'The Sin Eater's Daughter' by Melinda Salisbury
I bought this book last year after my friend recommended it to me, and I finally decided to start reading it at the end of last month, because her second book 'The Sleeping Prince' was being released (IT'S OUT NOW!!), and she was coming to my city on her book tour, so me and my friend booked tickets and I got reading. (P.S. I never actually got to meet her, as my friend couldn't make it, but next time hopefully!). My aforementioned friend had been nagging me to start this book for months, telling me how crazy and dramatic and exciting it was, and I was dismissive initially, but promised I'd read it at some point, and boy am I glad I did! Everything she said is completely true, it's all of those things, with twists and shocking moments and cute and romantic moments and I couldn't put it down. Before I get into the nitty gritty, I'll give you a synopsis, and a further little summary of what I thought, then I'll get into the spoilers and the craziness!
'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...'
The book has so many aspects to it that I liked. Twylla, the protagonist, was a well written and complex character, I like how she was strong, yet still vulnerable, I found that that made her relatable and realistic. Similarly, all of the characters are extremely complex, which made the story very exciting, but also meant it was more believable. The story lines and relationships between the characters were also very complex and interesting, particularly Twylla's relationships with the rest of the characters e.g Leif, Merek and the Queen. Over all, the novel was extremely well written, and I found that it was well paced, as it never felt rushed, yet I didn't find myself bored at any point. I would certainly recommend the book that anyone who loved young adult fantasy, especially for fans of books such as the 'Throne of Glass' series.
I highly suggest that if you're yet to read the book, that you stop reading about now - if you haven't already. I'm not going to discuss everything that happened, just some of the bigger things that happened - mostly towards to end.
Firstly, and very importantly is... Leif/Twylla or Merek/Twylla!?
As I said previously, Melinda is very good at adding complexity to the relationships and characters, and rather than making one man good and the other not so much, both men have their flaws and both their good points, so I was constantly changing my mind.
Merek seemed sweet to Twylla, and he was interested in her music, but then sometimes ignored her, and he was quite rude to Leif occasionally. Whereas Leif was also sweet, and seemed dedicated to Twylla, he was strong and protective and wanted to run away with her. Both seemed to want to looked after her, which I thought was nice, but it also made it hard for me to choose. Although I liked Merek, I thought I had come to the decision that I shipped Leif and Twylla, however at the end everything I believed shifted.
After it was revealed that Twylla was not in fact poisonous, and when Merek was apologising for not telling her, and then when Leif asked her to run away, I found that although I thought I shipped Leif and Twylla, I didn't want her leave with him, and to leave Merek behind. This was of course furthered when Leif's lies were revealed, and I was shocked and slightly heartbroken, but at the same time I was slightly relieved that they weren't going to run away together and leave Merek.
On the theme of romance and love triangles, I like the fact that when Twylla had the choice between these two men who loved her, she doesn't choose either. I love that she is a strong independent women, and doesn't need either of the men - although Merek does need her, so I'm glad she made the promise to help him when the Sleeping Prince comes.
I also liked the character of the Queen (obviously I didn't actually like her, but I enjoyed reading about her, she made the story interesting/exciting). I understand that she was ever so slightly insane, and the fact she planned on marrying her son repulsed me, but I still liked that she was so strong and powerful, and I like the drama she brought with the whole sleeping prince, pied piper (technically the 'bringer' but it was pretty much the pied piper) and killing the king. I also found it interesting that we never learnt her name, even though she was referred to by the King (also unnamed) and Merek, who in a normal situation, as her son and husband would have certainly called her by her name at least once (but I mean I guess she was evil and they hated her and all that...).
I've read quite a few reviews on goodreads since I finished the book, and I'm surprised that I found so many negative reviews, because I loved this book so much, and I can't wait to read The Sleeping Prince. I've given this book 4.5 stars (5 stars on goodreads, but .5 isn't an option so I rounded up), and 100% recommend it! xo