The Moreva of Astoreth
By: Roxanne Bland
By: Roxanne Bland
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.
ReviewThe Moreva of Astoreth by Roxanne Bland
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
*** Gifted in exchange for an honest review ***
I give this story 2.5 stars, there is a good storyline in this book, it just needs a better editing team to get rid of the repetitive monotone and highlight to the author where she needs to input more information where it is required.
I quite like sci fi, I was contacted via my blog, no cover or links to the book sent, and as you will see from the blurb not much is given in the way of information, other than to compare it to known published sci-fi authors, I have read Anne McCaffrey when I was younger, so that is why I agreed to read this book.
IF I had been sent a cover, I would have probably said no up front, as I DO JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER... now some will say the cover is good (sorry no offence to those who do, but I don't) it looks like someone spent a while in a computer game rendering this cover - but it looks horrible ( in my opinion at least).
but I guess it does give you an idea of what this story is about - a blue-faced, red-clad, white-haired, face-painted (she has a mask that does it daily!) alien figure on the cover of The Moreva of Astoreth shows how most of the story is spent on boring scientific geekiness that bored me to sleep. I had to keep going back to this book, I was going to give up, but when the Moreva begins to spend more time with the healer Hyme and Teger the Laird of the village, it gave me the push to see where the author was taking this. I liked the two male characters much more than the spoilt whinging Te
But I am afraid that although I enjoyed the basic storyline, as I said just now there are lots that need to be cut and then stuff that needed more explanation/back story such as the very weird rituals and practices with no backstory to explain why this was so.
Also to base the story on known languages then to add words, seems irrelevant to me, why not just make up a whole language - OR NOT, ok weird worlds and character names I can get, BUT why did we need different times, volumes, weight and distance???????
Also - this is shelved on amazon as a romance and there are no warnings about the heavily sexual rituals that the character has to deliver. So be aware that this story has some scenes that involve rape.
with the writing/language used in the book, if you are going to write about a different world with different languages and meanings, you need to think as a reader and give a glossary for a reader to access - preferably at the beginning of a book where its easily seen. Although the Author adds a note about the time, distance and volumes, I can't understand why she did not consider to explain other crucial things such as the gods and goddesses and their laws/rituals, which although are sometimes explained in the book in the narration, the book did not hold my attention nor did any of these facts sink in - other than that the goddess has a kinky side and expects her granddaughter to be the vessel for group orgies ( I could not get over this, and it was basically a rape scene as Tehi, the main character, even though she is a Moreva, she feels violated every time.
The story is told in Moreva’s POV and I would groan as I turned another page to find her daily routine mentioned yet again. The cycle contained, getting dressed, breakfast, working in the lab with Hyme, of which sometimes it was interesting when the characters were discussing emotions or differences in cultures, but potions and the routine of an experiment was just too much for me and I would switch off yet again.
her whole day would be spelt out, from beginning to end with the reader is told rather than being able to feel the character.
And I mean every step from waking then getting ready with the makeup tattoos from programmed masks that sprayed waterproof makeup in different designs to each skimpy outfit and whip, kinky heals etc ???? Each meal and service given to the soldiers that mann the tower.
This made the book harder to read until about half way through. I did not like the love interest created between the Laird and Tehi, it was too predictable, he hated her kind but felt explicitly drawn to her it was a typical plot romance trope.
The use of an unknown language that the reader is not given an explanation for was another gripe.
I did like the way the author wrote how the attitude of the Hakoi villagers to Tehi was hostile and and how both eventually overcame their preconceived ideas. Where the story started to grab my attention was when she went against everything she was drilled to believe in to help the villagers and that was when their attitude changed towards her too, as this is where a character/situation is relatable.
The Moreva Tehi character hates that she is a hybrid of the Devi, Morev and Hakoi, and this Hakoi side is the part she hates, she has been bullied and seen lesser because of this and having to service the Hakoi soldiers in the orgy rituals, she finds abhorrent. I couldn't understand how the character had been able to do these rituals constantly with such revulsion, then after getting to know the villagers could get over this just like that.
The other issue I had was the convenience of the ending and a miraculous lab creation to solve her problem.
It seems so readers loved this book just as it was, but not for me, you may think different, and you can try the sample and see for yourself.
View all my reviews
Link to Follow Tour: http://worldwindtours.com/index.php/2016/08/04/tour-sign-up-the-moreva-of-astoreth/
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--English cozy mysteries, that is, Agatha Christie, were my favorites. Then I graduated to 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 and authors like him--but I really didn't get into it until I was in college. The same with fantasy. I really got into high fantasy--Lord of the Rings style--in college.
During this time I was still making up stories, but not writing them down. They were private. Besides, I thought my family and friends would laugh at me. In fact, the only story I recall writing was one that won a contest when I was in elementary school.
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 absolutely adored writing it. I absolutely adore writing, period. 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.
“I could have you executed for this, Moreva Tehi,” Astoreth said. My Devi grandmother, the Goddess of Love, scowled at me from Her golden throne in the massive Great Hall of Her equally massive Temple.
Sitting on my heels, I bowed my head and stared at the black and gold polished floor, trying to ignore the trickle of sweat snaking its way down my spine. “Yes, Most Holy One.”
“You blaspheme by not celebrating Ohra, My holiest of rites. And this one was important—the worthiest of the hakoi, handpicked by Me, celebrated with us. ”
“I can only offer my most abject apologies, Most Holy One.”
“Your apologies are not accepted.”
“Yes, Most Holy One.”
“Where were you?”
“I was in the laboratory, working on a cure for red fever. Many hakoi died last winter—”
“I know that,” my grandmother snapped. “But why did you miss Ohra? Did you not hear the bells?”
