The Temple of Doubt
The Temple of Doubt
Fifteen-year-old Hadara is strong, feisty, and questions a faith that demands obedience and allegiance. Her other sister Amaniel is the exact opposite and knows the scriptures of their god Nihil and also is the perfect image of an obedient subject. Then a falling star crashes into the marshes. Then some high priests come to her village, looking for the star as they fear it contains a demon. When Hadara's sharp tongue ends up getting her unwanted attention, and chosen to be a guide into the marsh, her whole life as she knows it is changed.
What worked: This is one unique and totally different world than I've ever read before. Levy does a great job of world building that includes a rich world complete with a religion. The landscape is vivid with great descriptions of the forbidden marsh to the high priests of Nihil.
I liked Hadara because she shows spirit and isn't afraid to speak up. Yes, obedience is held sacred in this world but Hadara questions the rules of the temple and even the idea of being obedient. I liked how her more obedient sister is shown as a contrast. It would have been easy to leave it there but Levy shows that even though the sisters are different? They still love each other.
The attraction Hadara has for one of the foreign warriors doesn't happen right off the bat. If it did, it would have been unbelievable. Valeo isn't like the other guards who invade her world but shows some kindness to her and her family.
Hadara and her mother fear the invaders and priests more than the fallen star because her village considers the homeopathic way of treating illnesses, wrong and punishable by death. This sounds how the priests use control over the people. It's a sign of not being faithful if you use another way beside prayer to Nihil and the gods if you're ill. Hadara sees the consequences first hand when those around her don't seek outside help. Her courage to continue her training under her mother is one plus of this novel. Especially since her own grandmother was tried and punished for continuing to use herbs for illnesses.
I did have a hard time with some of the proverbs and sayings that headed each chapter. The language of this people is complex and rich. I just thought at times it jarred the flow of the story.
The ending was kind of abrupt too. I know there's two other books in this series which I feel will show us more of what happens to Hadara. I also can't help but feel there will be a few more surprises in store for her too.
Intriguing premise of a girl that questions her faith and the consequence that follow. Rich world building that give fantasy readers a whole new world to explore.
2. Intriguing premise of a girl that questions her faith and the consequences that follow
3. Rich world building complete with a religion