Published: February 24th 2015 by Scholastic
Format: Paperback, 336 pages
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I am the perfect weapon. I kill with a single touch.
Twylla is blessed. The Gods have chosen her to marry a prince, and rule the kingdom. But the favour of the Gods has it's price. A deadly poison infuses her skin. Those who anger the queen must die under Twylla's fatal touch.
Only Lief, an outspoken new guard, can see past Twylla's chilling role to the girls she truly is.
Yet in a court as dangerous and the queen's, some truths should not be told ...
I really enjoyed The Sin Eater’s Daughter! It combines a few refreshingly unique concepts with a cool fantasy world and some interesting characters. It has its flaws, but I could overlook them because of its conceptual brilliance and lush storytelling.
Twylla is Daunen Embodied, the reincarnation of a mythological figure who can kill with a touch. Only the royal family, including the crown prince she’s betrothed to, are immune. But for all her power, Twylla is a prisoner. The queen is a manipulative, psychotic individual who keeps Twylla trapped by threatening her family. Prince Merek is a stranger, and the new guard Lief seems to understand her as no one else does.
Authors always say that the love triangle isn’t just about the boys, it’s about the choices a heroine has to make, it’s about who she wants to be. This is one of the few times where I felt that the love triangle truly represented two different fates for the heroine. The story is undeniably driven by the love triangle, but it’s more about Twylla than it is about the boys. Plus, neither of the boys ends up being quite what we thought, and Twylla’s choice in the end is one I wish more heroines made.
The plot of The Sin Eater’s Daughter is surprisingly complex given then that it’s Salisbury’s début. It’s slightly predictable in that it basically asks itself “What’s the worst thing that could happen now?” and then goes with that, but this means it will probably surprise most readers with respect to how far it’s willing to go.
I loved the magical concepts in this book. Alongside the mythology of Daunen Embodied there’s the idea of Sin Eating – when people die there’s a ritual of consuming and erasing their sins so they can go to the afterlife. Twylla’s mother is a Sin-Eater, and she was training to take her place when she was taken to the castle as Daunen Embodied. Lief, who hails from a neighbouring country and doesn’t have the same religious views as Twylla, calls these two concepts into question brilliantly in one of my favourite sequences in the novel. And then there’s the story of the Sleeping Prince, adding a bit of dark fairy-tale flair to this already intriguing world. I’m looking forward to finding out more in the next book.
There is, admittedly, a lack of action in The Sin Eater’s Daughter. Some readers might feel that the book is slow and that nothing really happens. I didn’t find it so – the book is more focussed on introspection than action but I feel it suited Twylla’s position. She’s powerless despite the great power she holds, but when there is a need for action, she rarely hesitates. She’s not self-sacrificial. She wants to live, she wants to survive, and I don’t think that’s so bad. She’s selfish and tends towards self-pity, which I also liked because it made her seem more real.
It may not be a book for everyone, but I really liked The Sin Eater’s Daughter and I’m looking forward to reading The Sleeping Prince, which will focus on Lief’s sister Errin. The cool magic and interesting setting kept me turning the pages, and I even enjoyed the love triangle.