Thank you to the publisher Hodder & Stoughton for providing me with an arc copy of this book via NetGalley. This in no way affects my opinion.
Title: The Prison Healer
Author: Lynette Noni
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Audience: Young Adult
Release Date: 13th April 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.
Heading into The Prison Healer, I wasn’t sure what to expect as it was the first Lynette Noni book that I have picked up, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved the complex plot that constantly left me guessing until the last page.
The characters are such a central part of The Prison Healer, and they really delivered. I loved the mix of personalities and how they interacted with each other. Kiva was my favourite character because she is so different to the normal female protagonist, and I loved that. She had such a strong ethic, and the way she treated Trip was adorable. There was also the start to a possible romantic relationship, but I am glad that it did not overtake the whole story, and the plot was much more focused on the prison.
As this was my first Lynette Noni book, I wasn’t sure what to expect from her writing style, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I liked the mix of long passages of learning about the setting and being drip-fed things through conversations. I think this really lent itself well to the story and created a suitable atmosphere. This definitely kept me intrigued in the story.
I did find myself getting a little bit bored towards the middle of the book as it felt as if the story was going round in circles without making any progress. The characters were all in a holding pattern waiting for the next trial to take place, without making an effort to solve their problems. But this did improve towards the end of the book as the story began to move forward and Lynette Noni gave more answers to my questions.
The ending of The Prison Healer is very dramatic, and it gives quite a few answers to questions in a short space of time. I would have liked this to have been a little bit slower to fully appreciate what was happening and what the effects could be. But I will say that I didn’t expect the ending, which is a surprise, especially after how many hints we were given.
I can’t wait to read the sequel to The Prison Healer after the reveals at the end. I will definitely be going and checking out some of Lynette Noni’s backlist to see if there is anything else I am interested in. If you were not going to pick up The Prison Healer, I highly suggest you change your plans and do.