Hey all, Sam here.
If it says anything about this review, I had it drafted with my pen name in the intro portion. Yes, I have had this partially drafted for almost a year now. Ooops. I had actually started to draft up a bunch of posts and reviews last year when I was trying to get back into the rhythm of posting regularly again but I obviously couldn’t keep up with the pressures of the schedule I set for myself.
But that’s okay. I’m still learning to give myself a little grace and a little forgiveness for not being able to live up to my own sometimes too high opinions and standards. While it was nice for a while to post every day (and sometimes twice a day), I don’t have to get upset with myself if I can only manage one post a week, or even one post a month…although I’d like to try to post at least once a week.
Anyway, let’s go ahead and talk about today’s long overdue review…
“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.
Rating: 4 stars
The past couple of years it has felt a bit weird to be reading a book and have some sort of illness or plague come up, especially with the awareness that it takes time to write and edit a book, so some of these newer stories were actually written before the pandemic.
Regardless, the idea of this story intrigued me. Considering that I very frequently play clerics in D&D, books following healers always grab my attention. The question is whether or not they can hold my attention. For the most part, I can say that The Prison Healer did manage to keep my focus. I did set it down and walk away a few times…although I can’t say that was the book’s fault. More the fault of life.
And with the book synopsis pitching this book as one for fans of Sarah J Maas and Sabaa Tahir…eh, maybe I can see where that might be true, but I don’t think this book quite achieves the same level of pace or building of tension or flowing descriptive language that the others provide. This was a good read, but I personally didn’t feel as absorbed into the story as I would with Maas or Tahir.
Then there’s the biggest plot reveal of the story, which became pretty obvious at maybe the halfway point even though it wasn’t actually revealed until later than that. Honestly I’m a bit upset that I didn’t realize it sooner because as soon as I realized it, it was just so obvious. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not mad when a book has obvious twists and turns. Sometimes it’s nice to kick back and relax with a story where you can figure out the basic plot points. But when I read books that are predictable, there’s also this part of me just hoping for the book to truly surprise me and do something unexpected.
I still need to pick up books two and three of this trilogy, because I’m intrigued enough to continue with the story. I did like the characters, and would like to know more about the world. These days I find myself very excited by elements of worldbuilding in stories.
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You can pick up your own copy of this book (and its sequels) from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore.
That is all from me for today, but I’ll be back with more geeky content soon.