Publication: 13th April 2021 – Hodder & Stoughton
At Zalindov, the only person you can trust is yourself.
Seventeen-year-old Kiva Meridan is a survivor. For ten years, she has worked as the healer in the notorious death prison, Zalindov, making herself indispensable. Kept afloat by messages of hope from her family, Kiva has one goal and one goal only: stay alive.
Then one day the infamous Rebel Queen arrives at the prison on death’s door and Kiva receives a new message: Don’t let her die. We are coming.
The queen is sentenced to 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. Aware the sickly queen has little chance of making it through the Trials alive, Kiva volunteers to take her place. If she succeeds, both she and the queen will be granted their freedom.
But no one has ever survived.
And 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 Australian author Lynette Noni comes a masterful and action-packed YA fantasy perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Sabaa Tahir.
Ziva Meridan has been in Zalindov prison since the age of seven, when she was imprisoned together with her father accused of being a sympathizer of the rebels. Ten years later, she’s become the prison healer, welcoming new prisoners and using her father’s remedies to cure her fellow prisoners. Because of her job, the other prisoners call her the Heatless Carver and the Princess of Death, but that’s how Ziva survived, by being submissive and keeping her head down, while waiting and hoping for her family to free her.
One day, the Queen of rebels is brought in. She will have to face the Trial by Ordeal, four tests that will either prove her innocence, if she passes them all, or kill her in the process. However, the Queen is too ill to take part in the trials and Ziva offers herself as her Champion. If she passes all the trials, both her and the Queen will be free. The problem? No one has ever won the Trial by Ordeal. And while Ziva is trying to stay alive during the Trial, she is also busy figuring out what is the stomach virus that is hitting and killing many of the prisoners.
I loved this book. I was completely engrossed in the story and Ziva is an incredible heroine. She is strong and determined, and, trust me, she will take you completely by surprise. She prefers to be on her own, not only because she hopes to leave the prison soon, but also because not many survive Zalindov prison, however, she finds a few friends and allies: Naari, the calm and mysterious guard who has no problem to look the other way when she needs to; Jaren, the charming new prisoner who is always there for her and who doesn’t take the hint that she is not interested in forming a relationship inside the prison; Tipp, the energetic young boy who has become like a brother to her.
The story is intriguing, well-written, and carefully-plotted and the ending is explosive. You won’t see it coming, it will shock you, and it will leave you wishing that the second book, The Gilded Cage, had already been published!
A huge thank you to Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley for providing me with a proof of this incredible book.