4 out of 4 stars
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We are Voulhire: A New Arrival Under Great Skies is a science-fiction novel that introduces us to "the magnificent and terrifying kingdom of Voulhire." The juxtaposing characters, some with supernatural powers, others who make deal with their skills as humans, transport the reader through a gateway between the physical world and the magical one. Among the mages' abilities is the control of a person's vital functions and mind. If you are a fan of fantasy, you are most likely to get hooked by this first installment of the We are Voulhire series.
In the first few pages, a map guides us through the entire Voulhire realm, giving us the chance to visualize the geographical position of the cities, rivers, and mountains, whilst the story unfolds. This fascinating book is divided into sections where the author, Matthew Tysz, cautiously and strategically, opens the door to the nation's habits, the characters' identities, and the intriguing plot. He casts a stronger light on some of the major figures in the novel, around which the action revolves.
The protagonist is a young man, Galen Bray, originally from the Lands of the Princes, a place that has known nothing but war. He sets out on a journey to Voulhire, to the little town of Magnum Caelum, with the intent to claim the inheritance his uncle, Galen Onita, has left him - the house and the business. Once he reaches his destination, he meets Rowan, his uncle's executor, who helps him settle in and take over the Onita Steel forge. Along the way, the two become friends, and progressively, Galen begins to feel right at home. However, he is still struggling to cope with the unfamiliar environment. The new land has a monarchical system of governance and is ruled by King Wilhelm, who is dealing with the corrupt Mianoran Council. This chamber governs the Mianoran Knights, one of the most powerful legions of soldiers in the land. Midius Maido, the First Knight of Voulhire, and King Wilhelm seem to have a conflict of interest and express contempt towards one another. And the puzzling story begins...
Tysz has done an impressive job with this complex and original plot. It has been difficult for me to predict further action and this has resulted in me being on the edge of my seat for the entirety of the story. I was delighted with how he took me, with every section, to different places, slowly unveiling the mysterious characters. Each new personage that was introduced surprisingly altered the narrative design. My thoughts were involuntarily wandering to how they will spice up the theme and to what the author is trying to bring out. I was able to relate parts of the novel to some of the current things that we face in society like the constant fight for power. The pages of the novel are jam-packed with suspense, and I would gladly recommend it to fans of the sci-fi genre and those who enjoy similar readings to Game of Thrones, but with no explicit sexual content. There are some expletives used in the book, so religious folks may not find these parts pleasing. However, generally, the book is a well-mannered piece.
If I were to raise a minor criticism, it would be related to the structuring of the sentences. In these kinds of stories, I have found the description of characters, places, customs, etc., to be very detailed and blooming. In Tysz's work, phrases are fairly simple and short. However, sometimes they don't flow particularly well. I expected the paragraphs to be a bit more elaborated. But this is more of a personal taste, as I believe the book might be enjoyable for a young adult audience. Also, because this novel seems to be only the introduction to what the author predicts to be a sequence of ten novels, I would recommend it to those interested in the series.
In my reading, I encountered a few grammatical errors which did not deter me from proceeding. The storyline is engaging, and you can easily create an image of the event being described. The errors encountered did not manage to drop a single star, so I am giving We are Voulhire: A New Arrival Under Great Skies 4 out of 4 stars.
We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies
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