They’re Comin’

The reader reviews are coming in for The Moreva of Astoreth.

Of course, there aren’t many. Too soon–after all, the book was released on the 5th. And most of my ARC readers didn’t come through. I’d asked that they post on release day. Maybe they’ll come later. Now, though, I understand why it’s said that ideally, your team of ARC reviewers should be at least 30. And the more, the merrier. In my case, out of 15 ARCers, only 4 have posted as of today.

Overall, the reviews are good so far–the holy grail of 5 stars dominate. A couple of 4s. With my books, the 4s usually end up dominating. Not that a 4 star rating is a bad thing. It’s that if a reader actually leaves a real review–other than “I liked it,” or “I didn’t like it,”–the first sentence is usually “I didn’t like the Moreva at first, but later I was rooting for her,” or something similar. When I see those, I can’t help but smile. I think, “you weren’t supposed to like her.” At the story’s start, Moreva Tehi is a small-minded, bigoted bitch. As it progresses, she dramatically transforms into a completely different person. If I’d drawn her as a sweetheart at the beginning, there’d be no story. Or, if I’d made it into a story anyway, there would have been no impact. It would have been just a nice little romance. Like a Hallmark christmas movie.

I think I get the wide range of reviews for my stories because they aren’t what readers expect from the genre. The protagonist is someone with whom a reader cottons to immediately. They may be flawed, but they’re not irredeemable. Readers root for them in whatever situation they’re facing from the beginning. Mine are different. They are flawed, sometimes deeply so, and some readers just find them unlikeable. But then, my characters act and react against a backdrop that forces them to be what they are. In The Underground, Kurt, the all-powerful vampire, is an asshole. A cruel, vicious, arrogant asshole who wields his power against others for his own entertainment. Except that’s not true. It seems to be so, but that’s not why he does what he does. Humans will do anything to exterminate the paranormals in their midst. The paranormal races hate each other, and have no qualms about starting a war that would certainly grab the attention of humans, and, outnumbering paranormals by thousands to one, would gleefully to jump in and kill them all. Kurt does what he does to keep the paranormals in line, to keep them flying under the humans’ radar. But why must he be so cruel? Because these are paranormals we’re talking about. Injuries that would kill a human doesn’t even faze a paranormal. In The Underground, Parker, the werewolf, is stabbed by a human in a street fight. The knife has sunk into his flesh to the hilt. He barely feels it. Turning to the human who’d stabbed him, Parker promptly rips off his face. With a population like that, what else is Kurt supposed to do to keep them quiet? He must employ extreme measures. Parnormals may see him as their nemesis, but he’s actually their savior. That’s what readers don’t get, what they don’t see. And I don’t have a problem with that.

One reader commented that The Underground’s characters have no morals. I ran with it. The book’s tagline is “In a never-ending war with humans, there is no room for morals when survival is at stake.”

A reader review for The Moreva of Astoreth totally blasted me for the orgy rituals. So let me explain. The moreva is a priestess. Her religion calls for her to lead the orgy as a holy rite. Except she doesn’t want to, because she hates the people who participate in the rite. But her religion compels to do it. Rape, right? Out and out rape. Even if it is, see it from her point of view instead of your own. This is her religion, worshipping her Goddess. The Goddess’s tenets, Her teachings–this is what the moreva believes, down to her core. It defines her. Refusing to perform the ritual would violate not just her Goddess’s tenets, but who she is, all that she stands for–her very being. Not doing it could cause a real psychological crisis. And then if her religion forces her to submit to rape, what would a person in our world have to say about that religion? I’m pretty sure we all know. But what about the religions in our world that forces a wife to submit to her husband whenever he wants sexual pleasure, even when she’s unwilling? Isn’t that rape? What about a religion that says it’s perfectly okay for an adult male to marry a 12-year-old girl? Can it be said that she willingly consented to the marriage and all it entails? Did she have any say about it, or was she compelled to by her religion? So, you tell me–is the Moreva’s religion really any worse than those?

Don’t think I’m complaining. I’m not upset that readers don’t “get” my books. As an author, my primary goal is to entertain. If a reader is entertained whether they get the “message” or not, I’m happy. And when they do, that’s even better. If a reader hates the book because they can’t get past their own views, that’s fine, too.

My books aren’t for everyone. But then, they weren’t meant to be.


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