“Yes, Most Holy One. I heard them. I was about to lay aside my work when I noticed an anomaly in one of my pareon solutions. It was odd, so I decided to investigate. What I found…I just lost track of time.”
“You lost track of time?” Astoreth repeated, sounding incredulous. “Do you expect Me to believe that?”
“Yes, Most Holy One. It is the truth.”
A moment later, my head and hearts started to throb. I knew why. My grandmother was probing me for signs I had lied. But She wouldn’t find any. There was no point in lying to Astoreth, and it was dangerous, too. Swaying under the onslaught from Her power, I endured the pain without making a sound. After what seemed like forever the throbbing subsided, leaving me feeling sick and dizzy.
“Very well,” She said. “I accept what you say is true, but I still do not accept your apology.”
“Yes, Most Holy One.” I tried not to pant.
A minute passed in uncomfortable silence. Uncomfortable for me, anyway. Another minute passed. And another. Just when I thought maybe She was finished with me, Astoreth spoke. “What do you have against the hakoi, Moreva?”
The change of subject confused me. “What do you mean, Most Holy One?”
“I’ve watched you, Moreva. You give them no respect. You heal them because you must, but you treat them little better than animals. Why is that?”
The trickle of sweat reached the small of my back and pooled there. “But my work—”
“Your work is a game between you and the red fever. It has nothing to do with My hakoi.”
I didn’t answer right away. In truth, I despised Her hakoi. They were docile enough—the Devi’s breeding program saw to that—but most were slow-witted, not unlike the pirsu the Temple raised for meat and hide. They stank of makira, the pungent cabbage that was their dietary staple. From what I’d seen traveling through Kherah to Astoreth’s and other Gods’ Temples, all the hakoi were stupid and smelly, and I wanted nothing to do with them.
I did not want my grandmother to know what was in my hearts, so I chose my words carefully. “Most Holy One, I treat Your hakoi the way I do because it is the hierarchy of life as the Devi created it. You taught us the Great Pantheon of twelve Devi is Supreme. The lesser Devi are beneath You, the morevs are beneath the lesser gods, and Your hakoi are beneath the morevs. Beneath the hakoi are the plants and animals of Peris. But sometimes Your hakoi forget their place and must be reminded.” I held my breath, praying she wouldn’t probe me again.
Astoreth didn’t answer at first. “A pretty explanation, Moreva. But My hakoi know their place. It is you who do not know yours. You may be more Devi than morev but you are still morev, born of hakoi blood. You are not too good to minister to the hakoi’s needs, and you are certainly not too good to celebrate Ohra with them.”
I swallowed. “Yes, Most Holy One.”
“Look at me, Moreva.”
I raised my head. My grandmother’s expression was fierce.
“And that is why you let the time get away from you, as you say. You, Moreva Tehi, an acolyte of Love, are a bigot. That is why you did not want to share your body with My hakoi.” She leaned forward. “I have overlooked many of your transgressions while in My service, but I cannot overlook your bigotry or your missing Ohra. I will not execute you because you are too dear to My heart. The stewardship for Astoreth-
69 in the Syren Perritory ends this marun on eighth day. You will take the next rotation.”
My hearts froze. This was my punishment? Getting exiled to Syren? From what I’d heard from morevs serving in Astoreth’s other Temples, the Syren Perritory in Peris’s far northern hemisphere was the worst place in the world to steward a landing beacon. Cold and dark, with dense woods full of wild animals, the Syren was no place for me. My place was Kherah, a sunny desert south of the planet’s equator, where the fauna were kept in special habitats for learning and entertainment. As for the Syrenese, they were the product of one of the Devi’s earliest and failed experimental breeding programs, and were as untamed as the perritory in which they lived.
But I knew better than to protest. Astoreth’s word was law, and it had just come down on my head. “Yes, Most Holy One,” I said, my voice meek.
“Mehmed will come to your rooms after lunch tomorrow so you can be fitted for your uniform.”
“My uniform, Most Holy One? I will not be taking my clothes?”
“No. As overseer of the landing beacon, you are the liaison between the Mjor village as well as the commander of the garrison. Your subordinate, Kepten Yose, will report to you once a marun, and you are to relay the garrison’s needs to Laerd Teger, the Mjoran village chief.”
“Yes, Most Holy One.”
“I will make allowance for your healer’s kit and a portable laboratory, but you are not to take your work on red fever. I am sure you have other projects you can work on while you are there.”
“No, Moreva. It is too dangerous.”
“I can take precautions—”
“No. That is My final word.” Astoreth leaned back in Her chair. Her eyes narrowed. “One more thing. You will be the only morev in Mjor, but that will not prevent you from observing Ohra. And you will do so with the garrison stationed there. Go now.”
I stood on shaky legs, bowed, and backed out of the Great Hall. Once in the corridor, I turned and fled to my quarters. I threw myself on the bed and sobbed. It was bad enough to be exiled to the Syren Perritory, but Ohra with the garrison? Only the hakoi served in Astoreth’s military. I felt dirty already. And not allowing me to work on my red fever project was punishment in itself.
A few minutes later I felt a hand on my shoulder. “Tehi, what’s wrong?” a worried voice said. It was Moreva Jaleta, one of my friendlier morev sisters.
“I-I’m being sent to the Syren Perritory to steward Astoreth-69,” I wailed.
Jaleta sat on the bed. “But why?”
I sat up. “I missed the last Ohra and n-now Astoreth is punishing me.”
Jaleta gave me an unsympathetic look. “You’re lucky she didn’t have your head. Be thankful you’re Her favorite.”
I sniffed but said nothing.
Jaleta patted me on the shoulder. “It won’t be so bad, Tehi. The year will be over before you know it. Come on, it’s time to eat.”