4 out of 4 stars
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We are Voulhire: A New Arrival Under the Great Skies is a political fantasy set in the fictional nation of Voulhire. Matthew Tysz has used the first book of the series to build up an interesting premise for a political and magical power play.
When Galen Bray gets a chance to move from the war-torn Lands of the Princes to Voulhire, which is in its Golden Age, his life changes. To him, everything about the country is perfect. But away from his eyes, different political games are going on, threatening the perfection.
I loved the way the novel followed different characters and built the world around them. Through Galen, the reader knows more about the towns of the southern parts of the country. His partner Rowan brings comic relief to the otherwise dark narrative. Another character, Eldus Alderman has been appointed as the Lord of Hillport and aiming to bring economic changes to the unfortunate southern town. The magical parts include the mysterious mage Meldorath, who does not make many appearances throughout the book but is always looming above other characters. The magical world further expands with Beth, who has come from another dimension called Caromentis. There is also Riva Rohavi, the rebel group which reveals the complex history of Voulhire.
The most impressive thing about the book is that it smoothly transitions from different narrative point-of-view. The author has used first-person narration for Galen but third-person narration for other characters. I did not realize this until I reached halfway through the book. In fact, this is the first book in which I have seen such a change in narrative. It gives an impression that Galen is narrating the story after his adventures have completed. It made me curious about Galen’s future adventures.
I give the book 4 out of 4 because of its engaging narration, brilliant world-building, complex characters, and gut-wrenching climax.
The book might not be suitable for everyone, as it has some profanity. The topics of paedophilia, violence and dark magic may disturb some. But these are not extreme. If you can handle them, you are in for a wonderful introduction to Voulhire.
To some readers, the book might be quite boring because there is not much action going on. Galen’s adventures are interesting but, except for the mystery surrounding Lord Meldorath, there is not much action. The slow build-up, however, pays off in the climax. We are Voulhire: A New Arrival Under the Great Skies is a perfect series-opener.
We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies
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