4 out of 4 stars
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We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies by Matthew Tysz falls under the fantasy science-fiction category of novels. Galen Bray flees the Land of the Princes, where you die by the sword or of starvation, to the Voulhirian kingdom where his dying long-lost great uncle resides. He arrives at the small town of Magnum Caelum on the southern coast of the country of Voulhire. Unfortunately, he arrives too late to see his uncle who left his property, business and life-savings to him. The Voulhirian kingdom is rule by a fair and honest king Wilhelm; his predecessors have ensured the kingdom's success and prosperity, and have established it as the envy of the surrounding far less prosperous kingdoms such as the Riva Rohavi. The king is unsure how long is reign will last before the power hunger council leader, Chancellor Midius Maido, interferes with or sabotages it. Former Mage General Meldorath escapes from his prison in Hillport. He was imprisoned for practicing illegal dark magic on humans. His liberation will be the demise of the kingdom of Voulhire and its king. We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies is the first book of nine in the We Are Voulhire series.
Mathew Tysz has mastered the skill of character development, and all of his characters are memorable, and each personality plays a transformative role in the course of the story. The main character, Galen Bray, is a young man humbled by his poverty-ridden upbringing. His journey of finding himself, learning to adapt to a new environment and different types of people is very relatable. Besides this journey, he also has to face the task of learning the trade of smithing. Growing up in the Land of the Princes has, to certain extent, stunted his ability to read situations, people and their motives. Being surrounded by people with a different upbringing and moral standing to that of your own may cause one to doubt themselves but Galen has no such doubt. Having survived the Land of the Princes, his perspective on life has changed since arriving in Voulhire and may continue to change when he learns of its dark and unnerving history. I strongly believe that Galen Gray will play a very influential role in the next books in this series.
The secondary and supporting characters are even more fascinating, and they fully absorb you into the story, though, they are the least likable and relatable, but they keep the story interesting and invigorating. General Meldorath is probably the most dynamic of these characters, the mere thought of his escape and liberation triggers an extreme flight response in the people of Voulhire and leaves them in a sweating, frightened frenzy. Meldorath is a mysterious mage and has extra-ordinary power and extensive knowledge about magic and its multi-faceted aspects. He is definitely the villain of this story, and his very existence raises the stakes for Voulhirian kingdom. He is introduced to us little-by-little, which I think adds to his mystery and intrigues the audience. Rowan is a supporting character and is very close to the protagonist, Galen. I love the blossoming relationship between them, and I appreciate how it was represented. Though, I feel like Rowan is hiding something from Galen, or at the very least he is not telling him the whole story. But I think his motives will be clearly in the next installment.
What I liked the most about the book is the set and Tysz's magnificent ability to imagine, construct and assemble a fiction world. This world is well established in its political standing, culture, science and technology, spirituality, religion, unfathomably deep history and parallel co-existence with the magical world of Caromentis. The author is obviously gifted with a vivid imagination, which is evident in the physical representation, in the form of a map, he provided for the reader to better understand the kingdom of Voulhire. All of these combined can grip, engage and intrigue any audience. Another aspect of the book I enjoyed was the author's word choice and writing style, which all tied-in well with the feel, characters and set of the book. What I liked the least was time it takes the author to develop the story, but the pace is not unbearably slow. The book is written from multiple POVs, which can be a little confusing for some readers.
I rate We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies by Matthew Tysz a four out of four because I found no errors, and overall the is well edited and the writing style is exceptional. I recommend it to fans of science-fiction series. The book is a great introductory novel for the series, and I believe the author executed it well. The author had young adults in mind while he wrote the novel, but it would be appealing to adults as well.
We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies
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