4 out of 4 stars
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The book "We are Voulhire: A New Arrival Under Great Skies" by Mark Tysz is a premiere fantasy novel of the We are Voulhire series. This introductory installment sets a strong foundation for the upcoming books in the series and familiarizes the readers to some major characters, around whom the mainstream action revolves. The tale unfurls in the magnificent and glorious kingdom of Voulhire, the nexus between cosmos and caromentis. It connects the monotonous physical world of humans to the supernatural realm. The fascinating novel is intriguing enough to hook the reader from its very first page.
The beginning of the book gives us an account of Galen's adventures. Galen Bray, the fourth born son of the Emperor of Lullabies, is the Prince of a country ravaged by wars and starvation. He disowns his princely title and escapes the Land of Princes, synonymous with poverty and death, to venture his chances in Voulhire, the land of dreams. His journey takes him to Magnum Caelum, a small town in Voulhire where he inherits his uncle, Galen Onita's forge, and befriends his executor, Rowan. Galen is projected to be a young dewy-eyed lad of 28 who radiates optimism and innocence. Although he is 28 years old, most of the time he comes across as a child. He seems to be like a naïve shy child lost in the big world, overwhelmed by gratitude and lacking in wisdom.
The book is broken into various sections; each section introduces us to a new character or pours in a fresh detail about the traditions, culture, trade, politics, history, and geography of the marvelous city of Voulhire. The setting of the book in Voulhire sets the mystic temperament. Wilhelm Arcolo, the King of this magnificent nation, is delineated to be a devoted and just ruler. He is quite popular among his subjects, who consider him as the supreme being, an incarnation of God Himself. Voulhire is a prosperous kingdom, home to skilled human labor, biomages, and aristocracy. The peace and harmony, which once seemed eternal, is now being threatened by a vicious uprising. The times of peace are history, dark clouds are threatening the stability of this imperial kingdom and painting the great skies of Voulhire in deep black shades. The trouble is brewing right under the King's nose, but his helpless self can do nothing except to watch his downfall at the hands of his own son, Prince Darius, who seems to be uninterested in politics. The author sensitively portrays the power tussle that arises when the upright ruler locks horns with his corrupt official, Midus Maido, who is the Second-in-command.The political tension rages further as the plot unfolds. King Wilhelm is depicted as an ideal king, who deeply cares for his subjects and treats them with respect and dignity. His appreciation for hard work can be witnesses on various occasions. The Feast Of Human Hands, a grand fair that is organized to applaud the skilled laborers for their intense hard work and to celebrate the prosperity that their yearly harvest has brought. The date of this festival is engraved on the Royal Calendar in letters, bolder than any other royal event. The only smear that dulls the King's shiny robe is his betrayal that destroyed Dalehie Maldorath, who was once his trusted general.
The novel narrates numerous tales, starring different personalities, but not even a single tale meets its end. The narrator craftily weaves an intricate plot, which demands the reader's attention. Tysz acquaints us to various key players, each of which adds a specific twist to the main storyline. The author brilliantly feeds information to the reader. His choice of dissecting the plot, and awarding a particular chapter to every distinct event or person is novel. The story is narrated through multiple perspectives, which presents the plot from different angles. The narration of the book is simple yet engaging. The author establishes his literary bonafide by sketching unique characters and changing the narrative description, every time he switches between the characters. Galen's character is described in the first person, while others are written in the third person. Rowan, Galen Onita's executor, is a wide-mouthed rogue who seems to be fond of profane language. His friendship with Galen Bray is really adorable, but the author's warning keeps ringing in our ears proclaiming, "not a single soul can be trusted in Voulhire." Lord Eldus's bonding with the local folks really stirred my heart, his compassion and goodness are truly appealing. Besides shaping innocent characters like Bray, cocky ones like Rowan, and the compassionate ones like Eldus, Mark has efficiently drawn characters like Meldorath and Midus, using darker colors of the pallet, which provide the realistic touch and adequate depth to the plot. The pages narrating the legends of Meldorath ooze tension and trepidation, which sends a chill down the reader's spine. The chaos and terror invoked by this wicked character are contagious; One can, literally, perceive the fear his name instills. The book is jam-packed with thrills and suspense. The strategically divided plot helped me grab the necessary information without having to dig every nook of the read to get the gist.
I loved this stimulating and mystic tale by Mark Tysz, especially the detailed description of the grand kingdom of Voulhire. The author's vivid imagination and his experienced hand at writing fabricate the enchanting kingdom of Voulhire. The author has paid great heed to the details. There is a map included at the beginning of the book which enlists the geographical features of Voulhire and depicts the political boundaries. A city labeled as "Virco" in the map has been spelled as "Virko" throughout the book. The map helps the reader to study the terrain, political boundaries, culture, and trading routes of the kingdom, hence it enhances readers' comprehension. The vivid imagery helped me imagine myself wandering on the streets of Voulhire, exploring its rich culture, reciting poems to its glory, and awing at its magnificence. The book is a cliffhanger whose primary motive is to set up a stage for his characters to act upon.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars for its professionally edited text and impressive narration. The author successfully propels the story forward, maintaining narrative coherence. The strategically divided plot helped me grab the necessary information without having to dig every nook of the read to get the gist. Mark has beautifully handled character interactions, which lay the essential groundwork for the whole story. The dialogs are crispy and original, which adds a realistic touch to the characters' personalities. Some obvious questions which kept popping in my mind after a quick read was, "Can a rusty character like Rowan truly befriend Galen?" "Is this friendship genuine or just another sham?" "How long will Galen be able to retain his innocence?" "Who is Melorath?" "How will Wilhelm suppress the revolts?" "Is this the end of Voulhire's monarchy?"...and the list goes on. I also loved the names of various cities like Soulhire, Yamon Soul, and Magnum Caelum as they had a magical feel to them. There is nothing in the book that I specifically disliked. The few errors that I encountered during reading the text were too petty to interfere with its readability.
Reading this book was a pleasure. This edition will richly reward the attention of every linguistic lover of magic and mystics. The book does not enlist any explicit usage of profanity, yet some dialogs written in rough language make this book unfit for younger children. This edition is well suited for teenagers. The magical book is pretty well-narrated, but there is no significant plot development throughout the book. Though the story lacked focus, yet the ending was nicely executed, it seems that the primary plot of the series will be revealed in the upcoming installments. I am looking forward to the rest of the series.
We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies
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