4 out of 4 stars
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I'm not an avid reader of the fantasy genre novels. In fact, We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies by Matthey Tysz is the second fantasy book that I've read. I'm elated to have chosen this book to read as it did not disappoint. Being the first book in the We are Voulhire series, it does such a great job at introducing us to the wondrous yet mysterious world of Voulhire. The story begins with, "Once there lived..." which in itself piqued my interest.
The story begins with a brief history of the Emperor of Lullabies and his four princes. It talks about rivalry between the sons to lay claim to their father's throne. The Emperor decides to give each son a portion of a small chain of islands to rule over. That only serves to only quell their hunger for power for just a while and soon thereafter a war breaks over the lands as each son wants to rule over all of the islands. This war spins for years and all that is known in the Lands of the Princes was death by sword or a slow starvation. Such is the world our main protagonist, Galen Bray, comes from. All he has known is chaos from the young age of eight years. We are first introduced to him as he boards a ship setting sail to Voulhire. He had been summoned by his great uncle to Magnum Caelum, a town in the southern seas of Voulhire, where he owns a forge. He is set to inherit his fortunes and his trade.
Voulhire is heading towards a golden age. It's the envy of many nations in matters culture, wealth and technology. After his arrival to Magnum Caelum, Galen meets with his executor, a young vibrant man who soon introduces him to the ways of the Voulharians. During their adventures and exploration, Galen discovers that science, faith and magic are things that people of Voulhire look up to as each offers an identity to those not certain of their purpose.
The story is told from multiple perspectives which, to me, helped better understand the narrative. It is through these multiple perspectives that we come to understand the darkness lurking in Voulhire. We also come to realise how two worlds, the natural and supernatural worlds, co-esxist. The antagonist is introduced in a very interesting manner. As a reader, I was made to first understand him from other's perspectives, however, when he is brought into the story from his own perspective, I got confused as to what to make of him. The ending of the book left you on a cliffhanger.
What I found most impressive about the book is Tysz's flair for an enthralling world-building. The author puts a lot of effort in mapping out the land of Voulhire which is evident by the map at the beginning of the story. His story telling ability was also another factor which made the book interesting. I loved how short the chapters were and how the multiple point of views from other characters contributed to the overall eefct of the book. I also loved the reliability of the characters to our modern day life which further served to make the book more compelling. The author also includes twists and turns which leaves one in anticipation thus making it hard to put down the book once you started reading it.
What I disliked most about the book was the use of some difficult words which I had to stop reading and look up the meaning to which at times proved bothersome as it drew my attention from the book when it was most engaging. For instance, dastardly means wickedly, capricious means unstable, and so on.
Overall, I would rate this book 4 out of 4 stars as the book was well-edited and proofread. The book also had short interesting chapters which made it easier to read. It was engrossing and Matthew Tysz created a wonderful world for me to dwell in. I look forward to reading the other books in the series.
The audience for this book would be any person looking for an escape from the realities of life into the fantasy world. I would recommend these books to older teenagers and adults as it contains some mature humor not suitable to younger children.
We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies
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