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

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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

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Book Review

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: May 2021

Yay for May! An even 30 books and caught up or finished a few series! I also had my first 1 star book in a very long time.

Favorites: Raybearer, That Fine Line, Falling for Your Fake Fiancé, The Prison Healer, A Proper Scandal, Sunkissed, The War That Saved My Life, Isn’t it Bromantic?, Wait for It, Meet Me in Paradise, Amelia Unabridged

Least Favorites: The HOOK and Kingdom of Souls

  • Raybearer (Raybearer #1) by Jordan Ifueko – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Falling for Your Boss (Love Clichés #2) by Emma St. Clair – (☆☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] The Dragon and the Queen (The Raven and the Dove #3) by Kaitlyn Davis – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Seat Filler by Sariah Wilson – (☆☆☆☆)
  • That Fine Line by Cindy Steel – (☆☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Falling for Your Fake Fiancé (Love Clichés #3) by Emma St. Clair – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston – (☆☆☆)
  • The Prison Healer (The Prison Healer #1) by Lynette Noni – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • A Proper Scandal (Proper Scandals #1) by Esther Hatch – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Sunkissed by Kasie West – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • The War That Saved My Life (The War That Saved My Life #1) by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] Isn’t it Bromantic? (Bromance Book Club #4) by Lyssa Kay Adams – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Bridge of Souls (Cassidy Blake #3) by Victoria Schwab – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Blade of Secrets (Bladesmith #1) by Tricia Levenseller – (☆☆☆☆)
  • A Proper Charade (Proper Scandals #2) by Esther Hatch – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Love Unexpected (Some Kind of Love #2) by Jenny Proctor – (☆☆☆)
  • Wait for It by Mariana Zapata – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Falling for Your Best Friend (Love Clichés #4) by Emma St. Clair – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Divine Blood (Guardians of the Maiden #1) by Beck Michaels – (☆☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] Curses by Lish McBride – (☆☆☆)
  • The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren – (☆☆☆☆)
  • A Pho Love Story by Loan Le – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Shortcake by Lucy Watson – (☆☆☆)
  • The Dating Plan (Marriage Game #2) by Sara Desai – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Meet Me in Paradise by Libby Hubscher – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • The HOOK (The PAN Trilogy #2) by Jenny Hickman – (☆)
  • Kingdom of Souls (Kingdom of Souls #1) by Rena Barron – (☆☆)
  • A Proper Scoundrel (Proper Scandals #3) by Esther Hatch – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Amelia Unabridged by Ashley Schumacher – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Finlay Donovan is Killing It (Finlay Donovan #1) by Elle Cosimano – (☆☆☆☆)

How was your reading month? Lets talk in the comments!

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