Monday, February 16, 2015

ARC Review: The Sin Eaters Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

Title: The Sin Eater's Daughter
Series: The Sin Eater's Daughter #1
Author: Melinda Salisbury
Published: February 24, 2015 by Scholastic
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: 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 received an advance copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion ****

Lately I have been trying to convince myself that I am not in a reading slump. Nothing has blown me away since mid-December and most of the books I have read have been very "meh" for lack of a better word. But if I was in a reading slump, this beauty snapped me right out of it. The Sin Eater's Daughter is truly brilliant! Melinda Salisbury's writing is both beautiful and impactful. She manages to create a truly unique and captivating world with an engaging plot and characters to populate it. So far this epic Fantasy debut is my favorite book of the year, I loved it!

The world of The Sin Eater's Daughter is deep and complex but far from overwhelming. It is a complicated world full of history and mythology that comes to a head through the course of the novel. Salisbury builds this world expertly with a fantastic show instead of tell style of introducing the reader to everything. We slowly learn about things and our understanding of the world grows with the plot. And what an interesting world that it is. It's dark and ominous. A fact the author accentuates with a grim and haunting tone that both captivates and engages.

I'm the kind of person who likes to figure out the twists and I've become pretty good at solving them. But this one caught me completely off guard. From the character's sudden and inevitable betrayals, to the author's brilliant plotting and subtle clues along the way, it all built to a mind blowing conclusion that left me reeling! I can't remember the last time a book left me this torn up with an ending. I wanted to rip it apart for being so good and so exciting. And it wasn't just because of the cliffhanger.

The plot of this book is far from being fast-paced but it is seriously never dull. At the beginning of the book I would have said that it is more character-driven. I would have said it's a coming-of-age story about a girl learning that the world isn't what she thought it was, it's far more sinister. But that's what they want you to think, and it is so much more. It draws the reader in and takes them on a ride through a fantasy world that is complex and captivating. The lack of thrills in the plot build a more suspenseful sort of story where you're waiting for things to happen because you know something is coming, you don't know what it is but you know it's coming. The exposition worked to build and engages you into the story without you even realizing. And then before you know it, the plot has been kicked into high gear and you're picking your jaw off the floor. The last sixty pages were all kinds of exciting and by then I couldn't put it down.

I also really enjoyed the characters in The Sin Eater's Daughter. The main character of Twylla was incredibly sympathetic and likable. She's not your typical Fantasy heroine, the strong female protagonist. She's more of a reluctant hero, one whose power and prestige is used for other people's gain. She's like Sansa in ASOIAF (who you may know I adore). As the book developed that became more apparent and my feelings of affection for her grew. She's got a fantastic inner strength in the face of adversity and I love that about her. She has great development throughout the novel and I was cheering for her to succeed and find that strength. But there are also a host of complex and odious secondary characters. There was a fantastic and truly sinister antagonist whose true diabolical nature didn't really get revealed until the book's climax. Even the romance here worked for me despite definitely having a love-triangle. But despite the fact that it seemed to obviously lean in the direction of one character, it still worked. It mirrored the character's choices of who she wanted to be and become.

The Sin Eater's Daughter was a truly epic read. For the creative and ominous world, to the unique and intriguing, to the complex and likable characters I loved every second of reading it.

I give The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury 10 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: BUY! The Sin Eater's Daughter is a brilliant first book in a new fantasy series by a debut author. It's a must read for fans of Young Adult Fantasy. It had elements of some favorite and amazing fantasy novels like A Song of Ice and Fire, the Grisha trilogy, and The Young Elites, but it was a story all it's own. It was absolutely fantastic and wonderful and you should absolutely read it!

Have you read The Sin Eater's Daughter? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. Great review! I am so excited to read this book!

  2. I just got finished gushing about how excited I am to read this book when I noticed your review. Now I want it more! So happy that you loved this book Cassi, it just moved up my TBR! Thanks for filling me in =)

    1. Excellent! *said in the style of Mr. Burns*

      I'm glad that you are really excited about this one. I wasn't super pumped going in but this one blew me away. It was one of those books where I finished and just sat there for a minute with my mouth open thinking about how good it was. I hope you love it!

  3. Oh man you're making me want to read this more! I love trying to figure out the twists too and usually I think I'm pretty good haha. Now I'm hoping I'll get blown away like you :D

    1. Yes, this one caught me off guard. Like I'm not sure if there was a red herring or I was just focusing on something else but it was seriously great! I hope you get blown away too.

  4. Well alright then! Haha! I've been on the fence about this one. On the one hand the cover is gorgeous! But on the other, fantasy is so hit or miss. I'm definitely going to be getting this one as soon as it comes out! Great review :)

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

    1. Read it Tracy, it's so good! I went into it not as excited as I was at first because I'm in a bit of a book slump but it was fantastic. It's a great start to a new Fantasy series and I think you'll really like it!