Author: Melinda Salisbury
Series: The Sin Eater’s Daughter, #1
As Daunen Embodied, Twylla has been chosen as a vessel for the daughter of the Gods. Bringers of life and death, the Gods have blessed Twylla. Though immune to poison, her touch is also lethal. As executioner, Twylla is tasked with bringing justice to traitors of the Queen of Lormere. Isolated because of her ability, Twylla has no choice but to obey the Queen’s orders, including marrying the Prince. But her friendship with her new guard causes her to question everything she’s chosen to believe in.
“Moments after I’ve touched them they are slumped against the top of the table, blood streaming from their noses and pooling on the already-stained wood. I watch as a thin red river flows over the edge, spattering the bolts that pin the chairs to the floor.”
Melinda Salisbury’s The Sin Eater’s Daughter had a lot of potential and although I enjoyed it, I did feel that it could have been better in terms of characterization, conflict, and setting. I was immediately intrigued by Twylla, who is bound to the duties of executioner, but it is not something she enjoys. Her life, once in her mother’s hands, is now subject to her calling as Daunen Embodied and the Queen’s ruthless rulings. For someone who doles out death sentences, Twylla is very tenderhearted and every life she takes weighs heavily upon her shoulders.
I found the Queen to be quite the twisted character, desperate to hold on to her throne and cruel enough to inspire fear. Still, because she is characterized so unfavorably, she sometimes came across as one-dimensional. Twylla’s guard, Lief, was such a delight, breathing life into the narrative. The tentative friendship between him and Twylla develops slowly and brings her out of her very lonely shell. Prince Merek is a real mystery, on one hand he challenges his mother’s authority but there is a lot of weight to what he doesn’t say.
I would have liked to have seen more of the kingdom of Lormere and its religious customs. Aside from Twylla visiting her temple to pray to the Gods, not much is explained in terms of their role in everyday life. The conflict in The Sin Eater’s Daughter is rather understated, limited to within the castle walls and the royal family. This book had a lot of really great elements that if embellished upon, I believe, would make this book amazing.