4 out of 4 stars
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We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies by Matthew Tysz is a fantasy novel which is the first in a potential series of nine books. The book follows the long standing rule that the survival of a book series often depends on the quality of the first book and this book does a pretty good job in following the aforementioned rule. Although, fantasy novels are usually unrealistic and usually break the boundaries of the imaginations of readers, the author of this book counters such problems by giving the characters a certain warmth and relatability to help ground the characters amidst all the outlandish scenarios they find themselves in.
The book starts of with an introduction of Galen, one of the protagonists (possibly the main one moving forward) who is trying to escape from his homeland after it has been ravaged by war for many years. His escape is also funded by his long-lost great uncle who is estranged from the rest of the family and is trying to reach out one last time to them and to also look for a suitable candidate to take over his iron smelting business. Galen lands in Voulhire almost overwhelmed by the sights and sounds of his new home which seems like paradise compared to his homeland. However, the author also gives us an insight into the government of Voulhire, and shows us that, despite all the beautiful facades the land has, not everything is as it seems.
One major thing going well for this book is that, the author, recognizing that casual readers make up a significant portion of the market, tries to appeal to their tastes by adding "reading aids" to help such readers along as the book progresses. Such aids include, a map showing the layout of the Land of Voulhire, with which readers can use to make references and also Special chapter headings which specify the character in focus at that point in the book so as to help readers grasp a better understanding of the happenings in the book.
However, the book has a few downsides in my opinion. One of which is the fact that not a lot of room was given to properly explain the backgrounds of the antagonist(s) which doesn't allow the casual reader to properly understand their motives for performing whatever acts they choose to perform which makes them seem rather one-sided and uninteresting. Although, it can also be said that since this is merely the first book in a series, that more explanations and backstories will be given to them as the series progresses.
I give it 4 out of 4 stars for its promising plot and captivating dialogue.
We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies
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