The Moreva of Astoreth by Roxanne Bland, 454 pages, Blackrose Press 1st Edition, November 3rd 2015, Genre: Science Fiction/Romance. Warning: May Contain Spoilers.
Review by Leigh Holland.
I have a confession to make. I don’t believe in most ancient alien theories, the works of Zechariah Sitchin, or most of the theories proposed in “Chariots of the Gods”. However, I love the idea behind all of it. I’m a fan of Stargate. What if the gods of old, such as the Anunnaki, really did come from the heavens, literally? What if they weren’t gods at all but advanced aliens? What if they did breeding experiments on primates to create humans? What if they taught humans farming, warfare, pottery, and smithing? In short, what if mythology was fact?
Roxanne Bland shows us the world of the Anunnaki gods, their descendants, and the humanoid hakoi of other planets they claim to have created. The gods are about power and control, using their part-hakoi, part-Anunnaki children and grandchildren to keep the hakoi satisfied using religious rites. These descendants are the Morev, a priestly class. Astoreth is the goddess of love. Her favorite Moreva and grandchild, Tehi, misses services. Astoreth punishes her by assigning her to a post as Moreva on a “backwater” hakoi village called Mjor. Tehi does as she’s told, but sneaks her lab equipment along so she can continue working on the cure for the hakoi disease, red fever. While on Mjor as Moreva, she befriends Hyme, the local hakoi healer, and is irritated by the village’s leader or “Laerd”, Teger. As time passes, she learns to respect the hakoi, falls in love, and narrowly dodges trouble at several turns. The only element that I didn’t care for was the repetition of her daily meals, scheduled services, etc. to the degree they were repeated. Overall, I enjoyed reading this book.
My favorite characters were Tehi and Teger. Tehi starts off with flaws, but overcomes them as the story unfolds. She is dedicated to healing the sick and willing to risk her neck for others. As a priestess of the goddess of love, she explores the meaning and nature of love at different points in the story. Teger is direct and determined. Once he makes up his mind about something, there is no dissuading him. He’s supportive of Tehi but isn’t afraid to challenge her when he thinks she is wrong. He teaches her about identity, love, and self-love.
This book is a romance taking place within an interesting science fiction milieu. If you enjoy both romance and science fiction, you’ll love this novel.
You can find it at The Moreva of Astoreth .
In the world-building tradition of Andre Norton, Anne McCaffrey and Ursula K. LeGuin, The Moreva of Astoreth is a blend of science fiction, romance, and adventure in a unique, richly imagined imperialistic society in which gods and science are indelibly intertwined. It is the story of the priestess, scientist, and healer Moreva Tehi, the spoiled, headstrong granddaughter of a powerful deity who is banished for a year to a volatile far corner of the planet for neglecting to perform her sacred duty, only to venture into dangerous realms of banned experimentation, spiritual rebirth, and fervent, forbidden love.
About the Author:
I’ve been a fugitive from reality since forever. As a child, I constantly made up stories–some would call them lies–about my family, friends, neighbors and even strangers on the street. I had friends that only I could see. Oh, the adventures we had!
Learning to read was a revelation. Words fascinated me. Whole new worlds opened up, and since my parents forbade nothing, I read everything. Some of it I didn’t quite understand, but I didn’t mind. I read it anyway. I even read the dictionary. When I was a little older, I was big on mysteries. Agatha Christie and P.D. James were my favorites. Then I discovered horror. Whenever a new book came out by Stephen King, Peter Straub or Dean Koontz, I was first in line. I was reading a little science fiction at this time–Robert Heinlein, Ray Bradbury, and authors like them–but I really didn’t get into it until I was in college. The same with fantasy. I really got into high fantasy, like Lord of the Rings.
From childhood on, I was making up stories, but not writing them down. They were private. Besides, I thought my family and friends would tell me I was wasting my time, that I should be concentrating on my musical studies, and later, my college studies. In fact, the only story I recall writing was one that won a contest when I was in elementary school. That was my first clue, but it sailed right over my head.
So anyway, life goes on. I went to law school. After I graduated and entered the workforce, I finally started writing down my stories. I wrote a bit here and there, short stories that never saw the light of day (which was probably a good thing). Then I fell ill. I had the flu for a month. Bored out of my skull, I started writing a piece of fan fiction, though I didn’t know that’s what it was at the time. I showed it to a friend of mine who suggested I finish the story.
Well, that piece of fan fiction fell by the wayside, but in its place came a manuscript that would eventually become my first book, The Underground. I loved writing it, and it was then that I discovered my true avocation (maybe one day, my vocation). Slipping into that alternate reality for hours on end, there was a time in my life when it was called daydreaming and I got into trouble for it. Now it’s legitimate. And that’s the best part of all.