4 out of 4 stars
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We Are Voulhire: A New Arrival Under Great Skies is the first installment in a nine-part series written by Matthew Tysz. By his admission, Tysz wrote this book as a backdrop for the books that follow. With a mix of magic, power, and intrigue, his first book has the makings of a great fantasy epic.
We Are Voulhire centers around three main characters: Galen Bray, King Wilhelm, and Lord Meldorath. Galen, a refugee from the war-torn Land of the Princes, views Voulhire as a country of greatness and opportunity where anything is possible. Little does he know, behind the scenes lurks a power struggle between the King and his former confidant, Lord Meldorath. Throw in the Voulhire’s Mianoran Council, created to prevent civil war, and the anti-government group Riva Rohavi, and you can captivate an audience.
I’m a fan of fantasy epics, but more than that, I appreciate good writing. Matthew Tysz fluidly moves from Galen’s first-person perspective to the third-person views of his other characters. His descriptions of place are succinct yet revealing. He quickly develops the characters’ personalities allowing the reader to question their motives from the beginning. Tysz’s ability to develop so many characters in such a short time is akin to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.
We Are Voulhire is an ambitious tale to put on paper, and Tysz is off to a tremendous start. The way he so seamlessly moves among places and characters makes me think he must have had some inspiration. Maybe Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time or Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen? I am not suggesting that he copied these books in any way; We Are Voulhire truly stands alone. But I would not be surprised to learn that one or both of these series are among the author's favorites.
Overall, I give We Are Voulhire: A New Arrival Under Great Skies by Matthew Tysz 4 out of 4 stars. Fans of fantasy will enjoy it, but it may also pique the interest of readers who want something different and well-written. Despite a few editorial errors, this book appears professionally edited. The only thing I disliked is the short amount of time it took Galen and Rowan to travel between towns on horseback. It seems their travels should have taken longer based on earlier references to the size of Voulhire. I am eager to read part two in the series: The Fires of Virko!
We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies
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