The Moreva of Astoreth By Roxanne Bland

Review By Don Sloan


Moreva is a fascinating fantasy/sci-fi novel about a young girl of mixed race — morev and hakoi — who must learn to deal with her conflicting emotions about her heritage while exiled to a faraway outpost. It is, as the book’s description claims, classic world-building, truly in the tradition of some of the greatest authors in the genre.

Morva Tehi is sent to Astoreth-69 in the Syren Perritory to become a minor goddess, doling out ritualistic canings to the bare backs of the men who attend her fetishistic worship services. Once an arhu (one month), however, she must endure a bizarre sexual ritual administered by the troops — men and women — and she must work hard to find an acceptable equanimity about the practice. After all, that’s part of the assignment.

In the meantime, she works as a healer, and as a researcher, trying to find a cure for the dreaded red fever. She’s assisted by her only friend on the planet, another healer named Hyme and, in a begrudging way, Laerd Teger, Chief of Mjor. But it’s a funny thing about Teger. Though he’s gruff with her, she feels — well, an unmistakable attraction to him.

“It was his eyes that intrigued me most. All the hakoi I’d ever known had brown eyes. His eyes were blue, like the stars, and just as cold.”

The rules-aversive Tehi survives an attack by a vicious, rutting ura during an unauthorized hunt outside the village for herbs, and becomes a local celebrity after engineering the dramatic rescue of twenty trapped thalin miners. It’s a welcome change from her previous status as the town pariah.

Then, the story turns unexpectedly — and pleasantly — romantic. Tehi dithers over what to wear to a late night tryst with Laerd Tager.

“I thought about wearing a uniform, but those clothes didn’t belong to me, and I didn’t want any reminders of the temple. ‘I’ll just have to go naked,’ she muttered.”

Unfortunately for Moreva Tehi, events begin taking a darker turn, but, with the help of the Laerd, she battles through, taking the reader on a non-stop rollercoaster of emotions. Do Tehi and Tager, now hopelessly in love, get to stay together when the Moreva’s tour ends? Is she the winner in the headlong race to find a cure for red fever?

This well-written, superbly edited piece of fiction — and its carefully rendered characters — will remain with you long after you’ve finished it.

Five stars for Moreva, a fine work of spell-binding science fiction. The author’s earlier novel, The Underground, deserves a read as well. Check it out here:

Amazon Link

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About Don Sloan

I am a former journalist with a major daily newspaper and now am a full-time Indie book reviewer. I love to write, read, drink good wine, and take short naps in front of my fireplace here in the North Carolina mountains.
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