The Prison Healer by Lynette Noni

The Prison Healer by Lynette NoniThe Prison Healer by Lynette Noni
Narrator: Jeanette Illidge
Series: The Prison Healer #1
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Published on 13 April 2021
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult
Format: Audiobook
Source: my local library
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RRP: $24.95
5 Stars

"Lynette Noni is a masterful storyteller. A must-read for any fantasy lover!" -- SARAH J. MAAS, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author
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.

Before I get into a review of this book, the first thing I want to say is that if you start to read it, PLEASE finish it! Do not DNF. It is worth finishing.

So this book.

I enjoyed just about everything about this book.

I loved the main character, Kiva. Sometimes I feel that authors can’t really write genuinely selfless characters. They come across as sanctimonious, or motivated by the wrong reasons. But Kiva, despite her job helping her survive a prison, genuinely cares for everyone in it, even those who hate her and wish her harm. She genuinely has a healer’s heart and I really liked that about her.
I also liked the secondary supporting characters: the friendly newcomer Jarren, stoic guard Nari, cute kid assistant Tipp. (If I am spelling any of the names wrong it’s because I listened to this on audiobook so I’m just guessing how the names are spelt). I could see how the characters who got to know Kiva really liked her. I did, too.

The book felt really well-plotted and paced, and the worldbuilding was also nicely done and interesting. There was politics within the prison, and Kiva had to deal with being thoroughly unliked because of her cushy job. I was pleased when we didn’t just stay within Kiva’s infirmary but got to see other aspects of the prison and the world around it. I enjoyed the secondary characters, and the writing itself flowed very nicely. The audiobook narration was pleasant to listen to, with the narrator providing different voices for different characters and a good show of emotion.

My main problem with this book revolves around a so-called law: the Warden claims that the Trial by Ordeal is a written law. It’s a weird ass law. View Spoiler »

Zalindov is basically a death camp more than a prison. No one leaves. Except if you survive the Trials by Ordeal, which are only forced upon the worst kind of criminal. Those happen to be… royalty? So… magical? And magic helps you survive the trials because they are based on the same magic system as the royalty?

So basically it’s law to release the most dangerous criminals if they prove they are magical enough to survive, I mean you’d think once they walked free they’d be a threat to the ruling royal family but apparently not? WHY DOES THIS NOT MAKE SENSE.

Also the third thing I had a problem with was the ‘spectacle’ of the whole thing. View Spoiler »

Apart from those question I couldn’t stop thinking about, my absolute favourite part of the book was the number of twists written into it. I was fully suspicious of a number of them, but one of them caught me by surprise: that’s not to say that the groundwork wasn’t there, because it totally was, and it all actually made perfect sense when I looked back. I just didn’t quite get it because I was distracted by other stuff going on in the book. So bravo!

I was actually enjoying this book before all of the twists were revealed but one by one as everything came to light I enjoyed it more and more until I decided, you know what? This book is just about perfect. Yes, even though I have some pretty big issues with the basic concept! You can have issues with the book but still really enjoy it, and I did.

I’m super excited for the sequel that’s being released later this year.

Nemo
Nemo

About Nemo

A lover of kittens and all things sparkly, Nemo has a degree in English Literature and specialises in reviewing contemporary, paranormal, mystery/thriller, historical, sci-fi and fantasy Young Adult fiction. She is especially drawn to novels about princesses, strong female friendships, magical powers, and assassins.

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