3 out of 4 stars
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In We Are Voulhire: The Fires of Virko (book 2 in the We Are Voulhire series) by Matthew Tysz, Galen Bray with his friends Rowan and Demetrius seeks to reestablish his new blacksmithing business, which he inherited from his great-uncle. Galen’s goal leads the group to Virko in an attempt to acquire steel for Galen to forge. Virko is one of Voulhire’s most prominent cities and is known for its industries, but Virko also has a mysterious past. The city was built around Rendenhide, an abandoned manor in the middle of the plains. The people can sense the darkness there. Meanwhile, Meldorath, who escaped his island prison in the previous book, has established a new hold on Hillport and plans to spread his influence. Can Galen and his friends discover where the darkness surrounding Virko is coming from? Will they be able to stop it in time? How will Meldorath’s plans affect them?
Like the first book, this book did an excellent job of giving the antagonists and many of the protagonists positive and negative traits. Additionally, the characters’ backstories increase the reader’s sympathy, especially for the antagonists. I really enjoyed the additional believability and depth this added to the characters.
The book did a significantly better job of developing Galen’s character than the first book. In the first book, Galen was unrealistically naïve and kind with no opinion of his own. In this book, Galen has his own thoughts and expresses them, even when his friends do not agree. While his character could be further developed, Galen is significantly more interesting as a main character than he was in the first book.
The book did contain some modern references, which I did not like. The culture of Voulhire is portrayed as medieval with its carriages, horses, and knights, so items like sunglasses, golf courses, and tandem bicycles felt out of place. Additionally, the science is very developed with the atom having been discovered, but military technology seems to lag an unrealistic amount. Also, Galen, Demetrius, and Rowan’s friendship seems to have evolved significantly between the first and second books, which was a little confusing since the second book picks up where the first one ended.
The book was well-written and had a strong plot, but the modern references and some typos detracted from the story. For these reasons, I give this book 3 out of 4 stars. I would recommend the book to those who enjoyed the first book, but I would not recommend it to young readers for the same reasons I would not recommend the first book to them (strong language and sexual references).
We are Voulhire: The Fires of Virko
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