Title: The Scarecrow Queen
Author: Melinda Salisbury
Series: The Sin-Eater’s Daughter, #3
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: March 2nd 2017
The final battle is coming…
As the Sleeping Prince tightens his hold on Lormere and Tregellan, the net closes in on the ragged band of rebels trying desperately to defeat him. Twylla and Errin are separated, isolated, and running out of time. The final battle is coming, and Aurek will stop at nothing to keep the throne forever…
Explosive, rich and darkly addictive, this is the stunning conclusion to Mel Salisbury’s internationally best-selling trilogy that began with The Sin Eater’s Daughter.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
This review may contain spoilers for previous book(s) in the series.
My Thoughts On…
At the end of The Sleeping Prince it seemed like the battle was over before it had begun. Aurek sent his Silver Knight to the conclave and slaughtered the men, women and children there. He took Errin back to Lormere and although Twylla is still out there she is alone, and without an apothecary to make the potion needed to send the Sleeping Prince back to sleep.
Twylla knows she can’t stay hidden in the conclave forever. She needs to keep going; for Errin, for Merek, for Silas. Reuniting with the few survivors left alive Twylla, Sister Hope, Nia and Kirin start their journey to Tressalyn, but before they can reach it they discover the Sleeping Prince has beat them there, and that it may be too late for their short-lived rebellion.
Meanwhile in the castle under the control of the Sleeping Prince Errin struggles to stay alive and well. Holding a simulacrum that grants him complete control over her Errin can’t fight back the way she wants, and with Aurek holding the lives of her mother and Silas over her head she won’t do anything to risk them. Still she doesn’t give in. Working in secret with Merek, who is alive and hiding as a servant in the castle, Errin commits small acts of rebellion waiting for something to change, for some advantage she can use to either escape and reunite with Twylla or take down Aurek for good.
As Errin stands against Aurek in his home in any way she can and Twylla starts building her army and her resistance the Sleeping Prince works to strength his hold over Lormere and Tregellan. Errin and Twylla know they only have one chance to take down Aurek, but first they need to find one another once more.
I feel like this series has always been somewhat understated when it comes to action. There is an incredible plot, incredible characters and an incredible world but it’s a slow build to come to its peak. The Scarecrow Queen is no different. The acts of rebellion Twylla and Errin commit are small, but all come together to undermine Aurek. They both know they only have one shot, and it is more than their lives at risk, so they can’t afford to rush and make any stupid mistakes.
Twylla has to learn to become a leader in this book. In The Sin-Eater’s Daughter she was content to follow the pattern of her days that the Queen had set out before her, and even after she discovered the way she had been manipulated she didn’t want to fight back she just wanted to run away from it all. In The Scarecrow Queen, with Errin and Silas gone and most of the Conclave slaughtered, it falls on Twylla to be the leader, as Daunen Embodied she represents hope for the people of Lormere.
Her development in this book allowed Twylla to reach her full potential. She is scared in the beginning, lost without anyone standing beside her, but as the story commences we see her become a real leader to her people, like she promised Errin she could be in The Sleeping Prince.
Errin has always been a fighter but in the castle, under Aurek’s control, she needs to learn to bend to his will somewhat before he takes his anger out on the people she loves. Errin’s body is being used against her, but her mind is still her own and she uses it to resist the Sleeping Prince however she can. Despite being in a dangerous situation Errin is still doing everything she can to help Twylla from the inside, refusing to flee the castle without Silas and her mother, no matter what Aurek does to her.
Family has always been important to Errin, something evident from the moment we were introduced to her in the second book, but after everything her brother has done she can’t forgive him for siding with Aurek and putting her and their mother in danger. Lief has been a complicated character from the beginning, because of all the treachery and double crossing it’s very hard to tell what side he is on. He respects Aurek and does his bidding but at the same time he’s like Errin in that family is important to him. He clearly believes, however misguided, that the castle is the safest place for her and their mother.
There isn’t a lot of romance in this book. Silas and Errin are both separated from one another in Aurek’s castle, though Silas is never far from Errin’s thoughts and never far from the Sleeping Prince’s threats. There is a little more development to Merek and Twylla’s romance though. In the first book the love triangle between Twylla, Lief and Merek only focused on Twylla and Lief; this book brings Merek back into the picture, only we don’t just see him as a love interest but as his own character as well.
Despite everything Merek still fights for the throne and his people. He keeps his head down and hides in plain sight right under the Sleeping Prince’s nose, but it isn’t enough. He wants to take the battle further and get rid of Aurek for good, especially when he hears what is happening to his people. Merek can’t help but feel guilty, for losing the throne and for everything the Sleeping Prince has done, but it’s clear his people still love him.
There wasn’t a lot made of the setting in this book, but it didn’t feel shallow or two dimensional. A lot of work went into the world building in the first and second books which allowed this third one to focus on the battle, focus on the plot, and focus the characters themselves. There was still more to discover about Lormere and Tregellan though; we saw more of Aurek’s past, more of the Alchemists, and more of Twylla and her families role in the whole situation. The Sin-Eaters Daughter is a story that focused on the world and the characters, The Scarecrow Queen however chooses to focus on the plot, stepping back and letting the world it developed in the first two books remain in the background a little more.
Overall this has been an amazing series, and I love how it ended with The Scarecrow Queen. It was left open, there is definitely a lot left to be explored in terms of all the characters still alive, but it fit with the tone of the book. The Scarecrow Queen doesn’t give us all the answers, but leaves the space for us to discover them for ourselves.
What did you think of The Scarecrow Queen? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.