4 out of 4 stars
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Galen Bray grew up knowing only two things: war and survival. Life in the Land of the Princes has been nothing short of a nightmare. Galen saw the beginning of the war as an eight-year-old boy - he's now twenty-eight, yet the war does not seem to be ending anytime soon. Luckily for him, his Great uncle upon learning of his existence, facilitates his migration from the war-torn Land of the Princes to the prosperous kingdom of Voulhire. Upon his arrival, he seems naive and overly grateful to Rowan, the man whom his uncle paid to get him out of the Land of the Princes. Nevertheless, there seems to be so much more to him than his naivety - especially as he seems to possess a mystically powered intuitive ability.
We are Voulhire: A New Arrival Under Great Skies by Matthew Tysz is a sci-fi/fantasy novel set in the fictional kingdom of Voulhire. It is the first instalment in the We are Voulhire series. The story is not fast-paced. Instead, it begins slowly, affording the reader ample time to settle in before the real action sets in. The story revolves around Galen Bray whose arrival in Voulhire is the crux of this entry into the We are Voulhire series. Following Galen's arrival in Voulhire, unprecedented events begin to happen - events which threaten his newly found peace. Initially, he seems to be far away from the action, but as the days go on, he is gradually being drawn into the centre of the hostilities.
I loved the pace and progression of this book. The author started with introductions by engaging the characters in conversations such as this one:
"I'm Galen..." I shook the man's hand.
“Galen?” he said. “Like a Galen of water?”
"Um... I guess so, yeah.”
Those conversations further developed the characters and made them relatable. The inclusion of the map of Voulhire in the book was ingenious. As a geography enthusiast, I was impressed and also able to visualize the places described in the book. The author also kept me guessing all through the book. Up until now, I still haven't known who is the grand villain even though I am fairly certain that Galen is the protagonist. I also loved the concept of Bio-imbusion and Bio-magic. It scares me a lot, but I'm not averse to reading about it in a book.
One thing I liked and at the same time, disliked about this book was the suspenseful manner in which it ended. It left me very high and dry so much that I'm itching to lay my hands on the next book in the We are Voulhire series. The catchy ending further points out Matthew Tysz's writing prowess. It was so descriptive to the extent that my stomach rumbled during the feast where "King Wilhelm watched them(the dancers) through the skeleton of the bull."
I thought it was a joke when the author said that this book "was written and revised with effort, with painstaking care, but most importantly with enthusiasm and love". I found the statement to be true. Indeed, this book is devoid of both errors and erotic content. However, I found one instance of vulgarity, of which I quickly realized that it was absolutely necessary to properly portray the concerned character.
Considering this book's excellence, I rate it 4 out of 4 stars. I didn't rate it lower because it ticks all the right boxes and possesses all the elements of a blockbuster. This is one book you don't want to miss out on if reading is one of your hobbies. Lovers of magic, science and fantasy will drool over this fantastic piece of creativity.
We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies
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