The Prison Healer

Lynette Noni

The Prison Healer
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The Prison Healer

Lynette Noni

From bestselling Australian author Lynette Noni comes a dark, thrilling YA fantasy perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Sabaa Tahir.

Here at Zalindov, the only person you can trust is yourself.

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.

 

Review

The first in a new fantasy trilogy by acclaimed author Lynette Noni, The Prison Healer is an enthralling read that is not to be missed. It follows Kiva Meridan, a hardened 17-year-old who has spent the past 10 years captive in the infamous prison of Zalindov where she is tasked with the role of prison healer. Life there is far from easy, with danger from prisoners and guards alike lurking around every corner, but Kiva holds onto the hope that one day she will be released and reunited with her long-lost family.

When the kingdom’s Rebel Queen is captured and brought into Zalindov, Kiva is given the opportunity to earn her freedom; all she has to do is keep the Rebel Queen alive as the Queen undergoes the notoriously impossible Trial by Ordeals – a series of challenges that will earn prisoners their freedom if completed successfully. With the Rebel Queen deliriously ill, however, Kiva has no choice but to step up to the Trial in the Queen’s place in a fight to win freedom for them both.

It’s easy to see why there is so much impressive international buzz for this book. Noni has brilliantly crafted a tale that fully embraces the intricate world building, high stakes plotting, and fantastical magic that make the fantasy genre so beloved. Painted in rich detail, the prison makes for a unique backdrop, lending an undercurrent of danger and tension to Kiva’s story. Though life at Zalindov is often grim, a budding romance and a touch of humour along the way lightens some of the book’s darker moments.

The Prison Healer is gripping and fast paced with an ending that will leave readers reeling. For the many readers who will be desperate for the second book, worry not: the next instalment’s release date has already been announced for October 2021. Highly recommended for those who adore Sarah J. Maas, and for fantasy readers ages 14+.


Xiao Xiao Kingham works as a bookseller at Readings Kids.

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