4 out of 4 stars
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We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies is a fantasy/adventure novel by Matthew Tysz. It is the author’s first installment in the “We are Voulhire” series and Tysz wastes no time in throwing the reader straight into the carefully crafted his world.
I must begin this review by acknowledging one of the book’s greatest strengths, its ability to immerse the reader within the world without fatiguing said reader with large amounts of expository prose. The first way Tysz was able to manage this feat was through his prologue; an intense action scene that introduces the reader to the magic and politics of the world and sets a strong foundation for the novel’s plot to build upon. The next way the author showcases the world to the reader is through one of its protagonists, Galen Bray. Originally from the Lands of the Princes--three lands ruled by three princes that have been devastated by war--Galen is given his ticket to freedom in the form of a literal ticket to Voulhire by a deceased relative, who he never knew existed until his death. Galen inherits his late uncle’s forge at Magnum Caelum, and he is determined to prove himself a worthy benefactor. Galen being an outsider in this world allows for the author to teach the reader about Voulhire’s politics and culture through Galen. Galen’s story is one of adventure and will provide many thrills, especially as it begins to integrate with the other narratives of the story.
Our other narrative is divided between two narrating characters, Wilhelm, the King of Voulhire and Lord Alderman, the newly appointed Lord of Hillport. It is through these characters that we explore the main conflict of the story, Meldorath and the Riva Rohavi. Both these characters try to navigate the turbulence of politics, war and other more sinister things. Reading Lord Alderman’s chapters were my favourite, aside from him being a good and just character that is easy to root for, it is through his chapters that Tysz writes a masterclass in creating suspense.
The novel’s next triumph in literary excellence comes through in its characters. In a book such as this with heavy emphasis on world building and plot, it is easy for the characters of the novel to come across as flat or one dimensional, but Tysz is able to overcome this hurdle. While I would not consider any of the protagonists in Tysz’s novel as morally grey, like those of the ones George R.R. Martin has provided us over the years, Tysz still manages to create complex and more importantly compelling characters.
Clocking in at under a hundred and sixty pages, the novel is a relatively short read yet the depth Tysz manages to create is astounding. After completing the book I feel very much a citizen of the world the author has created and that is probably the greatest praise I can offer it. The book is exceptionally professional, with obvious editorial intervention, as well as nice additions such as a map and links to the author’s website where you can immerse yourself into Voulhire’s lore.
I would have to rate We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies by Matthew Tysz a full 4 out of 4 stars. I have absolutely nothing but praise for this book and would highly recommend it to fantasy and adventure enthusiasts. However, due to the books more inclusion of darker elements like pedophilia and torture, I would advise that this book be consumed by those in their late teens and up.
We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies
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