THE GILDED CAGE, by Lynette Noni, Clarion Books, Oct. 12, 2021, Hardcover, $18.99 (young adult)
Roles are reversed when a former prisoner moves into the palace in Lynette Noni’s The Gilded Cage (sequel to The Prison Healer).
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. —Synopsis provided by Clarion Books
If you have not read The Prison Healer, then you need to. The Gilded Cage is a strong, sometimes infuriating, read that will have you eagerly awaiting the third installment of this series.
Author Lynette Noni is great at setting the scene, and in The Gilded Cage, the world in which the book takes place gets much bigger and the stakes are higher. And yet, the intimate feel from The Prison Healer remains.
As The Gilded Cage progresses, a feeling of dread follows. It’s sort of like watching a car accident in slow motion. You essentially know what’s going to happen — minus the finer details — but you can’t look away. And yet, it’s those finer details that make the story stand out. It’s those twists that set it apart and suck all the air out of the room. They’re why I am frustrated the third book isn’t out now.
Kiva is a strong character that you want to succeed, even while you want to yell at her for some of her decisions. But the book isn’t just about her. Noni has done an excellent job of fleshing out her supporting characters, which bring depth and brightness throughout.
The Gilded Cage is a fast and engrossing read that old and new fans of Noni’s writing will likely gobble up.
© 2021, Cracking the Cover. All rights reserved. Unless otherwise noted, all books — digital and physical — have been provided for free by publishers in exchange for honest and unbiased reviews. All thoughts and opinions are those of the reviewer.