Monday, 12 April 2021

Review: The Prison Healer by Lynette Noni

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.

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📌 Publication date: 13/04/2021

It took me a while to finish The Prison Healer. The story is quite slow paced and  repetitive at times. The elemental trails Kiva had to face should have been thrilling, but ultimately they were a let down. Although the tasks were terrible, they felt rushed and there was no real sense of danger. This is because after the first one it was obvious, at least to me, what the outcome was going to be for the rest. 

While the story dragged at some points I still found it interesting enough to continue on. Kiva was a very easy main character to like. Throughout her ten years as a prisoner she endured many hardships at the hands of both the guards and prisoners alike. Yet she still held on to her selfless drive to care for and look after everyone. The Prison Healer deals with a lot of dark themes, so I would advise looking up content warnings. In terms of secondary characters, I loved Tipp, a young boy who helps Kiva with her healing duties. Their relationship was that of siblings and it was beautiful and heart breaking. 

I didn't care for the budding romance between Jaren and Kiva. The reason being that I found Jaren to be a cardboard cut out of a typical YA love interest. No personality expect the kindness he showed Kiva. There is, however, room for character development in the sequel when we see more of the world. 

I admit I was torn about whether I would be reading the sequel until the plot twist at the end. I honestly didn't see it coming and was shocked. That being said, it didn't really make sense to me. I can't say more without spoilers, but given that we were in Kiva's head the whole time it felt like she became a bit of an unreliable narrator. 

Overall, The Prison Healer was a decent read and I'm curious about the sequel given the plot twist at the end. 


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