Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Consumer Critique: The Goddess Denied

Disclosure: I received complimentary products to facilitate this post. All opinions are my own. 

What if Rome never fell and science and magic coexisted? Since the ancient Greeks, one of the most provocative and oft-discussed questions in philosophy has been whether we have free-will in determining the course of our actions, or whether our actions are determined by forces beyond our control.
These historical concepts are the backdrop in The Saga of Edda-Earth Series, which explores the battle between determinism and free-will. Author Deborah Davitt collides history, philosophy, romance, and combat in The Goddess Denied, the second book in the long, epic fantasy series. Ten years have passed, and mysteries deepen as a cursed valkyrie searches for the source of her condition, a young woman goes missing, and monsters are reported in the lands of the north.
After reading the second one, I really want to read the first book, and then go back and re-read this one. I love fantasy books, and I liked the concept of this series, but feel like I could get more out of it if I read the first one too.
I had a chance to interview the author to learn more.
What was the inspiration behind the series?

I've always been deeply interested in history, and one of the truisms people liked to throw around when I was younger was "If Rome hadn't fallen, and the medieval period and the collapse of technology hadn't occurred, we'd be on Mars by now." That's always been at the back of my head, as a 'what would the world look like now, if that hadn't occurred?' question. What would the world look like if Rome and its subject provinces had crossed the Atlantic and started colonizing the Americas, for instance? The Americas wouldn't even have that name. English as a language? Probably wouldn't exist. Its existence comes about solely because obstreperous Germanic tribes moved to Britain and kicked over the native Celts. And since Britain was mostly a Roman province, and if Rome didn't fall, well. . . no Anglo-Saxons being conquered by the French a few hundred years later, and therefore, no modern English.

And about midway through 2012, I happened to read an article about the Morning Star ritual as it was once practiced by Native Americans--a rare ritual sacrifice. And because I'd wondered what would have happened if Rome, which was somewhat down on human sacrifice, encountered this. And then I was off to the races.
Besides people who normally read sci-fi or fantasy books, who else might be interested in the series?
I think that anyone with an interest in history, or who has a penchant for the question "What might have been?" would be interested in this series. I write about things that interest me--and I'm interested in a lot of things! So you might see archaeology right next to quantum string-theory right next to magic in the Edda-Earth books. You'll see action scenes, romance scenes, and the sense of time passing as children grow up and their parents have to deal with aging parents of their own. I take pride in making the most fantastic scenes realistic. . . and I try to incorporate wonder into the most prosaic of scenes, as well.

What appeals to you about the interplay between science and magic?

I've always liked magical systems that were grounded a little bit in reality. Less with the bad pseudo-Latin, and more about how the world works. Whether it's a language of magic that lets you describe the real nature of things in so much detail that you can affect it, or something else. I think that if you ground magic in reality, it lets the reader suspend their disbelief a little more easily, because they have a reason to trust that things happen for real reasons, and not just because "Well, a wizard did it." Just for example, the first time I sat down to watch Game of Thrones, and I heard about summers that lasted for 'years' and that no one could predict how long they would last, I immediately thought, "wait, if the planet has that erratic of an axial tilt, if seasons don't last the same amount each time. . . wouldn't it have broken up into an asteroid belt by now?" because I'm just that way. My husband told me to stop over-thinking it, but with that sort of question in mind, it made me more critical of everything else in the show that happens solely because it's convenient to plot. Magic that works within the boundaries of its system just makes better sense

Deborah L. Davitt spent a large portion of her life in Reno, Nevada, graduating first in her class from the University of Nevada- Reno, and won the 117th Herz Gold Medal. In her senior year, she worked on the Variorum Hamlet project, and traveled to London to do primary source research on manuscripts at the British Library. After teaching for two years, and earning her MA from Penn State University, she went to work for a naval subcontractor on technical documentation for ballistic missile submarines. She subsequently moved to Houston, Texas, to work for a NASA subcontractor during the Return to Flight mission. In 2010, two years after the birth of her son, she resolved to get back to writing and wrote The Spirit of Redemption, which netted her an international audience. She currently lives in Houston, Texas with her husband and son.
Learn more about Davitt and The Saga of Edda-Earth Series at www.edda-earth.com and connect on Facebook and Goodreads.

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