November 23, 2022

REVIEW The Prison Healer (The Prison Healer #1) by Lynette Noni

The Prison Healer (The Prison Healer #1) by Lynette Noni
Rating: 3 Stars
Release Date: April 13, 2021
Format: Audiobook (Borrowed from Library) + Hardcover (Personal Library)
Publisher: Clarion Books

*Please note - this post contains affiliate links, from which we may earn a commission (at no additional cost to you) if you make a purchase

Lynette Noni’s The Prison Healer is an explosive start to a new young adult dark fantasy series. The eponymous Prison Healer, Kiva Meridan, is the one inmate responsible for keeping everyone else in the prison alive and healthy enough to work. She’s been there for almost a decade, and the thought of seeing her family again (and the coded notes they periodically send her) are the only things keeping her going. When one of their notes comes attached to the mysterious Rebel Queen (arguably one of the most high-profile prisoners in the prison’s history), Kiva is forced to take her place in the deadly elemental trials and survive for both of their sakes. 

Ms. Noni took a unique approach to the worldbuilding of this book, and it totally worked. Unlike many other recent young adult fantasies, there is almost no ‘movement’ and the majority of the action takes place at the prison. There are hints of a larger world though, with characters coming in and bringing news from outside the prison. The teasers worked and my curiosity has been piqued. I’m looking forward to seeing where the characters will travel next in the subsequent books in the series, The Gilded Cage and The Blood Traitor

The characters were awesome. Kiva experiences a lot of growth over the course of the story; she’s loyal to a fault for those she cares about, but the years of imprisonment have left her closed off and unwilling to connect with anyone (in fear of them dying in quick order). Her young assistant Tipp is the only one she’s ever dared open up to, but things change with the arrival of Jaren and Naari in the prison. Each character has a purpose in the story, and there were multiple moments that were particularly gripping and emotional for the reader.  

The Prison Healer is littered with plot twists, and while predictable, I appreciate that they were well-earned. They didn’t just come out of nowhere; when you look back, there was a followable thread that builds up to the eventual reveal. There was one plot twist towards the end of the book that I was not expecting, however; I practically squeaked after reading it and I’m so excited to see the author build on that later in the series. 

Overall, this was a great novel by Lynette Noni and an amazing start to The Prison Healer trilogy. Jeanette Illidge did a great job with her performance in the audiobook narration. If you’re a fan of Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass series or Amelie Wen Zhao’s Blood Heir trilogy, then you should definitely check this series out. I do want to stress that this book deals with a lot of heavy themes and is a dark fantasy (if it wasn’t already obvious from the trigger warnings). I would not recommend this to more sensitive readers, or those looking for a happily ever after ending at the end of the book. 

TRIGGER WARNINGS: Sexual Assault (References), Scenes of Physical and Emotional Abuse, Bullying, Trauma, Violence, Self-Harm, Plague, Terminal Illness, Death of a Parent, Death of a Sibling, Torture, Imprisonment, Near-Drowning

About the Book
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.

About the Author

Lynette Noni is currently Australia’s #1 YA fiction author. After studying journalism, academic writing and human behaviour at university, she finally ventured into the world of fiction. She is now a full-time writer and the bestselling author of the six-book young adult fantasy series, The Medoran Chronicles, as well as a second bestselling and award-winning duology called Whisper.

Lynette won the 2019 ABIA Award for Small Publishers’ Children’s Book of the Year, along with the 2019 Gold Inky Award (Australia’s only teen choice book award). She is currently collaborating on a project with #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas.

Lynette's next series, The Prison Healer, is releasing globally in 2021

No comments:

Post a Comment

I would love to hear your thoughts! Post your comments here.

Be sure to check back again later, as I do make an effort to reply to comments.