Wednesday, 4 March 2015

The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

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?

Twylla is the embodiment of the daughter of two Gods and as such she is immune to poison and her skin is deadly to touch to all but the royal family, blessed by the Gods as they are. She is betrothed to the prince, lives in the castle as Daunen Embodied and acts as the royal executioner. It had a very Throne of Glass feel to it with old religion mixed in with the courtly atmosphere, belief and politics both vying for attention in this complex world.

Salisbury has created an amazing fantasy world, from the royal family and their religious court, to the ritualistic eating of sins at a funeral. A strong religious presence in books can be a bit hit and miss with me, but this never missed! I've come across sin eating before but not like this; the idea that different food represent varying sins and without the eating ceremony, their soul wouldn't find rest, was a little gross but mostly fascinating. 

The new guard Leif makes Twylla question everything she thought she knew about the court, about her life and about love. I adored Leif, he was quirky and funny and so damn cute but with everything going on, I was holding my breath, waiting for the blow back. I knew it couldn't last, as adorable and perfect as they were together, but something big was brewing and I knew that Twylla would be caught in the middle. Between Prince Merek trying to find his place in the world and the twisted Queen, determined to do anything to hold onto her power, Twylla was caught in this web of lies and deceit and power plays. Unexpected things happen, things that had me breathless. Basically: read this book!

Published 5th February 2015 by Scholastic. 

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