4 out of 4 stars
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We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies by Matthew Tysz is a great fantasy novel that immediately engages the reader. The prologue introduces the malevolent mage, Meldorath, and a sudden plot twist leaves one with uncertainty that impels to further reading.
The perspective changes with each chapter but the only character that gets a first-person narrative is Galen Bray from the Land of the Princes. He travels to Voulhire from a country that has been destructed by an ongoing civil war, but thanks to a letter from a previously unknown relative, the young man has a chance to start a new life. Humbled by the arduous circumstances he had to suffer through, Galen’s kind nature makes him easy to sympathise with and by his comparisons with his old home one gets to discover the excitingly new world of Voulhire.
Like in most of the fantasy novels, there is magic, knights and a mysterious enemy, but Matthew Tysz’s story is entirely his and there is no déjà vu feeling to it. The author made it engaging from the very beginning and thanks to the quick development of events and intriguing characters the interest doesn’t fade.
The brand new world of Voulhire which one gradually discovers is well thought-through, with its complex history and specific rules. Thanks to Galen’s narrative one gets to know how if differs from the Land of the Princes from which he comes from, but even for the characters to whom Voulhire has always been a home there are new things to learn. The mysteries unravel throughout the plot that is a balanced combination of action, witty conversations and a perfect dose of magic.
Voulhire is a kingdom with a medieval-like social structure but of course it’s not the exact reflection of a European feudal system. Thanks to the author’s imagination the reader gets to visit fabulous cities with their own traditions or even be transferred to a parallel universe. New terms are introduced every now and then but there is a very helpful guide at the end that makes it easier to fully grasp Voulhire.
The fantasy aspect of that novel is certainly present, but not overwhelming, so the fans of magical stories are not the only ones who might enjoy it. The new reality is truly captivating but the characters living in it are equally absorbing with their complex pasts and often unclear intensions. While the events unravel they have to find a way to adapt and face many unpredicted challenges.
The sense of mystery was what I most enjoyed about the book. Among its many advantages the novel was gradually introducing new facts to the already engaging plot, which left one with many questions and a hope that they will be answered in the next chapters. The eerie conviction that something ground-breaking was about to happen, made it hard to stop reading and I think that’s one of the most desired qualities in a book. The editing was also excellent and overall, there was nothing I didn’t like about the novel.
I give 4 out of 4 stars to We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies. It’s a well-written book that really engages the reader and makes one wait impatiently for the next part of the series. It’s perfect for anyone who is looking for a fine fantasy novel but it will also make a great choice for people who enjoy adventure stories or historical fiction. Occasional profanities and sexual references make it more fit for adult readers, but for those, the book offers a swift transfer to a new reality, which despite a few common elements with previously written works, truly is something else.
We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies
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