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The Sin Eater's Daughter Paperback – 5 Feb 2015
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Deliciously dark, high-concept fantasy. I read it in two breathless sittings. --Fiona Noble, The Bookseller
Salisbury has created a complex world peopled by vivid characters to deliver a novel that has it all: betrayal, romance, politics, danger and a series of twists that will leave you breathless. --The Mail on Sunday
Salisbury has a talent for worldbuilding, populating her world with shiver-inducing legends, original customs, and political and religious debates. --Publisher's Weekly
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I read many reviews about The Sin Eater's Daughter trilogy, and I do love a good romance, and I am a fan of trilogies in general, so I decided to buy the first installment, and based on that will decide whether I want to read the whole thing.
I was delightfully pleased by how much I enjoyed it! The story is super interesting, and the characters intriguing. I loved the heroine, Twylla, and I loved how real she was. She didn't have to pretend to be a hero, she wasn't your usual tough warrior princess. She was just an ordinary girl, who was dealt a crappy set of cards and was trying to live with her decisions and luck. Twylla has the gift (or curse) of killing someone with a single touch. She has been responsible for many executions, including that of her best friend, who was found to be a traitor (allegedly).
When her personal guard gets sick, she is assigned a new guard, Lief. Now, we immediately know, that Lief is the love interest in the story. At first, Twylla is more interested in the prince, and somehow yearns for his attention, but as the friendship between Twylla and Lief blossoms, she becomes more and more drawn towards Lief. Their romance was powerful, the love fierce, and absolutely wonderful! I had butterflies in my stomach, my heart skipped a beat, and I loved them together so much!
However, everything is not all rainbows and butterflies, and there is a lot of betrayal and struggle and death. The Queen, also the antagonist, is a disgusting human being, and you will feel so much anger and hate towards her. The final twist at the end will leave you gasping for air, and letting out a piercing, Leonardo Dicaprio scream, "NOOOOOOOOOO!"
Suffice it to say, I ended up promptly buying books 2 and 3.
Need to know what happens next. Now.
Blessed by the Gods, Twylla has poison in her veins, and unless you have blood Royal enough to stomach or avoid it, you will be dead within moments of her touching you. Treasonous followers beware. Except Twylla suffers at the hands of her own gift - responsible for so many deaths, the weight can be too much to handle, particularly when you are unable to even touch anyone for mere comfort. But it is the Gods will; isn't it?
The Gods also deign to drop a handsome love interest at her door - sneaky Gods (but not much of a love triangle so don't worry). This story is fundamentally a forbidden lovers tale as Twylla resolves to escape the confines of her murderous job - although there are some cool concepts woven throughout as well. The world building is clever and kept me interested although at times could have had more explanation, like the Sin Eating concept. But I liked imagining how Twylla's curse/gift manifests itself, figuring out if the Queen was up to no good, and I loved hearing old tales regarding the background of the Kingdoms and it's people. This added real weight to the story and made it much more fantastical and fleshed out!
Unfortunately, the strong start drifted into a more predictable plot twist and finish. The romance becomes centre stage, pushing out the potential for more plot twists and better thought out forks in the road, leaving a disappointing ending in its wake. I started the book glued to the pages, but I could have guessed the second half and saved a few hours. A shame, because the foundations of the ideas were definitely all there, sparkly and perfect, but better suited to those more invested in romance than plot.