Title: The Sin Eater's Daughter
Author: Melinda Salisbury
Release Date: February 24, 2015
Publisher: Scholastic Press
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.
The Sin Eater's Daughter is mysterious and dangerous, but unfortunately for me, another familiar story in another familiar setting.
Twylla has a sad, lonely, imprisoned voice. No illusions are made that she is in control of her situation, her being the gifted one. The embodiment of a Goddess. She's very much a tool of the queen's, very much under her thumb and obeying her every command. She was trapped there years ago through her own naivete and the queen's persuasive tactics. Now that she's older, and knows a bit better, it's much harder to escape. But does she want to? If she did, she'd return to her mother, become the next Sin Eater, but is that really what she wants? Does she want either of the futures laid out before her?
There's hopelessness in her tone, there's acknowledged fear and hatred, but because that's all there is for so long it falls flat. She keeps her thoughts locked up tight, but they don't change. She's always lonely, trapped, angry. I was missing some real passion in her voice. Perhaps I was wanting Twylla to be more overt in her anger and hatred of the queen, of her current life. Perhaps I was wanting Twylla to discover the truth behind her situation on her own.
It's a very familiar fantasy world setting. Kingdoms at war with each other. Lands with different customs and beliefs. What's not interesting but is intriguing (if that is possible) is the practice of sin Eating. The Eating itself, the meanings behind certain foods. It's by no means a glamourous position, but it plays a big part in every character's life, and their death. Considering the title, that Twylla is the Sin Eater's daughter, I thought it would be a main part of the story, but it isn't. It's referenced more in her memories of when she lived with her mother.
I think this is another book where I've read too many in a similar setting, where the characters are too familiar, where the decisions are too familiar. I didn't enjoy it as much as I hoped I would. I think I was looking for a different kind of heroine, an angry girl who took action instead of sad Twylla who recognized her trapped position but did never to nothing to escape or subvert it. As always, though this wasn't the book for me, I'm sure that some will enjoy it.
(I received an advance copy of this title from another blogger.)