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The Prison Healer (The Prison Healer #1)
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.
-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.
Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.
(4 / 5) This is a book I’ve been looking forward to! Look at the cover, great right? It takes place in a notoriously inescapable prison where people tend to not live long. Kiva is the healer and the Rebel Queen is brought in under her care but is fully unconscious for weeks. Kiva volunteers to do her Trial for her with the hopes of gaining her freedom.
Right off, the characters got me. These are people who live in atrocious conditions and still find the energy to make friends and take care of each other. The characters really sold it for me, they were well-rounded and each had just a bit of intrigue to them.
While full of adventure, this didn’t grab me like I wanted it to. The writing didn’t click with me like I had expected. Some parts felt slow when they should’ve been more exciting. There were a lot of repeated sentences- which mostly went with the story, but it was a bit excessive.
I would have liked much more of the Trial. I feel it should’ve been more of a focus. Also, I would’ve liked more Tilda too! They were such great parts of the story that I wish there would’ve been more.
A few parts I had problems with but they are spoilers so I will hide them on Goodreads with their blocking.
The big reveals, especially the last page, were fabulous. I can’t wait to see where it goes next, cause her and Jaren? DRAMA.
Content Summary: First off, there was self harm. I know that’s a big trigger for some. The conditions in the prison were horrific. People died from the work but also from an illness. Our protagonist is the healer so you get the blood and illness details from her role. The guards at the prison are very abusive and cause a lot of harm to prisoners when given the chance. There is torture by flogging and severe punishments for prisoners.
Thank you to HMH Books for Young Readers for the gifted copy in exchange for an honest review. I can’t wait for book 2! This book releases April 13, 2021.
Detailed Content Review
Derogatory terms etc-
Thank the gods
Fu— (didn’t complete the word)
Alcohol, Drugs, Smoking
A man drinks liquor.
Poppymilk is given to a young woman multiple times for her injuries.
Spirits are served at a small party. Many people are drugged with glossy eyes and little clothes.
A drugged woman is unconscious. She has drug powder on her nostrils and more, a man is drugged too. She is determined to be dead from an angeldust overdose.
A young woman is given poppymilk for pain.
A hard job makes people require painkillers. The painkillers wear off and angeldust is acquired instead. Many get addicted.
Many people have been poisoned. Some have died.
A mother has previously been physically abusive to her son while on angeldust.
Intimacy, Sex, Immodesty
*Very minor LGBTQ+ aspects included*
Prisoners are stripped and scrubbed upon entrance.
A young woman strips her clothes off to shower but is yanked away while still naked.
Guards are known to get “bored” and seek “entertainment” from prisoners. Many of the female prisoners are raped. They require a pill to stave off their cycle to prevent their cycle or pregnancy.
A young woman is known as being “favored” for providing “services” to the guards.
A woman has a girlfriend.
A man regularly has a venereal rash.
Some people joke about a young woman “spreadin’ her legs” for guards and joke about going to see her so they can get some nursing from her.
A drugged woman is unconscious. A drugged man is roaming his hands all over her body. “…wake her up. It’s time for round two.” Men want a young woman to be their next. She’s unwilling. One man threatens (vaguely) that she will be raped up to 6 times if she says anything.
A young man holds a young woman while she cries and sleeps. They sleep in the same bed.
A young woman’s clothes have been burned off. She has a covering but it doesn’t fully cover her as she goes in front of a group.
Violence, Weapons, Crime, Blood
A young woman cuts a Z into all prisoners.
An inmate is executed for smuggling angeldust to others.
A young woman has scars on her back from being flogged.
A prisoner comes to the prison covered in blood while two others come already dead.
Prison guards abuse a young woman. She has physical injuries and burn marks.
One guard likes to snap inmates bones.
A young man has flogging scars on his back. A young woman sews a cut on his face. His scars are from belt buckles, fingernails and more. He came from an abusive home.
A young woman squeezes a young woman’s throat, making her almost pass out. A woman grabs her. The young woman then stabs the woman in the hand. The woman elbows her in the face.
A man “chopped up his own children and claimed he was selling pork offcuts.”
Soldiers arrest a man and burn his house. A young boy runs at the soldiers with a knife and they stick a sword in his chest, killing him. A young girl screams and cries but they knock her unconscious.
A young woman is forced to jump a large distance and falls a large distance, becoming unconscious.
Guards have whips and canes stained with blood.
A young woman and young man get in a fight and she leaves him with face injuries and split lip.
Previously, guards burned a woman on over half her body.
A young woman is forced into a large furnace. Her clothes catch on fire, she inhales too much smoke and curls up in a ball to die.
A young woman is pushed into water. She is drowning, water entering her lungs, then she passes out.
A young woman is hit on the head, knocking her out.
A young man is tied to a flogging post. He has been flogged so many times that his blood is flowing down a drain. He is hit again, his body jerking violently. The man flogging him enjoys it. He does it more and more, turning his flesh into “a pulpy mess.”
A young woman and young man are hit on the head, knocking them out.
A man hits a young man enough to cause broken ribs and intense bruises.
A young man was previously physically abused by his mother.
Many people fight. Some don’t have weapons. Some have dogs to fight the people. Bodies and blood are everywhere. Dogs are tearing up people. Arrows and daggers are flying. An explosion sends people flying, some are crushed under a platform. Many are fighting with weapons, a few are enjoying the violence. A woman’s body is lifeless and staring upward with her blood coating everything nearby. A young man is bleeding from a large wound, blood bubbling from his mouth. His eyes roll up and his chest stops.
A man throws an explosive element at a man. The fire causes a wall of fire.
Potentially Intense Themes
A young woman is very sick. She’s had a fever for days and is delirious, sometimes screaming and frothing at the mouth.
A terrible stomach virus is going around the prison. Many are dying.
A young woman previously cut her wrists to kill herself but was saved.
A young woman stops breathing and needs chest compressions.
A young woman previously cut her thighs multiple times for an “emotional release.” She realized she was addicted to feeling the pain and the endorphins.
A woman has a prosthetic arm from a previous injury.
A young woman is put in solitary confinement in the dark.
**Any quotes from the book are taken from the advanced copy and therefore may not be fully accurate or correctly compare to the final copy of the book.
**As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.