The first in a new Young Adult Fantasy Series, “The Sin Eater’s Daughter” by Melinda Salisbury is a book that had me intrigued from the cover and the synopsis. It was one of those books I picked up and put down, and picked up and put down – and then finally took the plunge and read. I actually thought it was more middle grade – but this one is definitely in the MATURE Young Adult category. The novel has a quick start, and it plunges you deep into a fantasy world and sets up a dark and dastardly plot that will have your head spinning. Then leaves you hanging in the end…
If you are a fan of the Young Adult fantasy genre, with gems like the series penned by Sarah J. Maas, Sabaa Tahir and Victoria Aveyard this book might be for you. Set in the fantasy world, with a “different” type of female lead, this book has everything it needs to be a hit: love triangle, evil antagonist, plot that leaves you guessing , and a rich and imaginative world.
The novel starts out fast, with the heroine Twylla lamenting about her life and the world she lives in. She is the Sin Eater’s Daughter, conscripted into a fate that is almost worse than death. She is the child of the God’s, chosen to be the incarnation of both death and life. Her touch kills, infused with poison, her skin is the ultimate weapon. The only people that can touch her are the royals, also blessed by the Gods. She is their weapon and one day she will be the prince’s wife.
Her life is spent in prayer and reflection and once a month she swallows the draft of poison to show she is still blessed by the Gods. Then she must kill any treasonous prisoners…then back to prayer. All fear her, she has no friends and holds on to the idea of her sister back home and that her position in the castle is helping her live a better life.
That took a lot of explaining. But, in the story you are kind of plunged into it. I understand the issue, the author didn’t want to info-dump, but even with the modicum of information, it did turn into an info-dump. I didn’t mind, though, I liked the world the author built. It was interesting and had an entire religious background. It was very “epic fantasy” but it was shoved into a “buzz” YA Fantasy – so the balance was off. You’ve got to pick which way you want to go. This world, and the authors writing might have been better served in an adult fantasy, with about 200 pages added to it.
That being said, the YA part of it, the character, the love-triangle and the naive evil background plot, were almost ridiculous at times. With everything that happens in the book, I should have been an emotional wreck by the ending, but I wasn’t. I wasn’t emotionally attached to the characters or impacted by the romance. I felt like the book was hurried, I was told what emotional reactions the characters were having and then the final climax was from left field. The character came to a conclusion that wasn’t flushed out and to add suspense to the book – the secondary characters reached their own conclusions that was not discussed at all. Which basically sums up the entire book. There were all these things happening – outside of the telling of the story.
Overall, I thought the idea of the book was excellent. I liked the concept of the religion behind the story. But, I think the author missed connecting that idea to the dynamics of the characters. Which in a YA novel, the characters, the romance and the tension between the world + characters + romance is what makes it. But, a lot of people love this book – so I might just be being picky. Judge for yourself.
I received this book for free from Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda SalisburySeries: The Sin Eater's Daughter, #1
Published by Scholastic Press on February 24th 2015
Source: Amazon Vine
Alternate cover for this ISBN can be found here
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...