Young Adult Book Review: The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

Title: The Sin Eater's Daughter
Series: The Sin Eater's Daughter #1
Author:  Melinda Salisbury
Genre Type: Fantasy, Magic, 
Publication Date: February 24th 2015
Source: Publisher
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Summary from Goodreads:

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? 


Favored by the Gods. Executioner. A killer. The Queen's Weapon.

The Sin Eater's Daughter immediately caught my attention with its vivid and dramatic cover. Its summary fired up my imagination with a girl who has poison in her veins and can kill with a mere touch. 

I was completely excited over this debut and with a few exceptions in the romance department, found The Sin Eater's Daughter to be an enjoyable read with unexpected twists and a killer ending that left me anxiously waiting for book two. 

Twylla is part of the royal court of Lormere where she serves as the Daunen Embodied. A role believed to be a favored one of the God and Goddess, one that not only brings blessings but, a harsh sentence for its  benefactor to bare. Twylla's touch is poisonous. One touch, one fleeting brush against her skin and death results. She is the queens executioner. Betrothed to the Queens son whom she hardly every sees, one of the few whose royal and blessed blood ensures her touch is not a threat, she lives a lonely and solitary life. Until her new guard arrives and sees the girl within and is not afraid of her nor her deadly gift. Suddenly the Prince has returned to the royal court and seeks out Twylla as his future bride, and a new danger from the queen herself leaves Twylla balancing on a knife's edge. Everything she has been led to believe will be tested.

One of my favorite aspects of this story was learning about the mythology behind Daunen, and what that incarnation means. The strange cellar with alchemical potions brewing and poisons being taken are awesome in a scary way. The Queen is mad, vicious and conniving. A perfectly villainous character that nearly steals the show. I can't resist a well-written and evil villain to boo for!

Our protagonist Twylla at first comes across as detached and subservient, but I soon warmed up to her when I saw that it was all a facade to protect herself from the Queen. Chosen by the Gods as Daunen Embodied it was easy to sympathize with her as she is forced (the story reveals why she would accept such a fate) into a role as the queens executioner. Lonely without love or even simple comfort of another's touch, I could understand the temptation her new guard brings to her heart, and the surprise she feels at the attentions the young Prince begins to lavish upon her. Though there were few times I wanted to yell "No, no, don't do that" at her!

The romance was surprisingly not my favorite aspect. Not because it seemed to be a love triangle, for Twylla clearly has eyes and her heart set on only one guy, but because it felt too easy or contrived. I couldn't help feeling suspicious when all I wanted to do was swoon. I SO wanted to feel it, but for me it wasn't happening.

Through some dark twists and vicious deeds by the Queen, Twylla has to stand up to the challenges she faces. In the end, as I flipped to last pages, I thought she made a strong heroine, an empowered one that rose to the challenge. The ending left me breathless and eager for more.

The Sin Eater's Daughter combines a fascinating world filled with unique mythologies, unpredictable twist and a heroine whose touch brings death itself. This is a series I'm interested in know more about and will be keeping my eyes out for book two.

My Rating: 4.0 Stars. I really liked it!

PLEASE NOTE: A courtesy review copy of this book was provided by Scholastic Press  in exchange for my fair review. Thank you, Scholastic Press for the review opportunity!