Book Review: The Moreva of Astoreth by Roxanne Bland

moa-cover-lighter-1Title: The Moreva of Astoreth
Author: Roxanne Bland
Genre: Science Fiction
Age Group: Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

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 priestess, scientist, and healer Moreva Tehi, the spoiled, headstrong granddaughter of a powerful goddess who is temporarily exiled from Temple life in her beloved desert home to a volatile far northern 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.

The Moreva of Astoreth is an interesting blend of fantasy and science fiction. For me, the only downside to the book would be the cover. I just don’t connect with it. I know a lot of fantasy authors like these kind of 3D renderings of characters – and granted, finding stock images or something for a character looking like Moreva, is impossible, but still. I would’ve preferred an illustration above the current graphic on the cover.

That aside, they say don’t judge a book by its cover, and the contents of this book are pretty solid. The story goes like this: Moreva Tehi is the granddaughter of a powerful goddess. Because she refuses to do as the goddess says, she’s temporarily banished, and send to the far northern corner of the planet as punishment. There, she learns more about herself than she ever thought possible, tries to find a cure for the Red Fever tormenting her planet, and even falls in love.

A lot of things happen in the course of the book, but I don’t want to spoil them, so I kept the synopsis brief. Moreva is a strong character. At the beginning, she was quite annoying, and it felt like she was being rebellious just for the sake of it. But, as with all interesting characters, she changed and grew a lot throughout the book, and I started liking her more and more.

The author did a phenomenal job crafting worthy secondary characters too. Often, authors pour all their energy into crafting a well-rounded, three-dimensional main chareacter and then end up having boring, bland secondary characters. Here, the author obviously put a lot of effort into every single character, with strengths, weaknesses, and their very own personalities.

The world building was impressive too, especially since so much happens – and it all makes sense. Not once does the book venture into territory of the impossible – of course it’s fantasy so things that happen are impossible in real life, but I mean that it’s never impossible for the rules of this world.

It’s a truly impressive book. I would give it a 4 star rating, if not for the cover and for how the writing could be a little tighter in some places (for example, sometimes we do get a rather lengthy exposition of daily tasks that could be left out or shortened). But seriously, I really enjoyed this, and I think it would be a great read for every mature science fiction / fantasy fan.

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