Book Review

Book Review: The Gilded Cage (The Prison Healer #2) by Lynette Noni

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 448 pages
Author: Lynette Noni
Publisher: HMH
Release Date: October 12th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Kiva trades one cage for another when she leaves behind a deadly prison for a deceptive palace in this dark and dangerous sequel to The Prison Healer, which Sarah J. Maas called “a must-read.”

Kiva Meridan is a survivor.

She survived not only Zalindov prison, but also the deadly Trial by Ordeal. Now Kiva’s purpose goes beyond survival to vengeance. For the past ten years, her only goal was to reunite with her family and destroy the people responsible for ruining their lives. But now that she has escaped Zalindov, her mission has become more complicated than ever.

As Kiva settles into her new life in the capital, she discovers she wasn’t the only one who suffered while she was in Zalindov—her siblings and their beliefs have changed too. Soon it’s not just her enemies she’s keeping secrets from, but her own family as well.

Outside the city walls, tensions are brewing from the rebels, along with whispers of a growing threat from the northern kingdoms. Kiva’s allegiances are more important than ever, but she’s beginning to question where they truly lie. To survive this time, she’ll have to navigate a complicated web of lies before both sides of the battle turn against her and she loses everything.

SOLID SEQUEL.

Gratefully I didn’t get a lot of book two syndrome here! This kept the pacing up and the action moving.

I liked where the plot headed this round. Learning even more about the kingdom and the rebels. Finding out a lot about the history and meeting a whole bunch of new characters. Nothing was overwhelming and it only enhanced the story at present. I love having a further grasp on the world and magic system.

Kiva was my main letdown. For someone who just spent 10 years in prison not trusting anyone, she sure throws trust around like candy. I thought it was pretty obvious who Kiva shouldn’t have listened to, buuut in risk of spoilers I’ll keep it there. Kiva could have done more for herself this round rather than focusing on one minor plot matter, so I’m hoping for more from her in the last book.

I also missed Jaren!! Kiva hung out with Cal (not a love triangle situation!) more often than Jaren and I wanted more soft moments between my ship. I can’t say I was fully feeling Kiva and Jaren together as much as I wanted. Again, another point I hope changes in the last book. Jaren is the absolute gem of this series. HE’S SO SWEET.

Things end on a wild note. While I saw the reveals coming this time I didn’t see how the ending would shake out. I’m definitely intrigued and grasping at straws for what happens next and can’t wait for the next book.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: make-outs
  • Violence: physical and magical altercations, kidnapping and torture, murder
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: depictions of drug abuse and addiction

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: The Prison Healer (The Prison Healer #1) by Lynette Noni

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 416 pages
Author: Lynette Noni
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 13th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

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.

OHHHH SNAP.

When your friends keep talking about a big reveal that blew their minds, it makes interested. Then I spent my entire read anxiously waiting what news was going to make things hit the fan. My thoughts went as followed:

First drop: okay okay, I kinda figured that. Am happy with this knowledge. Not a huge reveal though?

Second drop: ALRIGHT THEN. That is definitely new information. I’m curious how this will affect the next book.

Third drop: OHHHHMYGOSHHHH!?!?! WHY DID I NOT SEE THAT COMING. Totally blindsided.

Those last 50 pages skyrocketed this book to five stars. The rest of it was truly enjoyable and I was having a good time diving into this darker YA fantasy. That ending though. Y’all. My hopes are through the roof on this second book.

What I thought was a bit quirky was that I could see some similarities to SJM’s plots and writing. Not a bad thing, just something I noticed. They are friends (I believe, don’t quote me) so that was an interesting tidbit that I realized after finishing.

Back to the characters. I really liked Kiva! She felt human and flawed, but desperately trying to do the right thing and honest to goodness survive. I loved Naari and hope to see more of her in the next book. And I am smitten with Tipp. He is precious and brings a bit of lightness to this otherwise morose tale. I wish the romantic sub-plot was a little more developed, though I’m grateful it didn’t jump to over the top in love without more development. I’m hoping it’s all more well-rounded as the series goes on.

A really great first book that kept me interested and had plenty of action. I’m so excited to see what happens next!!

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Dark Fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: some forehead kisses
  • Violence: plague, poisoning, physical altercations, riots, knife violence; this is a dark fantasy
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: mentions of rape (off-page, implied), self-harm, loss of loved ones, torture, whipping, imprisonment, nearly being burned alive, drowned, buried alive

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: Akarnae (The Medoran Chronicles #1) by Lynette Noni

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Young adult fantasy
Length: 436 pages
Author: Lynette Noni
Publisher: Pantera Press
Release Date: February 1st, 2015
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

With just one step, sixteen-year-old Alexandra Jennings’s world changes—literally.

Dreading her first day at a new school, Alex is stunned when she walks through a doorway and finds herself stranded in Medora, a fantasy world full of impossibilities. Desperate to return home, she learns that only a man named Professor Marselle can help her… but he’s missing.

While waiting for him to reappear, Alex attends Akarnae Academy, Medora’s boarding school for teenagers with extraordinary gifts. She soon starts to enjoy her bizarre new world and the friends who embrace her as one of their own, but strange things are happening at Akarnae, and Alex can’t ignore her fear that something unexpected… something sinister… is looming.

An unwilling pawn in a deadly game, Alex’s shoulders bear the crushing weight of an entire race’s survival. Only she can save the Medorans, but what if doing so prevents her from ever returning home?

Will Alex risk her entire world—and maybe even her life—to save Medora?

DIFFERENT THAN I THOUGHT.

I went into this book mostly blind because it had been a few months since I added it to my TBR because of someone’s review I had seen. I kind of like when this happens because it makes everything more of a mystery.

The biggest reason this was different than I thought was that it leaned more towards the younger YA side than the older. The main character, Alex, is 16 (turning 17 during the book), but her group of friends and interactions in general throughout the whole book just led me to think that this was for a younger audience.

I’ve decided that I did enjoy this overall. We all know that I don’t love HP, so I’m usually hesitant of fantasy/magic school based books. I didn’t mind this one. I thought the classes were interesting and I liked the teachers too. I really loved Alex’s friends Jordan and Bear. I liked that she had a friend group that were just her friends. It added an amazing version of a found family trope that I was so here for.

For the plot, I found this to give me enough information without over loading it. There was a nice build up of the villain and his background, the larger world surrounding Medora and about how the magic system worked. I liked the way the way the plot moved through classes, friend moments, action, and more. I actually got to see Alex’s entire school year which was fun too.

I’m curious how this series will continue to expand and hope to read the next book soon.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: none
  • Violence: swords, magic, physical; not overly bloody/gory

Instagram || Goodreads