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?
I’m not a big fantasy reader. You could say I’m not even a small fantasy reader too because in reality, I don’t read fantasy AT ALL. I’m a very visual person, which makes me question why I came to love reading as much as I do but that’s for another discussion. Anyway, like I said, I’m a visual person so I find it hard to imagine completely new worlds out of just words. That’s why I prefer sci-fi and time travel because anything grounded in science I can manage. That’s why I like dystopia because it’s usually just the status quo but with something amiss or missing and imagining that is easier. The shallowest reason I guess on why I don’t read fantasy is that I don’t fancy reading something where people wear stifling dresses and breeches and court outfits (say hello to the historical fiction nonreader here). But maybe, just maybe, everything has changed because of The Sin Eater’s Daughter. *cue Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran*
This book is the first book I ever finished in my finishing-a-book slump that lasted for 1.5 months. I think that says a lot about this novel. The pages flew by me and I really made time to read it even if I was busy as heck. I never wanted to put it down and I kept on reaching for it to read at all times. One of my colleagues even told me to chill out as I was groaning in despair and shock and excitement in the corner couch after office hours.
So where should I even start? It’s probably safer for my sanity (and ultimately, yours) for me to just discuss aspects of the novel one at a time. So here goes!
Worldbuilding. Shucks, I don’t know if I’m just a fantasy newbie but I was so enchanted and along for the ride with the world Mel crafted for this story. We got a kingdom governed by a queen and a king, who are viewed as the embodiment of the gods. The monarchs in here are divine and thus, their word is not just law, it’s the word of the gods. In this realm, when a person dies, his/her family must prepare a feast that will represent the sins the dead has done in his lifetime. Now, the sin eater must eat this feast and only if all the food have been eaten and the dead spared of his/her sins, only then can its soul leave the realm. Or else, it is destined to roam the forests and it will never be granted peace.
I LOVE THAT. I love all the mythologies incorporated into the kingdom. More than anything, I thought I’d roll my eyes on Twylla having that one special power among all the lands. (I’ve been hating on books with THE PROPHESIED ONE.) But surprisingly, I was so down with it and it was all because of the build-up of everything — the history of Twylla being the sin eater’s daughter then the Daunen Embodied, the explanation, the rules of this realm, our characters, everything! The author surely took her time with teasing us with details. Flashbacks and memories of Twylla are interspersed with the present timeline to give us a deeper look into the kingdom and to the characters as well.
Most interesting of all to me, our heroine. Twylla kills anyone she touches. As Daunen Embodied, she takes a cup of morningsbane every Telling (month) and the poison stays in her body. Anyone she touches will die. Then there’s also alchemy and tales of a sleeping prince. I just love everything about the world, okay?
And while some people found the first parts of the book a bit of an info dump, I never felt it. For me, every detail was delivered at the exactly right time.
Characters. Twylla was such an engrossing character to me. She’s not perfect and more often than not, she forgets that she was once a poor citizen and she forgets to be thankful for all the riches and luxury she has. But make no mistake, she makes mature decisions. That’s why I dig her. I was honestly surprised how I wasn’t irritated with her AT ALL. I also appreciated how she still feels and reads like a teen to me. I found Twylla an interesting character with her motivations, regrets, and her questions. I was just behing Twylla every step of the way. I wanted her to be on top.
Merek, the prince, is betrothed to Twylla. Having spent the last two years learning about other kingdoms, he’s ready to rule the kingdom whenever that time arises. He’s suddenly paying Twylla attention. Is it because he truly finds her remarkable or is it all about politics? But then as Twylla spends more time with Merek, she discovers the boy and not the prince. His fears and problems. The things he hates about being royalty and what he wants to change in his kingdom so it’ll prosper. While kind of boring, Merek as a future king is something I want to read more. He’s very dedicated to his people and he’s very logical and merciful.
Then we have Lief. Everyone in the kingdom fears Twylla and even those who can’t die with her touch (the monarchs) don’t dare touch her or even go near her. Except Lief. He’s her new guard from another kingdom and he’s a skilled fighter. I always ship the guard and it was no surprise that I preferred Lief over Merek and all the upcoming betrothal fiasco. There’s just something that tugs me toward the protector, the one who cares and truly knows the heroine. In this case, Twylla feels free around Lief and they become friends and then more as time goes by.
While the boys aren’t as dimensional as I’d like them to be, Melinda Salisbury blew my fears and reservations out of the water near the end of the book with TWISTS! (And hopefully more characterization in the sequel.)
TWIST GALORE! Oh good lord, I can’t remember how many times I panted and closed the book just to breathe. The twists just kept on giving me shocks and I LOVE THAT. What I accepted as truth was never true in the first place and everything was just awesome. I can’t comment on more because even saying that it is very twisty feels like a spoiler but holy moly, GET ON THIS TRAIN.
Romance. MEHEHE sexy times! While it’s not graphic in any way, thank you so much for sexual tension and sexy times, Mel. HEHEHE I remember tweeting that I need a fic because I NEED MORE OKAY?
The Sin Eater’s Daughter will be remembered as that fantasy book that however improbable, got me out of a slump. Me! The one who doesn’t read fantasy! Oh dear lord, the readability of this book! It was so engrossing and it had me hook, line, and sinker. At first, I was only along for the ride as it was mostly a look into this tumultuous moment in Twylla’s life as a lot of changes are occurring. I was interested in the world and the characters, alright. But at the end of the book, all the twists and turns Melinda Salisbury delivered made me so obsessed with the story that I tweeted nothing but this book. Seriously, I NEED THE SEQUEL. WHAT THE HECK WILL HAPPEN? In the meantime, send fics my way, please!