Review: The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda SalisburyThe Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury
Series: The Sin Eater’s Daughter #1
Published by Scholastic Press on February 24, 2015
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
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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 went into The Sin Eater’s Daughter expecting to love it and give it all the stars. It had everything I could hope for in a book – The court/castle setting, the mythology, gods and goddesses.. What’s not to like? Unfortunately, I didn’t end up enjoying it as much as I had hoped to. While I loved some aspects of this book, there were certain things that annoyed and confused me.

My biggest issue with this book was that I felt very detached from the story and the characters. And since I’m very character-driven, that always spells trouble for me.

I wanted to love Twylla because of who/what she was supposed to be. But, honestly, nothing about her stood out to me. I neither liked nor disliked her. She had some moments where I really rooted for her and felt like she was finally coming into her own, but then she would do something really stupid or frustrating and I’d be annoyed with her all over again.

I absolutely adored Lief from the very moment we were introduced to him. He was charming and kind, yet bold enough to speak his mind with Twylla. He didn’t fear her and he treated her like a human being instead of a goddess or, worse, a monster. And then that ending… Wow. I really don’t even have words for that ending because I just can’t believe it.. That was – in my opinion – the second biggest plot twist in the book and I didn’t see it coming at all. I still have hope though..

Merek was a frustrating character. I wanted to like him.. And he didn’t really do anything to make him unlikable until the end, and even that has an explanation. Yet.. I don’t know. I just didn’t swoon over him. I definitely shipped him and Twylla more than Twylla and Lief. Yet I didn’t feel as many swoons as I would have hoped to feel.

Obviously I couldn’t stand the queen. She was so incredibly vicious, cruel and power hungry.. Honestly, almost all the women in this book were cruel and conniving. The king didn’t seem like a bad guy, though. I wish we could have gotten to know Tyrek more. And Dorin. I almost cried at that one moment with Dorin..

Detachment from the characters aside, the other issue I had with this book was how confusing it was, especially in the beginning. For the first few chapters, I had NO IDEA what was going on. It was like we were thrust into this world and nothing was explained and nothing made sense and I had no idea what something had to do with anything. I stumbled my way through and, eventually, understood enough to get through the book. But I think I would have enjoyed it more if it hadn’t been so confusing.

Bouncing right off that frustration, the writing was also an issue. At times, it was wonderful; smooth and flowing, dragging me into the story and refusing to let me stop reading. At those times, it definitely felt like one of those books where you keep saying “just one more chapter” and you can’t stop reading until you’re forced to put the book down. At other times, the writing felt choppy and flat and I struggled to get through a single chapter.

For all the reasons stated in the above two paragraphs, I feel this is the kind of book you need to read a second time in order to catch what you didn’t understand the first time. I think if I were to read this a second time, I’d pick up on more things and enjoy it a LOT more.

All that said, I still enjoyed this book. The mythology, though confusing at first, was intriguing and – at times – creepy as all hell! I’m fascinated by the Sin Eating and would love to learn more about that. Though we did receive a lot of detail on the different food, I’d love to learn more about the whole ritual in general. Also, I think it would help if the book had a page with a key, detailing which foods stood for which sins. A lot of that was thrown at us and I couldn’t keep track, so it would be handy if there was a page the reader could just reference as the need arises.

The biggest plot twist in the book only partially shocked me. There were enough hints that I was able to figure it out. Despite that, it – as well as the second major plot twist – really kept me on my toes, trying to figure out what would happen next. And one thing that happened at the end shocked me in a good way and gave me a feeling of justice.

But then the very end.. The epilogue… I know this is supposed to be part of a series (supposedly), so some things are going to be left open and unanswered. But even so, that epilogue was so odd and left me feeling completely unsatisfied. I’ve never been more frustrated with the ending of a book.. That said, I do truly hope we get a second book because I need more! I need to see what happenes next for Twylla, Merek and Lief. I need to know if things get resolved and what that ending means for all of them. I’d even settle for a short novella to wrap things up, if we can’t get a book two for whatever reason.

Overall, despite feeling confused and being unable to connect to the characters, I still did enjoy this book. I think if I read it a second time, I would understand more and enjoy it more. I would definitely read book two if it came out and I would definitely recommend this book because there seems to be a pretty firm divide between those who loved it and those who didn’t love it, so I highly recommend reading it and forming your own opinion – you may end up loving it!