13 Feb 2016


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...

When I first mentioned to a book group that I hadn't exactly been overwhelmed by The Sin-Eater's Daughter there were gasps and exchanged glances that made me instantly feel that I hadn't understood the book and was a complete moron. As I began to explain my reasoning, though, I think I earned back a little of my bookish respect.

I firmly believe that, whether we want it to or not, our enjoyment of a book can be skewed by things we have just read, thing's people have told you about it, and how much hype it has had. The problem for me is that the day before I started it I had been involved in hosting the lovely Melinda Salisbury for an event and had heard quite a lot about the The Sleeping Prince, the new and second book in the series, which sounds pretty awesome by the way.

I found myself loving the event, getting all excited and thinking, 'it's been sat on the bookshelf for a good year now, let's give it a go'. So I did. And I'm not saying that I didn't enjoy it exactly, just not a lot happens. Salisbury herself has admitted that it is primarily a set up for the rest of the series and I can understand why it is the way it is, but that doesn't mean I enjoyed it more for knowing. I have a stupidly short attention span so prefer my books to have constant twists.

The gist of the the story is this: Twylla can survive the intake of poison but it sits in her skin, meaning that she poisons everyone that she touches. This makes her a fantastic pawn for a maniacal Queen who enjoys using Twylla to execute court traitors. It feels like Grimdark with your standard YA tropes: a bit of romance and the obligatory love triangle, secrests and lies, and a good bit of vicious murder (even though you don't get to actually witness nearly enough of it).

So, nothing really happens until the end of the book. Twylla is protected from everyone in her court on the off chance that she might touch and kill them, so you don't really get much multiple character interaction. Also, because her destiny is well and truly mapped out for her, Twylla has no reason to be an actual person; to have dreams or ambition, or to say anything remotely interesting. There was no room in the storyline for her development early on so I just didn't care about her. I didn't care that she was a pawn in a courtly game. I didn't care about any of the romances. Lief and Merek, her love interests were ok, but they were also rather undeveloped because of Twylla's inability to ask questions or leave the immediate vicinity so I didn't really care about them either, and when the twists did come I'd reached a deep level of disinterest.

This review isn't all doom and gloom, however. Salisbury has created a fantastic world in The Sin-Eater's Daughter but in this book you will only be tantalised with it. You'll be staring at it longingly from behind the window in Twylla's tower until at least the second book.  It is also swathed in Magic and Folklore, and if you love myths and legends then you'll love where she's going with it. There are some great little stories in it, some of her own creation and some with hints of existant myths, such as The Pied Piper

I didn't think this book was bad, just boring. And that isn't to say it has put me off the second book, because it hasn't, but the second will be the deal breaker in our book relationship. I don't give many second chances.
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