4 out of 4 stars
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We are Voulhire: A New Arrival Under Great Skies by Matthew Tysz introduces us to fascinating and magical worlds, brewing a story laced with the undertones of war, history, magic, power and political struggles that tingles the senses of a fantasy reader.
The plot opens in a classic, “Once there was…” fashion, and leads into the story of The Land of Princes ravaged by a civil war with no end. Our protagonist, Galen Bray, decides to escape the dark lands and travel to the kingdom of Voulhire ruled by King Wilhelm. Voulhire presents itself as a seemingly perfect land of dreams that has recently entered into its golden age. Galen reaches the town of Magnum Caelum where he inherits the fortunes of his dead uncle, a house and a forge. He also befriends Rowan, the executor of his uncle’s business. It is soon revealed to Galen that a mysterious darkness surrounds Voulhire, a land locked in political tension, lies, conspiracy and dark magic. Amidst the ideals of the King, the corrupt desires of those in power, a host of rebels who loathe the Kingdom and a mysterious dark wizard imprisoned on an island, the themes of a battle between good and evil come to light. Galen becomes a vital part of the kingdom as he vows to bring justice to his new homeland.
The book engages the reader with its rich descriptions and complex characters. The author has done a fantastic job at painting a vivid picture of Voulhire right from the beginning. The imagery is excellent and the reader becomes engaged in the kingdom’s magical history and culture. The plot never fails to surprise and lacks predictability. The book is the first installment to a series and does a great job of creating anticipation for the next installment.
The characters, as previously mentioned, seem real and are very well portrayed. Galen Bray is a somewhat naïve, yet relatable character. His journey to settle into this new kingdom is well described. Characters like Lord Meldorath and Lord Eldus grip the reader with a sense of mystery.
The dynamics of the story play out well and intrigue the reader. The story is told through multiple perspectives which give the reader a good understanding of the unfolding events. The book is free of any grammatical errors, only a few profanities.
However, the plot did seem a bit slow paced, especially considering the target audience of mostly teenagers. The plot picks up more towards the second half of the book. Once the pace is set, however, it becomes difficult to keep the book down.
In conclusion, I would rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. It is a highly recommended read to fantasy lovers as it is a very good portrayal of the genre. With its twists and turns, rich imagery, gripping characters and a remarkable depiction of a magical world of politics and power, Matthew Tysz creates an impressive storyline that completely engulfs the reader in itself.
We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies
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