4 out of 4 stars
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We Are Voulhire: A New Arrival Under Great Skies is a fantasy novel by author Matthew Tysz. The novel explores the seemingly perfect land of Voulhire and its many secrets. Galen Bray is given a chance to immigrate to Voulhire in order to claim an inheritance. Lord Eldus is mandated to reform the terrorized town of Hillport at the command of his king. King Wilhelm worries that change is coming to Voulhire. Galen, Eldus, and the king each have a part to play when the threat of war and the influence of an evil mage challenge the peace of Voulhire.
One of the difficult things about fantasy can be creating a magical world and describing it in enough detail for the reader to feel that it is real. The author does a great job bringing the setting to life in this book. Galen’s effort to learn how to use a forge is a good example. As a reader I felt that I was learning the first steps of how to be a smith along with Galen. I also noted several occasions when the author uses deep and thoughtful descriptions to help the reader get to know each character. Galen describes his uncertainty about another person’s reticence by thinking: “I looked into the man’s eyes and saw things other than what I heard from his mouth.”
Tysz is a promising new author; I look forward to reading the next part of this series. The only element of the book that I disliked was the occasional awkward hitch in the writing style. At several points the author switches abruptly into second person while in a first-person point-of-view section of the book. Several other times the author uses modern slang terms like “hey, man” and “you guys” in a passage that is otherwise formal and somewhat medieval in tone. I found the transcription of dialect in certain dialogue passages to be difficult to read as well. While I stumbled over a few of these minor issues, overall I believe this kind of detail will be smoothed out with time as the writer develops his craft.
This book was clearly professionally edited and proofread. Readers who like fantasy should give this book a try; I would recommend We Are Voulhire in particular to readers who enjoy books like Elantris by Brandon Sanderson and Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb. I would warn readers that this book contains limited profanity and a certain amount of war violence.
I give this book a rating of 4 out of 4 stars because of its excellently realized fantasy setting and careful editing. This book ends in a suspenseful way; readers who like the first book can look forward to the sequel.
We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies
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