The Sin Eater’s Daughter
Release Date: February 24, 2015
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Synopsis on Goodreads:
A startling, seductive, deliciously dark debut that will shatter your definition of YA fantasy. Sixteen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she’s engaged to the prince, no one speaks to her. No one even looks at her. Because Twylla isn’t a member of the court. She’s the executioner.As the goddess-embodied, Twylla kills with a single touch. So each week, she’s taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love her. Who could care for a girl with murder in her veins? Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to her touch, avoids her.But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose playful 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 a treasonous romance is the least of Twylla’s problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies-a plan that requires an 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 listened to an audiobook of The Sin Eater’s Daughter (read by Amy Shiels) and that was a huge mistake. There’s a lot of info dumping at the beginning of the novel, so it makes the audiobook seem really slow – like REALLY slow. The main character, Twylla would usually be talking about her past or the history of her kingdom and neighbouring kingdoms, which was interesting, but somehow the audio made it seem super boring.
Actually, the entire first half of the novel was boring and made me want to DNF it. I only continued it because at one point the king defies the queen in public and I knew something would go down. Usually the king and queen rule as equals, but the queen is the boss around here and is pretty much a villain. People have to tiptoe around her for fear of offending her and being put to death. The queen was actually the most intriguing character. I feel like I got a better sense of her personality versus Twylla’s. Finishing this book, I understand what Twylla is but not really who she is. I know being locked up in the castle half her life doesn’t really give Twylla the chance to get a hobby or make friends, but she still should have made a deeper impression on me than the queen.
There were things I liked and enjoyed about the book. The author infuses legends and myths familiar to the reader with her own fantasy world’s ones. For example, we hear stories like the Pied Piper and the biblical story of Adam and Eve falling from grace – although she changes a few things and doesn’t use the same names. The Sleeping Prince myth becomes central to the plot and I believe something like that already exists in our own world, which was great to read about! I also loved how sins existed in this world. There exist sin eaters, like Twylla’s mother, who eat the sins of dead people, which allows their soul to move on. This takes a huge toll on the sin eater. Twylla herself was meant to become a sin eater after her mother dies, but her destiny is changed and she becomes the goddess-embodied. I loved those two aspects! The world-building was my favourite part of the novel.
The romance was a little weird. Twylla and the prince haven’t seen each other for two years, so they act like I would expect: awkward strangers. Twylla and her new guard, Lief, however start to gain feelings for each other, but it only got weird when the guard says he’s in love with her after only knowing each other for 1-2 weeks. I liked the romance but it also had a lot of WTF moments.
Plot-wise it didn’t go exactly how I thought it would. There’s not much action and the protagonist pretty much stays in the castle for the entire book. I also expected the ending to go a different way, especially considering there’s a sequel. I did like the way it ended but the way I envisioned it was perhaps a bit more exciting haha. It just seemed too good to be true.
I also want to address the title. For the first half of the book I felt like it was a catchy title, but didn’t really relate to the novel or protagonist. Twylla’s younger sister is more the Sin Eater’s daughter than her, so it felt like those “The Tiger’s Wife/Daughter/something” titles that are nice but random. Twylla is the goddess-embodied and the future queen. She hasn’t seen her mother in years and won’t be the next sin eater. However, when I think about the last half of the book I’m a little unsure/neutral on the title. Sin becomes a more central theme during the last half.
Anyway, I did like this book and plan to read the sequel but there’s no way I’m listening to an audiobook again. In the last two minutes of the audiobook, creepy music starts up which was about the only good thing it did for me – it made me really excited for the sequel. Final verdict: if you don’t mind info dumping, you’ll probably like this. I wouldn’t recommend the audiobook.