Warning: This Review Contains Spoilers
About The Author:
Melinda Salisbury lives by the sea, somewhere in the south of England. As a child she genuinely thought Roald Dahl’s Matilda was her biography, in part helped by her grandfather often mistakenly calling her Matilda, and the local library having a pretty cavalier attitude to the books she borrowed. Sadly she never manifested telekinetic powers. She likes to travel, and have adventures. She also likes medieval castles, non-medieval aquariums, Richard III, and all things Scandinavian The Sin Eater’s Daughter is her first novel.
About The Book:
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 and the queen’s, some truths should not be told…
Aspects I Enjoyed:
~Book Cover Art: I love the cover of this book, it’s the reason I picked up the book in the first place.
~Strong World Building: The author has put a lot of effort into constructing the religion, history and geography of Twylla’s world, despite being a completely different world (maybe magic or maybe mundane?), it was realistic and believable. I found the role of Sin Eater to be fascinating, I loved the food symbolism.
~Interesting Plot: The premise of the novel’s plot, a mixture of The Sleeping Prince and a Deadly Decadent Court were intriguing, however the Stupid Pointless Love Triangle takes over and pushes these sub-plots to the side.
Aspects I Had Problems With:
~Stupid Pointless Love Triangle I despise Love Triangles, mostly because they are tedious, predictable, and take up valuable narrative space that could have been devoted to the much more interesting Fantasy Plot and unfortunately The Sin Eater’s Daughter suffers from that. I kept waiting for Twylla to realise both sides of the love triangle were assholes. The Prince and Lief needed her far more than she needed them and that she was better off without either of them. My interpretation of the confrontation scene with Lief and The Prince was that both men valued Twylla’s virginity more so than Twylla herself.
~The Prince: In my honest opinion, while I understand the guy hasn’t had the best childhood, the Prince is an asshole. When Twylla was first “adopted” into the family, The Prince spent zero amount of time with her, then he went traveling around the neighboring countries for FOUR years (only coming home when he absolutely had to and practically ignored Twylla), while he was traveling (before and after he was betrothed to Twylla) he never sent letters to Twylla or bothered to get to know her until he was forced to come home. The Prince barely knew her. So his anguished declaration that he “prayed for her” and that he was in love with Twylla the entire time makes no sense and is completely unbelievable.
Either The Prince is an excellent manipulator, specializing in unnecessary guilt trips, or he’s a massive hypocrite. After all, The Prince is 21 years old (in comparison, Twylla is only 17 years old, why is this a theme in Young Adult Books?), he’s been able to make choices about his life (however limited) and he’s been able to break away from the sheltered experiences of Palace Life, something Twylla is repeatedly denied. Also, I very much doubt the Prince was celibate in the FOUR LONG YEARS he spent away from the palace.
~Evil Queen Cliche: There’s a lot of double standards and internalized misogyny involved when evoking the Evil Matriarch stereotype, especially when drawn in comparison to the Princess archetype. The problem is that the Queen isn’t just a lazy sterotype, she’s Cersie Lannister 2.0, nor does she have any likable or relatable aspects.
~Tacked On Epilogue: For me, the epilogue didn’t add anything to the story and it ruined all the hard work the author had put into the relationship conflict. Had the author left the story with Twylla pondering “Which path do I choose?” that would have been a good sequel hook, instead I was disappointed and really confused about what had happened.
Overall, I felt that The Sin Eater’s Daughter had a lot of potential however the author chose to focus on the detrimental romantic relationship aspect instead, so while it might not be aligned with my particular interests, I can see the book achieving mainstream success and popularity