Author: Melinda Salisbury
Series: The Sin Eater's Daughter #1
Date: February 2015
Source: ARC from publisher
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Seventeen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she’s engaged to the prince, Twylla isn’t exactly a member of the court.
She’s the executioner.
As the Goddess embodied, Twylla instantly kills anyone she touches. Each month she’s taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love a girl with murder in her veins. Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to Twylla’s fatal touch, avoids her company.
But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose easy smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he’s able to look past Twylla’s executioner robes and see the girl, not the Goddess. Yet Twylla’s been promised to the prince, and knows what happens to people who cross the queen.
However, a treasonous secret is the least of Twylla’s problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies, a plan that requires a stomach-churning, unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favor of a doomed love?
The premise of this story was something that piqued my interest, as I have never read about a character who’s touch can kill. I was eager to get stuck in and discover how Twylla became the court’s very own executioner. Was this by choice? how did she feel about her position?
As someone who holds a general interest in history and culture, one of the biggest attractions of a fantasy novel is the world building. The Kingdom of Lormere is packed full of traditions, whimsical tales, and political intrigue. I loved learning about the tradition of Sin Eating, including what the Eater must consume in order to rid the deceased of their sins – a concept which is so incredibly fascinating and unique. I also enjoyed the legend of the Sleeping Prince; the story of Daunen Embodied and the secrets that lay behind the monarchy. The world was so easy to fall into, yet so complex.
Although we discover quite a lot about the royals and religious traditions, I am intrigued to know more about the lands and why the Queen’s authority and cruelty went unquestioned by society.
Whilst we’re on the subject of the Queen, could she be any more disturbing?! Feeding her thirst for power, she went to new extremes to ensure the Kingdom stayed under her authority. There was no end to her schemes – I honestly couldn’t figure out her motives; were her actions for the good of the Kingdom or for herself? She is certainly a character you LOVE to hate.
It’s brilliant to have spirited, feisty female protagonists but that’s not always the case, and for me, that’s okay! It’s not realistic for every female to be headstrong, and have the ability to control the situations they’re thrown into. Twylla believes in destiny and she has never had a real mother figure – both her biological mother and ‘adoptive’ mother were never concerned with her well being. Therefore, Twylla is vulnerable and open to the threat of those who wish to manipulate her. She isn’t weak, she just wants happiness, and this made her so undeniably relatable. What was important for me, was her development.
As for the romance, in my opinion, it worked. I think it would have happened with anyone who broke down those boundaries and who appeared to be out of the loop. She was so isolated; she needed companionship and someone on her side. Though I was intrigued by Merek and the parallels between himself and Twylla, I was always looking for an ulterior motive.
The deliciously wicked twists left no room for guesses, as the plot continued to turn the way I least expected. Those surprises kept me glued to the story and eager to read on.
Overall, The Sin Eater’s Daughter is a well written, suspenseful first novel which made for an enchanting read! I can’t wait to see what unfolds in the second installment – I’m already developing my theories!
I’d like to say a big thank you to Daphne for sending me a signed ARC of this book for reviewing purposes. I’m extremely grateful and excited to have had the chance to read this fabulous story.