Gravettian Goddess by B. Alexander Howerton

Gravettian GoddessGravettian Goddess by B. Alexander Howerton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Note: I received a copy of this text in exchange for an honest review.

When I received word that Gravettian Goddess was on my list of books scheduled for review and learned the text was 1299 pages long I almost dreaded approaching the read. I thought I hope this is a good book worthy of such length otherwise this is going to be a nightmare. Fortune was with me, and the author, when finally I did start reading.

The cover is vibrant and lush with imagery from the story, calling to mind exactly what the blurb promises: elements that hearken to The Da Vinci Code and Clan of the Cave Bear. The mystery is how two seemingly disparate books and ideas come together to tell the story of Greg Janeszco, the main character. I was immediately intrigued since I immensely enjoyed both novels for the individual merits.

Howerton doesn’t disappoint in his either completely insane or utterly revolutionary presentation of what I came to believe was a plausible theory and explanation of, well… everything. Reaching far, far back into nearly prehistoric times in order to set the stage for the drama that unfolds, Greg’s story is one I truly did not expect. The text is definitely information-heavy, sometimes feeling like a history lesson rather than a fictionalized story, but I love a book that teaches me things I didn’t know before. The two novels the blurb references were also information-rich, and like the authors of the aforementioned books, Howerton delivers his history lessons in admirable ways, mainly through dialog but also through action, drama, intrigue and romantic connections. What I also didn’t expect was this beautiful, almost genuine spiritual reverence underpinning this fantastic tale. This isn’t just a complex cobbling together of historical fact, mystical conjecture and conspiracy theories; it’s a piece of Howerton’s soul.

I connected immediately with Greg. Even though he’s super rich, he’s also immensely educated and successful but he doesn’t put these qualities or aspects of himself forward in any domineering or prideful way. While Greg has opinions and states them, he is the means through which we learn so much history. His development and growth across the board is the transporting vehicle for everything. I couldn’t help but be swept up into the whirlwind of his initial activity as the drama and intrigue unfolded, be just as confounded as he was in being drawn deeper into mysticism. Many times throughout the story I was moved, inspired, and awed. Just as Greg’s perspective is shifted and broadened through his strange journey and education into the mystery of all mysteries, mine was too. I had a moment when I was perhaps ¾ through the reading when I broke off from reading, dragging myself up and back into my reality, and almost wept with the realization that I was, in a large way, reading a story about a man’s becoming. Just as we are formally educated in school, it takes life experience, good or ill, and the lessons the people around us have to share and teach us about life and relationships, to propel us ever forward, so too it takes Greg the loss of love, threat of mortality, unexpected saving, recuperation, and environs and inclusion in the deepest of holy secrets to transform his entire being. Quite inadvertently, through pitfall and peak, Greg finds his sense of self and divine purpose.

Whether insane or revolutionary, Gravettian Goddess filled my head with facts and plausible theories, gave me food for thought, and most importantly, inspired a paradigm shift. Once seen; never again unseen. I think this is Howerton’s intention since the book; The Overview Effect by astronaut Frank White is referenced throughout.

There were, unfortunately, a few notes that detracted from the reading.

The visual appearance of the text gave me the impression that the copy I received was either an early, unformated draft or formatted for e-publication sans mark up. There were no headers or attempts to finesse the visual appeal, just plain text on the page. Font size was the culprit in why the book totaled 1299 pages. Had it been reduced to something even half the size I was presented with I might not have been so daunted by the length. (As a positive addendum, once I was caught up in the story the pages flew by and I only noticed I’d read hundreds of pages when I finally paused at the end of the night). Each chapter ended and the next began on the same page, making me long for page breaks for that mental pause between segments.

A few editing misses:
Page 298: “That is popular in folklore,“Malenka contined, (missing a space, making the quotation mark incorrect; misspelled word, continued)
Page 446: When I get to Toulouse, I press zero, then punch in Louis Roux.” (missing beginning quotation mark)
Page 637: “This is where I was originally planning to meet you,” said Paul. (missing quotation mark) My flat is nearby. We’ll stay there for the night.”
Page 685: “Here, take my hand,” Zorion said. (missing quotation mark) I will guide you.”
Page 1010: They spend (tense confusion, spent) a good portion of the afternoon wandering all the paths and passageways of the cave. “I know you can’t possible (possibly) memorize it all, but it is good to know that it’s all here. It may help you, even save your life.”
Page 1078: Then it suddenly struck Greg where he had seen here (her) before.
Page 1115: “If you even (ever) trusted me, trust me now. Come!”
Page 1209: She was the daughter of the Duke of Aquitaine, whosae (misspelled, whose) lands encompassed much of our ancient homeland in the south of France and the Pyrenees.

Despite the issues with formatting, font size and editing misses, I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a thick, deep read that engages and educates. Abstract thinkers, intuitive, history buffs, skeptics and dreamers will pull more from the history and ideas Howerton presents than those readers looking for a quick, action heavy, little back story novel.
This is a book I would buy in paperback and shelve next to my copies of The Da Vinci Code and Clan of the Cave Bear, easily accessible for reference and discussion with someone else with a decidedly Ondorengoei outlook.

Gravettian Goddess earns 5 out of 5 stars for me.

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