4 out of 4 stars
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We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies is the first installment in a series by Matthew Tysz. It is a mouth-watering, magic, and mystery filled introduction to what is sure to be a thrilling science fiction series. I don't know how the author did it, but he managed to leave us feeling satisfied while at the same time, having this urge to find solutions to the myriad of questions posed by this action-packed novel.
The king of Voulhire, our mystical country, out of fear and worry that his sons would one day turn on one another, and eventually try to overthrow him to become the king, sends each of them away to their island. He accompanied each son with lots of money and as much grandeur as was possible, all in a bid to pacify them and change their evil thoughts. But his plans failed woefully. Rather than live in peace and tranquility, an endless civil war broke out threatening to consume the entire kingdom. And this continued until Galen came into the picture.
As the introductory book in the series, Mr. Tysz had the tough challenge of creating a setting that befits the story he wishes to share. I didn't expect the job of creating a brand-new world, as done here, to be easy. But not only did the author get it right, he went ahead to fill it with vibrant, interesting characters. Characters with emotions, flaws, and feelings I could relate with. I found myself loving some and then with equal measure, hating others. This book I can also say was very well written, thanks to the outstanding illustrations and descriptions of the setting.
I like this book for several reasons. First, the issues raised here are genuine world problems. The people of Voulhire were torn by three items bothering our current world; faith, science, and magic. Although ours is politics and not magic. Each of these three as you might have imagined strive to outdo the other. We lack a common ground to thrive and hence find ourselves at odds with each other, choosing sides rather than working for the greater good thus shooting ourselves in the foot.
I found it interesting that the chapters were interchanging between the characters, with each one written in third-person (except the ones about Galen which were written in the first person). The characters were uniquely different and all enchanting in their way. As has been said in many quarters, the character development done here could only be compared to the masterpiece Mr. Martins created for the blockbuster, Ice and Fire. It is that good!
This story is filled with great themes such as conflict, power, betrayal, and love so many others that I feel are relevant to today's society. The author has woven an engaging and fast-paced tale that in my opinion, deserves a screen adaption.
However, I dislike the pace at which the story began. But I could understand this because as the first installment, it needed to disclose a lot of details that would make the sequels enjoyable. It was well written and edited as I didn't find any grammatical or spelling mistakes while reading. I, therefore, rate this book 4 out of 4 stars and would recommend it to all lovers of fantasy, strategy, and war novels.
We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies
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