4 out of 4 stars
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We Are Voulhire: A New Arrival Under Great Skies is the first entry in the fantasy series "We Are Voulhire" by Matthew Tysz. Basically, the reader is being introduced to a new world. There is even a glossary of terms, concepts and names at the end. However, it's not so different from our current one. There's industry in Virko, mining in Alcovia, fishing in Hillport, magic in Caromentis and a little bit of everything in the capital of Voulhire, the city of Soulhire - just to mention a few.
King Wilhelm Arcolo sits at the Capital. A lot is going on at the Castle in Hillport and he is faced with the challenge of coronating someone every once in a while to be Hillport's Lord. Meanwhile, Galen Bray gets a letter that evacuates him from the chaos and anarchy in the Lands of the Princes all the way to the tranquility and peace at Magnum Caelum. Here, he meets Malcom - the mayor - and Rowan, his uncle's executor. How much will his life change? King Wilhelm confers lordship to former judge Eldus Alderman and sends him to Hillport as it's redemption. Is he up to the task?
There's a lot going on in this book. The character development is quite commendable. My favorite guy is Galen. He can't believe his life has totally changed. Rowan takes him around Voulhire in the name of business and adventure; from Alcovia all the way to Yamon Soul. My second best character is undoubtedly Lord Eldus. He represents the very few leaders who want change for the common person and actually makes steps towards this. He is, to the disbelief of his subjects, a leader by example, compassionate and humble.
The plot also develops appropriately. The reader is able to clearly distinguish the different settings and how they keep growing and changing. Hillport, for instance, isn't even ready for what's coming, but you'll have to grab the book to understand why. No spoilers for now. The writing style is quite simple, thus making it enjoyable even to a younger audience. There's also some suspence at the end - making one to eagerly await the next book.
There's not much I disliked about this book. The only thing I disliked is the lack of major female characters. In my humble opinion, Beverly and Lady Charlotte represent the women, but not substantially. Matthew needs to use more women in this fantasy series and award them more roles and space. This would go a long way in making this series bigger and better.
The book is professionally edited. I found only two minor errors. I would also like to note the fact that my PDF copy didn't have page numbers. Anyway, this didn't distract me from my reading, though it might be distracting to another reader. Still, the above statements didn't give me any reason to reduce the rating, therefore I award it a perfect 4 out of 4 stars.
I dare say anyone can enjoy this piece of art. There's a religious town called Yamon Soul, but I don't think it may be inappropriate to a reader of any religion. There's a case or two of borderline profanity that isn't distracting. I didn't find any erotic scenes in Matthew's work. There are few violence cases which might not appeal to sensitive readers. Lovers of fantasy will find it most appealing.
We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies
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