4 out of 4 stars
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We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies by Matthew Tysz is an epic fantasy novel. It is the first book in the We are Voulhire series. It mentions two different worlds, the Cosmos or the physical world, and the Caromentis or the magical world. Voulhire is part of the Cosmos and is ruled by King Wilhelm. For the past five years, Voulhire has been prospering in a way that seems too good to be true. With so many power-hungry eyes on the throne, how long will this good fortune last?
The novel begins with Galen Bray’s voyage to Voulhire after he unexpectedly inherits his great uncle’s forge. Voulhire is vastly different from what Galen is accustomed to. It is through his eyes that the reader first witnesses the beauty of Voulhire. But even in a place like Voulhire, danger lurks around every corner. Hillport, a small town on the coast of Voulhire, experiences many peculiar things. Who is Lord Meldorath? Did he save the people of Hillport? Or did he secretly wreak havoc on them? King Wilhelm prioritizes peace among the citizens above all else. So when he declares Meldorath to be dead, should they believe him?
Galen starts learning the forge with the help of Rowan, his uncle's executor. Rowan takes it upon himself to be Galen’s guide in Voulhire and makes sure that others don’t take advantage of his magnanimity. Along the way, they meet Demetrius, a monk who might be able to make sense of some of the mysteries. Elsewhere, an alien being is entering the cosmos.
The author’s use of imagery is admirable. It transports you to a different world. The story truly brings the characters alive. Complex characters are incorporated with apparent ease. Before the story unfolds, the author has provided a map of the imaginary kingdom of Voulhire, which gives you a clear idea of all the places in the kingdom. He also focuses on building the backstory of each character but leaves enough untouched to remain mysterious.
However, the chapters are not numbered, and a contents page is not present. Though it makes the title of each chapter catch you by surprise, it also makes it harder to find your place. Galen is depicted as someone who is always kind and generous. He is quite willing to trust anyone. While it's understandable that he is grateful to be in Voulhire as opposed to his own war-torn nation, it appears unrealistic, considering the circumstances he comes from. Such a perfect protagonist might put off some readers.
The novel is smartly written and an absolute page-turner. It is professionally edited and has no grammatical errors. It gets a solid 4 out of 4 stars rating. As the first book of the series, it unsurprisingly ends with an enthralling cliffhanger that will certainly make you pick up the next book. The author has also provided a reference guide at the end of the novel, which makes it easy to understand. I'd recommend it for anyone who enjoys sci-fi cum fantasy series with magic, mages, and time travel. It contains profane language and might be ill-suited for children.
We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies
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