Synopsis:

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.

Review:

This hurts. A lot. 

That’s the review, lol. I am kidding, but that’s pretty much how I would sum up this book. Don’t worry, I will tell you more about The Gilded Cage, the brilliant sequel of The Prison Healer. But truth is, I was in pieces at the end of this book and I should warn you before you pick this up, you should prepare yourself to be destroyed. Also, if you haven’t read The Prison Healer you should not read this review as it contains spoilers of the first book. 

The Gilded Cage takes place a little after the events of the first book. Kiva is out of Zalindov prison, protected by Jaren, who is also the current heir to the throne. The same throne Kiva is secretly plotting to take, as she is trying to get revenge on the people who destroyed her family (so yeah, you know, Jaren’s family). Kiva is finally reunited with her long lost brother and sister but, while her feelings for Jaren keeps growing, she often questions her allegiances and loyalties. 

In this sequel you will get both sides of the story, you will get to meet the whole royal family but also Kiva’s remaining family’s side. Like Kiva, you will probably struggle to pick a side. I was personally not ready to like Caldon so much and he is possibly one of my favourite characters of this series (and I’m sure he will become your next new fictional boyfriend). And I was also not ready to like Kiva’s brother, Tor, so much. 

It is a solid sequel, it raises the stakes of the first book, it introduces many new amazing characters, and you get a glimpse of the world outside Zalindov and the royal ruling family. Compared to the first book, you can expect a different pace and less action, as this story is mostly focused on politics and family issues. Because of the way it ends, I have high expectations that we will continue to explore this world in the next book and get more entangled with all the lies and plotting of this world.

It answered lots of questions posed at the end of The Prison Healer, which was my favourite part, I love it when I don’t have to wait until the very last chapter of a series to know what I need to. While some secrets were finally told, this sequel will just leave you with even more mysteries and plots to unravel. The ending will kill you, I’m sorry, I can’t sugarcoat it. It’s such a great story so far, Lynette Noni is such a mastermind, the writing is super engaging and the plot twists are so unexpected, it was difficult to put it down (even if I had the urge to scream and throw my kindle at the end). 

I have to admit, there were moments where I wanted to shake Kiva and tell her to wake up, but it was a difficult journey for her and I felt how she was questioning everything she was doing and feeling. She was a character split in two and I felt for her during the whole book. Finally, I feel the moral obligation to add that the slow burn romance in this book is ridiculously good. 

I am sure that if you loved The Prison Healer, you will definitely love the sequel as well. The Gilded Cage is more about the politics around Vallentis and Corentine family members. It was what I was expecting from this sequel and so much more. I want book three right now, please.  

Thank you so much Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley for an e-copy of this book. The opinions above are my own.