YA Weekend: The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury
“I’ve learned that being alone and being lonely are not the same thing. Once I was surrounded by people and lonely for it, but now I’m alone and I’ve never been so content.”
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Series: The Sin Eater’s Daughter #1
Publisher: Scholastic Press (February 2015)
Author Info: www.melindasalisbury.com
Wendy’s Rating: 3 of 5 stars
The Sin Eater eats the sins of the dead. At a funeral, the loved ones set out a meal, with each dish representing the sins of the one that was lost. The Sin Eater, with painstaking grace and care, eats those sins that the dead may rest. It was Twylla’s fate to take her mother’s place in the future, but the queen stepped in to change all that. Instead she becomes the embodiment of a goddess and her very touch means death. She becomes a weapon that the queen wields with no mercy, and Twylla meekly fulfills her role, never once questioning it.
I’ve spoken before about seemingly weak characters and the animosity that is often thrown at them by readers. It is understandable to dislike a character that seems to refuse to take her fate into her own hands and instead lets her own fear and ignorance hold her down. Such characters aren’t easy to empathize with — either because we refuse to believe we could ever be so weak, or because we have such moments of vulnerability and dislike ourselves for it. But a “strong female character” does not mean one that always overcomes everything. Sometimes, a strong female character is the one that overcomes herself. By the end of this book, I can assure you that Twylla comes to realize where she has failed herself and how she can learn to take her fate into her own hands. And, to my pleasant surprise, finding herself does not come “complete” with the involvement of any of the two love interests.
A lot of time is spent in the confines of Twylla’s mind and her chambers. Her world is a small one, but the implication by the end of the book is that it will expand — and that the magic and stories that the people believe are indeed real.
I read this shortly after reading The Shadow Queen, which similarly featured an evil queen intent on power for the sake of power, who has no qualms about hurting anyone who crossed her in even the slightest way. But unlike The Shadow Queen, here, the queen is given no depth. As the story is only told through Twylla’s point of view, there is no opportunity to see the queen as anything more than a two dimensional villain. The prince does get some air time, but it’s always nice to see more of the supporting characters fleshed out in such stories, particularly the female ones.
To be honest, this did not truly grab me — until the end when Twylla showed what she was made of and what she could be, if given time. As such, I am curious to see what will become of her and her kingdom.