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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
The Moreva of Astoreth is the first book in The Peris Archives by Roxanne Bland. Priestess Moreva Tehi earns the displeasure of her Devi grandmother, the Goddess of Love. Tehi is a blasphemer for not celebrating Ohra-Namtar, the holiest rite of the Gods that their religion observes. And why would she? The celebration requires sharing her body with others, and she refuses to submit to a race that she abhors. As a scientist, she would rather spend her time finding a cure for the red fever to save her people. As her transgressions have piled up, her grandmother labels her a bigot, and she is exiled to the Syren Territory, a cold and dark place with dense woods full of wild animals. But she takes the opportunity to work on her medical research. Taking on the duties of a liaison officer between a landing beacon and a Mjor village, she meets Laerd Teger, the village chief who will test her sacred vows and make her reassess her views on love.
The Moreva of Astoreth is a science fiction tale that is worthy of your time. While it does contain occasional explicit language and tackles racy orgiastic rituals, they are thrown in as necessary elements to give a rock-solid illustration of Tehi’s hardships and how she chooses to react. Though it may be classified as high science fiction, Roxanne Bland gives food for thought and delivers important messages in terms of gender roles and empowerment. You feel that Bland is directly telling you to think for yourself and make use of the skills and talents that are given to you. Bland may well be the Alice Walker of science fiction. When you read this novel, expect it to cause a stir in your emotions as you get to know the protagonist and what she wants to stand for. Powerful and unapologetic, this highly recommended novel is a blast.