4 out of 4 stars
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We Are Voulhire: A New Arrival Under Great Skies by Matthew Tysz is the introductory book to a fantasy series set in the country of Voulhire. The story is told from the point of view of various different characters, chiefly a poor boy from the Lands of Princes named Galen Bray who comes into an inheritance in Voulhire and Lord Eldus, a friend of King Wilhelm who has been newly appointed as the lord of the town of Hillport. This book starts off telling tales of different people living in Voulhire and as the book goes on it becomes clear how all of these people and their circumstances are actually connected as various momentous events fall into place in Voulhire. Throughout the whole story, weaving its way into each character’s tale, is the mystery of Lord Meldorath, a dark sorcerer who may be dead or alive.
As a lover of fantasy, I was excited to read about this new magical world. The author stressed that the book was not a traditional novel, but instead an introductory book to set the stage for this fantasy world. Seeing it through those eyes, I thought it was a very well thought out book. The country of Voulhire was laid out in a very clear and yet simple way. The system of magic was also unique and fun to learn about and enough questions about how magic works went unanswered to pique interest for the next books. The characters were very diverse, though with the point of view switching often at the beginning it took a little while to get all of the characters straight. However, the story did settle on two main points of view about a quarter of the way through the book, which made it easier to read. The whole story was shrouded in mystery that constantly kept me guessing.
The only thing I really disliked about the book was the conclusion. As a traditional story, it was somewhat lacking. While Galen was an interesting character, he didn’t seem to have a specific journey in the story but rather just went along completing various tasks. Therefore, the “ending” to his story wasn’t satisfying because there was no traditional hero’s journey. Lord Eldus’ conclusion was similar. However, as this book was not intended to be like a traditional hero’s journey novel, it was not necessarily a fault of the book, but rather a matter of personal preference.
I would highly recommend this book to fantasy lovers. It is an easy and interesting read and gets you excited for the next books in the series. However, I would say it’s imperative to understand that this book is not meant to be a standalone novel with a hero’s journey, but rather an introductory book to create a new fantasy world.
Overall, I was very satisfied with this book. On top of being extremely well-edited, it was very engaging and easily introduced a new fantasy world without being overbearing. Therefore, I give this book four out of four stars.
We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies
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