Title: The Sin Eater’s Daughter
Author: Melinda Salisbury
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. 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 favour of a doomed love?
Here we have yet another book I read after meeting the author first. Melinda Salisbury was on the panel at the Fantasy and Folklore event, chaired by Samantha Shannon, at Waterstones Piccadilly. Melinda’s personality screamed through everything she said. She was hilarious, intelligent, the anecdotes of her Grandmother reminded me of my own family…and this concoction meant I simply couldn’t leave without buying one of her books. Surely a person that was so very interesting upon first hearing from her could whip up a book that I would love? Well, bless my instincts because holy smokes what a novel!
Straight away this novel hooks you with the very interesting concept of a girl being able to murder through poison in her skin. That. In a young adult novel…that spells trouble. It screams of forbidden love and all kinds of emotionally torturous mess. Sometimes I wish I didn’t read so much because it would save me all the trouble of the impending sense of doom brought on by this. Twylla, the girl who possesses this power/curse/gift is the goddess embodied and is betrothed to the Prince of the land, the future King Marek. She lives under the apparent protection of the reigning King and Queen and is at the mercy of the Queen’s will, murdering traitors at her command. She is painfully aware of the power and responsibility trapped in her skin and is afraid of herself, to begin with. Melinda’s writing allows us to get into the emotions of living with this; of desperately wanting friends and a companion but of being absolutely terrified of getting close to anyone in case she hurts them. As the novel goes on it is increasingly clear how Twylla has a lot of fight in her and is learning to be strong. She performs tiny acts of defiance and finds ways to comfort herself despite her situation.
The rest of the characters are equally interesting and layered. We have Marek, who is mysterious and brooding (and hot – at least my brain seems to think so). Then there’s Lief, determined, exciting, full of life and mischief (and also hot – damn Melinda and her hot sounding male leads). The Queen is callous, dangerous and quite frankly horrific and her husband is far too good for her. They all weave together to create an impressive and dynamic plot full of dark twists and turns, beyond even the worst fears you go through when reading any young adult novel. There are a couple of very unexpected plot twists towards the end of the novel. Up until that point Melinda had lulled me into a false sense of security, so much so that it was becoming increasingly clear that there wasn’t enough book left (you all know what I mean and you all know that horrific feelings) and I began to panic. We all know that the less pages we have left, the quicker things will go wrong – and I didn’t want that to happen to these beautiful characters. Well, guess what. The Young Adult genre bit me on the ass as usual 😂.
Seriously though, this book is incredible and well worth the read. It’s perfect to break a reading slump. The best thing about it is that it’s the beginning of a series meaning there are two more books to follow!
Happy reading, folks. Let me know below what you think of this book if you’ve read it too.