Thursday, October 29, 2015

All Things Halloween Review - The Sin Eater's Daughter

The Sin Eater's Daughter (The Sin Eater's Daughter, # 1)

By: Melinda Salisbury

Published: February 24th 2015 by Scholastic Press

336 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Source: Publisher via Edelweiss (Thank you!!)

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository )

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Goodreads description--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?

How beautiful is that cover? The cover is what pulled me in. I actually saw this on Edelweiss for review and decided not to request it. But then I started seeing it everywhere, and I started to wonder if I was missing out. So I ended up going and requesting it. About the time I received it, the ratings started coming in. And the ratings were…less than positive. Specifically, I remember Rachel @ Paper Cuts stating that she thought overall it was a slow book. She gave it 2 1/2 stars. And so I put off starting it. This year has been a slower reading year for me and getting bogged down in something that is going to take me too long to read isn’t ideal. But The Sin Eater’s Daughter fit into two categories for me. 1) It’s a review book and I need to read and review it as soon as possible since I’m way past the release date. And 2) it falls into the paranormal, fantasy, magic category needed to qualify for an All Things Halloween book for my October reviews. Turns out, I had one last review needed when I decided to pick up The Sin Eater’s Daughter.

I read the first 50-55% fairly quickly. I can definitely see where the story development was happening rather slowly, but I was interested. And I was even beginning to wonder if this would be one of those books where my expectations had been so low that I ended up enjoying it more than I thought I would. But….that didn’t happen. At the 55% mark things started getting…um…annoying. That’s the best word I can think of to describe it. There’s a love triangle that felt too obvious. Truthfully, everything that happened from this point on felt either obvious or forced. There were plot points that were supposed to be twists but only served to make me role my eyes. Twylla began to really annoy me. And the conflict just felt too easy.

Melinda Salisbury created a world that was unique and relatable at the same time. Set in the world of kings and queens and castles. Yet she created gods and legends around Lormere and its neighboring nations. Part of that is Twylla’s role. She is believed to be the daughter of a god and goddess embodied. Proof of that is in the fact that she can drink poison and not be harmed. Also, she can kill with the single touch of her hand. And such a nifty talent has her basically serving as the executioner for all who commit treason against Lormere. She hates her duty, but it is what she was called to do. Part of her role is also that she is betrothed to the prince who has been away for the last two years studying and learning about the politics of the surrounding kingdoms. Because he’s not been at the court, Twylla and Merek haven’t had an opportunity to really develop a bond. They know each other, but not really on a personal level.

Killing people with just the touch of your skin kind of puts some distance between yourself and others. Twylla basically has no friends at court. She’s been taken from her family—her mother, the nation’s Sin Eater (which is part of the legend and lore created for this story) and her sister and brothers—to live in the castle where she’s used as a tool. Only the royal family can touch her because they are also blessed by the gods. But the prince has been MIA and the queen resents her. Everyone else steers clear of her. Except her gaurds. When the guard she’s had the longest falls ill, her newest guard begins to dig deeper into who she is. He’s essentially the only person she even has to talk to so it makes sense that feelings begin to develop there. Personally, I’m kind of over the storyline where there’s an arranged marriage that the characters are fighting. I want to read a different spin on an arranged marriage story.

And then there’s the ending. On the one hand, things were way too neat and tidy. On the other hand, there were way too many twists and turns. The epilogue was totally ambiguous and I found that I couldn’t root for any ending because everyone had annoyed me beyond reason by this point.

While I normally don’t get hung up on the title of any one book, having read this book The Sin Eater’s Daughter just did not seem like the appropriate title. Yes Sin Eating was a fairly common topic throughout the book. And yes Twylla was the daughter of the Sin Eater. But this book wasn’t about Twyalla being the Sin Eater’s daughter. She left that life. She was now the embodiment of the daughter of the god and goddess. And Twylla had left the life of Sin Eating as well. She was now the executioner and future queen of the kingdom. The title just didn’t fit the actual story even if it did sound good.

In the end, I found more to complain about than I did to like with The Sin Eater’s Daughter. I enjoyed it up until the 55% mark but things went rapidly downhill from there and stayed in the valley for me throughout the remainder of the book. I don’t want to be too harsh, but I can’t say that I liked this book at all. The Sin Eater’s Daughter gets 2 Stars. Have you read The Sin Eater’s Daughter? What did you think? Let me know!

This review is part of my All Things Halloween event--a month of paranormal, supernatural, mystery/thriller, etc reviews and books.

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