Reading Rate: ***
Publisher: HMH Books
Recommend if you liked: Fallen Kingdoms
I was very excited to read this story after seeing the synopsis, and this cover is absolutely gorgeous! I love trials and the idea of the prison healer was something unique but overall it fell short for me.
What I liked:
– I enjoyed the characters and the build out of their personalities even through the hardships they experienced.
– There was a lot of mystery about the world and the characters that carried through the story that I enjoyed.
What I struggled with:
– There is an epidemic within the prison that is a large part of the story. I don’t feel that it is very well timed and should be mentioned in the synopsis. I also didn’t feel it added more than filler to the story and would have enjoyed the book much more if it had been removed or reworked.
– While the story was not slow, it started to drag with a lot of repetitive scenes. I think the story could have been much shorter without losing any of the enjoyable and building elements.
– While I tend to enjoy darker books personally there are a lot if trigger warnings in this book especially for a young reader including rape, torture, self harm and the epidemic within the prison.
Without spoilers I felt the way the book ended really ruined a lot of the things that I had come to enjoy within the story. I understand it was done to create a bit of a cliffhanger and more story to have in the sequel, but for me it took the direction of the story in a direction I did not care for and I most likely will not be picking up the next book.
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.
Thank you to NetGalley and HMH Books for a copy of The Prison Healer in exchange for my honest review.