a peculiar rock, is so small yet significant that it also opens room for great speculation. The one setback the work faces is that some plotlines and plot devices are picked up and dropped so randomly that they may be lost id they are not referred to in future books in the series. There is however, plenty of time to flesh out each facet as the series progresses. The book is very interesting and I would freely recommend it to other readers. I would also be keen to read the following books in the same series.
We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies
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