Publisher's Note:  

Hadara, now sixteen years old, is still recovering from the night she assisted the Azwans, mighty magi, in destroying a demon that fell from the stars. She has a new job as an apprentice healer and wants to put her past—and her doubts—behind her.

On the planet Kuldor and beyond, it is deemed a sin to doubt the god Nihil’s magic, and heresy to fail to worship him correctly. The Azwans, still on Hadara’s island home, have begun punishing disbelievers with a vengeance.

Hadara can’t shake her own skepticism, though, especially when she suspects that the demon they destroyed isn’t entirely gone. What if bits and pieces are, in fact, floating around inside her and maybe taking root? Since she stood at the altar that fateful night, she’s developed the ability to understand foreign tongues, among other odd talents she never had before. Had she perhaps swallowed some part of the dying demon? She suspects no one can answer that question for her, but she doesn’t trust anyone enough to ask it.

But then a temple guard who she once thought was dead comes back into her life and points her toward new truths and a new sense of purpose: somewhere in the murky jungles surrounding her city, another people beckon her and demand she fulfill the destiny foretold by the falling star.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Sky Pony Press

The Well of Prayers (The Temple of Doubt #2)

by Anne Boles Levy

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Overall Review:  

Resuming closely to where readers left off in the first novel, The Temple of Doubt (The Temple of Doubt #1), teenage Hadara once again guides readers through her primitive island home of Port Sapphire in the magical land of Kuldor, in Anne Boles Levy's second book, The Well of Prayers (The Temple of Doubt #2).

Religious worship, demonic possession, and magical priests assault Hadara's world and she is none too happy about it. Doubt still infiltrates Hadara's life and the more she seeks answers, the more questions arise. Is she possessed? Is the great Nahil really a god? And what of her relationships? Who can she trust?

If you happen to be jumping into the series without reading the first novel be aware that previous events are mentioned, but not explained, and the background/culture that was somewhat examined in the first novel is not expounded upon. Even to those who have read the first novel there are times when the complexity of the traditions will still be a bit confusing. For some readers the slight of grounding information can be overlooked or put aside as excitement abounds in the exploration of Hadara's newly developed love life and recently acquired abilities. If you are looking for a balance of thrill and the framework to support the layers of fiction that the author disburses, this novel may be a letdown, but it is still impressive in its creative level as well as entertaining.

If this series of mystic lore consumes you, be sure to check out the third and final book in the installment which has yet to be named.

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  10 mild obscenities; 5 derogatory names; 2 scatological words; 2 anatomical terms. Note: “Damning” is used a few times as a religious term and not as a curse word.

Violence/Gore:  Extended scene (few pages) character works in hospital setting where various injuries are mentioned; report of past battle and deaths; general mention of soldiers being violent (2x); extended scene (about 1 page) report of past violence, almost human sacrifice, demonic being, destruction; prostitute receives injures from beating; few brief mentions of being slapped by a teacher; report of people being hanged; brief memory of past violence; playful nudge; secondhand report of violence; mention of past violence; soldier mentions they've killed before; extended scene (about 2 pages) character overhears characters talking about people condemned to die, witnesses characters awaiting execution; brief report of executions; female feebly pounds on male's chest; threat of hanging; extended scene (about 2 paragraphs) non-detailed scene of violent death, mild gore; character remembers being a witness to an execution; character calls human sacrifices, sanctioned rapes; report of murder; extended scene (few pages) fire destroys building; mention of past violence and death; friendly punch; fantasy creature throws objects at character in annoyance; fantasy creature lunges at character, character pulls weapon; comment made about prostitutes being physically abused; character overhears characters physically fighting; parent spanks teenage child; extended scene (about ½ page) city is attacked by outside forces, few mentions of characters being attacked throughout chapter; character falls injuring themselves; male character is said to be bloodied after battle; characters are attacked, few brief deaths; extended scene (about 1 page) characters fight; talk of possible impending death; character receives order to kill; report of violence; exchange of threats; character smacks another character with an object; character is held against their will and uses force to try and break free; female character lays naked on sacrificial alter (non-sexual), threatened with death; threat of loved one being killed; characters slap one another in anger; few times fantasy forces/magic causes character pain.

Sex/Nudity:  Prostitute receives injures from beating; extended scene (about 1 paragraph)character is interested in medical anatomy of male genitalia, recalls receiving the “sex talk” from parent, mentions being flashed by men; character revealed to have romantic feelings for another character; mention of men being on the hunt for wives; extended scene (about 1 paragraph) female characters curiously examine anatomy book to look at male genitalia pictures; slang for male genitalia used few times; sexual reference joke; female character receives marriage proposals; character mentions practicing kissing on pillow; wife kisses husband on cheek; mention of virgin sacrifice; characters grasp hands; character teases another character about being in love, sings about love; character calls human sacrifices, sanctioned rapes; thoughts on flirting, mention of future marriages, characters hold hands (2x); mention of love; joke on nudity; characters hug; female character becomes excited when male character places hand on her waist; extended scene (about ½ page) descriptive kiss; character sees prostitutes gyrating on men's laps; female character sits on male characters lap, male begins to nuzzle female; comment made about prostitutes being physically abused; kiss; husband and wife hug; unmarried male and female sleep next to one another, male drapes arm across female's waist; extended scene (about 1page) female thinks about being married and having sex; kiss on cheek; accusation that character is a rapist; confession of love (2x); female character lays naked on sacrificial alter (non-sexual).

Mature Subject Matter:  

Human sacrifice, demonic possession, religious zealotry, death.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Character cleans up after sick drunks; wine served at dinner; characters (one character is 16) enter a bar, characters drink at bar.

Reviewed By MaryLou
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