Reviewed: May 9th, 2021
Release Date: January 7th, 2021
Genre: YA Fantasy
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.
Kiva is a really sympathetic character, who Noni crafts lovingly. Having been incarcerated since she was a child, when she was imprisoned with her father, you do wonder why her mother or her sister never claimed her as she committed no crime, just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The Zalindov prison is truly a horrific place, and Kiva has learnt to survive by not allowing anyone close, that is until Jaren arrives. He wheedles his way in to her good books, turning up at the infirmary whenever he isn’t working in the mines. He is a really nice character though you don’t know why he is incarcerated in the prison, nor why he gets on so well with one of the guards. There is a lot you don’t know!
At last word arrives that she is going to be rescued, but only if she keeps the seriously ill rebel queen alive. Kiva really has an unfair lot in life, and you would think she would be bitter and resentful, but although we see glimpses, she is still determined to help whoever comes to her for help. With the rebel queen sentenced to the trial by Ordeal, she is so ill, she would never survive the trial, so Kiva volunteers in her place, which is truly amazing as the rebel queen does not seem like a particularly nice person. There is no way Kiva could survive the first trial, and the divine intervention is frustrating, as the reasoning behind it is a little far-fetched considering the political situation. But persevere, all is not as is seems and the book only gets better and better.
This story is so well written, you want to learn more about the characters and find out who they really are. There is obviously something going on that we don’t know, so you have to keep reading to figure it out and the end is so satisfying. An excellent YA fantasy read.
About the Author:
Lynette Noni grew up on a farm in outback Australia until she moved to the beautiful Sunshine Coast and swapped her mud-stained boots for sand-splashed flip-flops. She has always been an avid reader and most of her childhood was spent lost in daydreams of far-off places and magical worlds. She was devastated when her Hogwarts letter didn’t arrive, but she consoled herself by looking inside every wardrobe she could find, and she’s still determined to find her way to Narnia one day. While waiting for that to happen, she creates her own fantasy worlds and enjoys spending time with the characters she meets along the way.
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If you enjoy fantasy books then you will love my book which is available in eBook or paperback: Sentinals Awaken. My second novel Sentinals Rising released March 17th 2021. Sign up to my newsletter and download a free novella called Sentinals Stirring and get notified when my next books are published.