Title: The Sin-Eater’s Daughter
Author: Melinda Salisbury
Series: The Sin-Eater’s Daughter, #1
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: February 24th 2015
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 as the queen’s, some truths should not be told…
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
My Thoughts On…
This was the second time I picked up The Sin-Eater’s Daughter. In preparation for reading The Sleeping Prince I thought I’d better go back to the first book which I honestly couldn’t remember a lot about before jumping into the second. There’s not too much I can say about the plot without risking major spoilers. This book is very much about Twylla’s character development which I thought was brilliantly written. The plot is slow to start but it’s detailed and it promises a much more in depth and fast-paced story with the second book.
For years now Twylla has lived in the castle, betrothed to the prince. As Daunen Embodied, the daughter of two gods, Twylla can survive any poison but her touch kills any who come into contact with her. For years she has been used to kill the traitors to the throne and for years she has been isolated from the world, no one to turn to but the two guards who follow her every step.
However when one of her guards is reassigned, as many before him have been, Twylla meets Lief. Lief who is not from Lormere, Lief who refuses to keep a safe distance from Twylla’s poisonous touch, Lief who is determined to get Twylla to open up to him.
Lief makes Twylla question everything she knows and everything she has believed for the past few years. He comes with his knowledge and ideas from another country and turns Twylla’s beliefs on their head. It’s why the story was about her character development and why I really enjoyed the route it took. Twylla struggles with what she learns but she is drawn to Lief, to the only person in the castle who seems to reach out to her.
Meanwhile though, there are threats buried beneath the surface. Everything looks fine but there is a darkness bubbling underneath that puts Twylla’s life at risk. There are fairytales waking up which could mean the end not only for Twylla’s life in the castle as the prince’s betrothed but the lives for every single person in both Lormere and Tregellan.
Twylla has spent the last few years believing she is the daughter of two gods reincarnated once more. She has dedicated her life to her gods, to her Queen and to her country, bringing the people hope from her presence. She does her duties as she is asked, at least until Lief appears in her life. As Lief sheds light on some of the lies Twylla has wrapped around herself she starts to question everything. Twylla knows the castle isn’t safe, knows the Queen cannot be trusted, but with everything Lief is revealing it becomes even more dangerous for her within its halls.
One of the things Twylla struggles with the most is her religion. She has always believed in the gods but with Lief’s arrival she starts to question her faith. I loved the way this was written, all of Twylla’s thoughts were so deep and twisted as she struggled to reconcile her beliefs with what she is seeing with her own two eyes. Twylla is not a perfect character by any means, she can use threats and cruelty to turn people away, but she changes a lot in this book and I loved the journey she went on.
Lief is something of an unknown character to Twylla when he is first introduced. He is from another country and she cannot work out why the Queen has trusted him to guard her. But there’s something about Lief that draws her to him. He doesn’t know much about being a guard; he walks too close to her, always seems to have questions and always tries to engage her in conversation when he shouldn’t.
As a Tregellian Lief doesn’t believe in the gods, and it was interesting seeing through his eyes everything that happened to Twylla and everything the people of Lormere did to worship. The relationship between Lief and Twylla was a slow one to build. Twylla is still betrothed to the prince and she’s never had someone pay her the attention Lief does. She tries pushing him away but eventually there’s something about his warmth and personality she can’t avoid anymore.
The prince has been travelling for years and has only just returned home; he doesn’t believe in what his mother is doing and wants to change the country for the better. He reaches out to Twylla, tries to reconnect with her after his years away. He believes that with the two of them on the throne they can make the country great again.
There’s something of a love triangle in this book between Twylla, Lief and the prince, but in my mind it was never a real love triangle because from the beginning it was obvious who Twylla was more drawn to.
The world this book was set in was richly described but what really set this book apart for me was the background details. The history of all the Kings and Queens who had sat on the throne before, the tension between Lormere and Tregellan from a decades old war, the Gods the people of Lormere have worshipped their whole lives and the myths and legends that are a part of that – myths and legends that still have their power today, though people have forgotten they tell the stories of very real people – and of course sin eating. Despite the fact that Twylla left her mother’s craft behind when she became Daunen Embodied much of her life still revolves around it. When she thinks of sins she thinks of the food her mother ate left on the coffins, when she thinks of her mistakes she thinks of things she learnt as her mother’s apprentice.
I loved this book just as much reading it the second time as the first. Although there isn’t much in the way of the plot the detail that goes into the character development, Twylla’s journey and her growth, and the world building is more than enough to keep you hooked until the very end.
What did you think of The Sin-Eater’s Daughter? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.