|| ARC Book Review || The Prison Healer by Lynette Noni
Genre: Dark, Fantasy
Age category: Young Adult
Release Date: April 13th 2021
Seventeen-year-old Kiva Meridan has spent the last ten years fighting for survival in the notorious death prison, Zalindov, working as the prison healer.
When the Rebel Queen is captured, Kiva is charged with keeping the terminally ill woman alive long enough for her to undergo the Trial by Ordeal: a series of elemental challenges against the torments of air, fire, water, and earth, assigned to only the most dangerous of criminals.
Then a coded message from Kiva’s family arrives, containing a single order: “Don’t let her die. We are coming.” Aware that the Trials will kill the sickly queen, Kiva risks her own life to volunteer in her place. If she succeeds, both she and the queen will be granted their freedom.
But no one has ever survived.
With an incurable plague sweeping Zalindov, a mysterious new inmate fighting for Kiva’s heart, and a prison rebellion brewing, Kiva can’t escape the terrible feeling that her trials have only just begun.
From bestselling author Lynette Noni comes a dark, thrilling YA fantasy perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, and Sabaa Tahir.
I received an e-ARC of The Prison Healer in exchange for a fair review. Many thanks to Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for my copy of the book.
As a huge fan of Sarah J Maas, The Prison Healer appealed to me immediately.
The cover is stunning, the blurb makes the story sound dark and exciting with promises of plenty of magic, action and violence!
I read this very quickly and can say that I was not disappointed! This book really delivered for me and in this review I am going to try to explain why.
So to begin with the story does start off a little bit slow but when it finds its pacing (which I would describe as medium-fast) it keeps it’s momentum going right through to the end.
Our main character, Kiva is a prisoner. She has it pretty good as far as prisoners go though. She has been at Zalindov for 10 years (since she was 7 years old and her father was imprisoned for association with rebels and Kiva was thrown in right alongside him).
She has trained as a healer with her father her entire life and naturally fell into the role as The Prison Healer where she spends the vast majority of her time (you guessed it) healing the prisoners of their various ailments.
Although Kiva is a prisoner she is relatively safe from all the bad stuff that is happening to everyone else. Zalindov is a brutal place where prisoners are not typically expected to live very long. They are given extreme workloads as well as being under constant threat of violence from the guards.
She acts as an informant for the prison warden and in exchange for her information he extends her protection from the guards. Kiva hates it but does what she has to do in order to survive until her family come to rescue her.
Even though it has been 10 years she never gives up hope that they are coming to save her.
Kiva keeps a strict distance from other prisoners and refuses to form relationships with them. Zalindov is not described as a place that is easy to survive in and Kiva has lost too many people to allow herself to care about anyone only to lose them too.
The exception to this is a young boy called Tipp who is ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE. I mean I really think he might just be the character in this story that made me smile the most because he was just so sweet and lovable and all Kiva wants is to keep him safe.
Tipp was the only exception to the rule until a new guard is posted to the infirmary (Naari) and a new prisoner is brought in, severely injured during the winter (Jaren). Kiva is immediately drawn to Jaren although she can’t explain why. She constantly reminds herself to keep her distance from him but Jaren is equally drawn to her and I have to admit that I really did enjoy the relationship between these two.
Naari is a really great character too and she is full of surprises! In all honesty if I am talking about surprises I have to say that this book was absolutely full of them. I loved all the twists and turns that were thrown at me and there were so many moments that made me gasp in surprise!
The plot was really interesting and exciting and pretty much starts with the arrival of Tilda to the prison and Kiva deciding that she must do everything that she can to protect this woman from the fate she has been sentenced to by taking her place. The reason’s for this are not fully explained until the very last pages of the book!
Kiva must endure three impossible trials to earn Tilda’s freedom and by intertwining their fates Kiva would earn her own freedom as well. It’s all quite exciting and the ending is what absolutely blew me away and made me decide to round up and give this book five stars.
It’s not often that a book can give me a surprise the way that this one did. It has left me desperate to read the next book and ill be reading it the moment I can get my hands on it so I can see how it all works out!
I would definitely recommend!