4 out of 4 stars
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Welcome to Voulhire, a land with many districts brought together as a unified kingdom under the leadership of the Holy Saint Idus, revered and honored by all even in his grave. Voulhire is a thriving kingdom of freedom and riches, where mages practice their magic, the poor live the simplest of lives and the judges, lords do what they normally do, enjoy what they have while some take pleasure in witnessing the unfairness of life bestowed on man by God. Yet with all its riches, peace and environs, Voulhire is described as an orphan who lost his parents at a young age and has to fight the monsters all on his own. He endured the pain, grief and fear and came out strong and mighty. However, he remains lost in his own heart, having a hard time discovering himself.
At the beginning of the book, We are Voulhire: A New Arrival Under Great Skies, Matthew Tysz, introduces us to the Land of the Princes, ruled by four brothers who are at war with each other, as each prince has become vie and wants more power thus falling victim to the elaborate plan of their father, the Emperor of Lullabies. Here, we see Galen Bray, a survivor of the on-going war boarding a ship, to the Land of Magnum Caelum, having been found by the executor of his great uncle. Spending close to a week on board, he finally arrives and is in awe of the place. He inherits a forge from his now late uncle and needs to learn the art of becoming a blacksmith. With no experience, his only guides are the diary left by his uncle and Rowan, the executor. Although the people jubilate and go by their everyday life as always and even celebrate the feast of hands, in Soulhire the capital of Voulhire, there still is trouble brewing. The enemy Riva Rohavi is under a new ruler Vidius Crodai. Who is in with stronger enforcement and tactics to fight for their personal liberation from what they term 'the demanding world'. Galen will have to learn that not everything seen is just as it is. Throw in the controversy surrounding what actually is the Caromentis, a very frustrated King Wilhelm Arcolo, a not so dead traitor, Meldorath Dalehei and the chief of the Mianoran council, High Chancellor Midius Maido, lover of mind games, then you know the drama is going to keep escalating.
The book has been properly structured, hence the transitioning from the first person narrative to that of the third is swift and smooth. It appeals to the imagery sensory of the human mind, because of how descriptive and detailed the writing is. Character development is gradual and circumstancial. For instance, Galen is seen as a humble and generous fellow due to his upbringing in the island of the Princes. Also the cultural beliefs and acts are quite diverse. There is a believe in God, the Cosmos etcetera. Certain things like sexuality necessarily does not matter. There is a blend between olden days terms (like lord, as refered to a governor) and the terms of this age (cursive language). And a lot of sarcasm that serves as a comic relief to the reader.
My least favorite feature is that of missing events or details. The deeds of those known as traitors are not clear enough, leaving the reader to do a lot of guessing which becomes a little distractive in the course of reading. But it's understandable as the book falls under a series.
This book is a definite 4 out of 4 stars. It keeps the readers on their toes throughout the story. And as the first book found in the series, the author did a massive job. I'll recommend this for young adults and anyone who love living in a fantasy.
We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies
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