That innocent-looking girl is a goddess with the touch of death in The Sin Eater’s Daughter [Review]

John Millen |

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The Sin Eater’s Daughter

By Melinda Salisbury

Published by Scholastic

ISBN 978 1 407147 63 5

The tag line – “I am the perfect weapon. I kill with a single touch” – along with the beautiful cover and intriguing title of Melinda Salisbury’s debut novel, are all carefully designed to pull the reader into something different: it’s not your regular Young Adult fantasy.

The Sin Eater’s Daughter does head to fantasyland, but Salisbury’s new tales and twists offer surprises.

Seventeen-year-old Twylla is the human reincarnation of an important goddess in the land of Lormere. To fulfil her destiny, Queen Helewys brought her from her humble origins into the royal court.

It is believed that the innocent and naive Twylla’s touch is poisonous to anyone except those of royal lineage. Every month, Twylla ingests a unique poison that runs through her veins, making her lethal. Her mother is a village Sin Eater – someone who eats symbolic food to rid a deceased person of their sins so that they can enter heaven. Twylla was on course to follow in her mother’s career footsteps, but the Queen whisked

her away.

The Queen promotes Twylla to the role of court executioner; soon, terrified prisoners in the castle dungeons know exactly what will happen when the innocent-looking teen walks into their cell.

Salisbury spends the start of the novel building the fantasy world and setting out Twylla’s situation. It’s fairly intriguing, but Twylla herself is all situation and not much personality. She is certainly no Katniss Everdeen, and her near-blandness is a bit frustrating at times.

The plot inevitably hots up when two male protagonists attempt to stir Twylla into action. She is engaged to Prince Marek, who plans to recruit her in a coup against his evil and controlling mother. But will this push Twylla into more danger?

Then, out of the blue comes another route for escape.

A new guard is assigned to watch over Twylla: the young and handsome Lief. As Twylla grows closer to both Marek and Lief, she realises she is totally trapped, and that she has to do something drastic to survive.

The Sin Eater’s Daughter fits well into the fantasy and romance genre, and Salisbury keeps the “will she, won’t she?” plot going.

The author has a definite talent for building fantasy worlds and mythology, and despite the dull-sounding name, Lormere offers much to turn a reader into an addict.

This isn’t a ground-breaking novel, but fans of royal intrigue and romance will be entertained.

John Millen can be contacted on [email protected]