Have you ever traveled to a foreign country? If so, do you remember how different it felt, and some of the local customs felt strange? Imagine visiting a foreign planet. In Lynne’s Murray’s novel Gravitas: Valkyrie in the Forbidden Zone, which is a science-fiction comedy with just the right amount of erotica, Val-Sybilla (better known as Sybil) finds herself in that very situation.
While making a trip to transport a shipment of “Gravitas,” a powerful aphrodisiac within the Ritual Jewelry that the powerful women of the planet Valkyries wear, she and her companions stop at a market, where, to her horror, she finds her first (and favorite) husband Josu, chained and being offered for sale. Determined to find out the truth about what happened to Josu, she enters a ritualistic meditation state to conjure up the three (very interesting and diverse) “demons” who live in her head. When her meditation is interrupted by Gelbraves, a loutish delegate from a rival planet, they both, along with Josu, fall into a portal that makes them crash-land in the Forbidden Zone (known to us as “Earth.”).
One of my favorite parts of this novel is the witty dialogue. Although Sybil’s clueless culture shock is endearing, she turns out to be confident and resourceful as she attempts to figure out a way to return to Valkyries before the load of Gravitas that she is still carrying overwhelms her to the point that she can’t focus. I will have to add that the effect of the Gravitas on Sybil’s mental state is a tad underplayed, but readers will get that it is slowly having a debilitating effect on her and especially her “demons,” who are still trapped in her mind.
Valkyries is a matriarchal society. Women hold the positions of power. The women of Valkyries are polyandrous; they are not only encouraged but expected to have multiple husbands (even though Sybil briefly hints that she would prefer a monogamous marriage with Josu).AlthoughGravitas does have a feminist theme, this theme is presented very matter-of-factly so it’s not “in-your-face” and doesn’t appear to have a hidden agenda.
I give this book five stars. A+ for character development, A for plot development, and A+ for plot flow. A highly recommended read. Check it out here: