4 out of 4 stars
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The alchemical age of the eighteenth century references the times when humans possessed arcane knowledge that made them capable of transforming basal metal into gold. There was a societal faction that gave much reverence to people who wielded such super-human abilities. Matthew Tysz creates such a world in his magic realism book We are Voulhire: A New Arrival Under Great Skies. In the book, the people who possessed such abilities were called Mages, and their abilities exceeded the boundaries of metal transformation.
The Land of the Princes has toiled with incessant wars with her neighbouring islands. Only the elites were safe from the chaos of these wars. Bray Galen was lucky to get to leave the Land of the Princes after his long-lost Uncle invited him to Magnum Caelum, a small city in Voulhire. Unfortunately for him, his uncle died before his arrival. He was encouraged to take over his late uncle’s forge business, considering that he was his uncle’s sole heir. After Eldus Alderman became the new ruler of Hillport, a neighbouring city to Magnum Caelum, he tried to amend the treacherous reign of his predecessors. In the wake of events, the former ruler of Hillport, one of the best Mages ever known, sieges an attack on the city and attempts to execute the entire family of Eldus Alderman.
This book isn’t one that needs to be read all at one sitting. As the book progresses, it takes the reader through the vast characters and the different locales in the general setting of Voulhire. While maintaining the medieval times of the story, the descript of these locales came close to representing a macrocosm of the modern society; how the different cities in Voulhire were unique in their type of leadership and the sparse level of industrialization among neighbouring cities. One needs to take some time off to consume these contents and understand the underlying role this compelling setting plays in driving the plot.
It's either the personas of most of the characters or the author’s exquisite narration that intrigued me the most. Without the author explicitly attributing an adjective to describe any character, a reader would easily uncover Maido’s malicious motifs on King Wilhelm, Lord Meldorath’s calm but brute intent on regaining power and other characters’ demeanour. Their cues and actions were best narrated with the third-person narration and also with the first-person narration.
The book has a lot to be commended. It seems to be professionally edited, as I found a few grammatical errors. There isn’t anything I dislike about the book. I would gladly rate the book 4 out of 4 stars. I would recommend the book to science fiction lovers. It might not be your favourite Hogwarts series, but this series would be appreciated by those into magic realism books. Teens could also read this because it is light on sexual content.
We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies
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