4 out of 4 stars
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After finishing We Are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies by Matthew Tysz, I am excited to desire more. This book is exactly what the author has described it to be, an introduction.
I give it 4 out of 4 stars. This is the first time in quite a while where I have found both editing and content to be of equal merit. Matthew Tysz has a talent for combining both vivid imagery with complex characters.
The story begins with Galen, a young adult who is given a chance at a better life through an unexpected inheritance. He is a wide-eyed, innocent youth who is curious about this new land he has arrived at. We know little of his prior life in the war-torn land of the princes. He is introduced quickly to his late great uncle’s executor of estate, Rowan, an exuberant and impulsive youth of similar years. Rowan states he will help Galen as he learns the blacksmithing trade and the forge, in order to fulfill his uncle’s legacy.
Meanwhile, in this land of Voulhire we learn of other’s stories and origins. We learn of magic and of another world parallel to this one that is the source of this magic. Meldorath is a name introduced to us under foreboding circumstances, yet we are not quite given enough detail to determine whether he is in fact, a villain. There are men who have committed grievous crimes, yet possess a sense of moral integrity. Not everything is as it seems in this world, which is another way of drawing the reader in, wishing to know more.
Towns differ in this world sometimes greatly due to wealth and power and we are only given a taste of differences. There is a king who has undisclosed motives and various lords of power with similar attributes. Each chapter begins another story but the reader will be disappointed if they believe they will gain conclusions in this first book. It is a six-part series after all. The reader will have to continue if further answers are to be found.
As fantasy’s go, this realm is unique and by no means mundane in predictable events. My only complaint would be the language used. Not curse words themselves, although readers with sensitive ears might wish to note it does contain profanity sprinkled regularly throughout the book. Rather, the cultural, linguistic slang used is what I question. It seems rather modern, or perhaps just a bit too specific to current pop culture. Voulhire is full of quaint towns and horse-drawn vehicles, and the occasional steam-powered machine, so the audience is given multiple hints as to a general sense of era. I just find it a bit contradictory when the progress of society is clearly limited to gas lamps and steam engines, yet use terms like “metrosexual” in their dialogue. It’s like having a Tony Soprano rendition of Pride and Prejudice. Awkward, to say the least. This of course is a matter of personal opinion. It is, after all, the author’s world. I just think it wouldn’t feel so mismatched if the society were either more technologically advanced, or the language more attuned to a specific era.
That said, this is an excellent beginning for an adventure. Readers are given multiple scenarios in which to anticipate action and form questions. Multiple characters are introduced that are multifaceted and leave us yearning for more. This book is the perfect introduction to a new dimension of fantasy and magic, of heros and villains, and of unassuming, ordinary people whose curiosity might very well parallel their own. I look forward to continuing on the Voulhirian journey into the land, cosmos and beyond.
We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies
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