4 out of 4 stars
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Reading We Are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies allowed me to witness the birth of a narrative universe in the form of stories from the perspectives of various characters: Galen is the nephew of a recently deceased blacksmith, who arranged for him to come to Voulhire and left him everything he possessed; King Wilhelm is the ruler of all of Voulhire, a prosper land that just entered an age of gold; finally, Lord Meldorath is a powerful mage, who committed severe crimes and is sort of the monster under the bed now. Early on, these characters and stories seem worlds apart but converge as the plot develops. Meanwhile, Voulhire manifests.
I am extremely pleased with this novel. First and foremost, I have to acknowledge the incredible imagination of author Matthew Tysz: not only he created a whole other world, but what is more impressive, he managed to present it in such a delicate way that the reader likely wouldn't notice that this was an introduction unless it was explicitly mentioned.
The book involved many components but did not feel cramped at all; the way Voulhire's culture, geography, and history were on display without it being too obvious was remarkable. What's more, there is plenty of depth to this universe; its political system encloses intrigues, the enemies of the nation have a history that goes back a long time, and there is magic: a trait that anyone can possess if they put their minds to it, which contains different specializations (like biomagic, for example), and is under the influence of Caromentis, the magical universe.
I am fascinated by the fact that Voulhire contains aspects of medieval times, such as weapons and armors, but also elements of industrialization, like trains; and current expressions as "micromanagement" and "cognitive dissociation". The combination is unusual, but it works, showcasing the charm of the old-fashioned times with touches of modernity.
The writing style is illustrative and pleasing. Most of it was rather slow-paced but did not get tedious at all. The focus changes from one character to another but maintaining a linear timeline, and it includes first and third-person narrative. Additionally, it is exceptionally well-edited.
There wasn't a single thing I didn't admire from this book. Overall, it was an extraordinary way to embark on a journey to a new universe, and I can't wait to read the following books. Accordingly, I grant it 4 out of 4 stars. Note that this has mentions of sexual abuse and pedophilia, other sexual instances, violence, and vulgar language, which is why it is most adequate for non-apprehensive adults with a taste for science-fiction.
We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies
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