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.”

The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

SeriesThe 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.

17 Comments on “YA Weekend: The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury”

    • I’m very picky about YA, so when I find one I like, I have to shout its praises and protect it, even when it does have flaws. I can report that I’ve read the second book now and quite like it!


  1. Just for once a YA-themed book with no need for the usual tropes – for this alone I might try it 🙂
    And it’s true, sometimes we require our characters to be strong and proactive, but – as I can infer from your synopsis of the book – this particular character’s knowledge has been severely curtailed, so she knows no better. This could make for an interesting journey…
    Thanks for sharing!


    • She realizes how much she has allowed to happen to her by the end so it becomes a matter of what she does with that knowledge. I can happily report that I’ve now read the second book and really like it! It focuses on a different heroine, one who is again not typical. And I am so happy about romances that aren’t central to the story and aren’t used to define the women!!!


    • It was horrible and it had enough potential for me to pick up the second, which I am quite pleased with and will be continuing on with the series.


  2. I read this quickly, but I spent most of it yelling at the protagonist. She needed to wise up and take charge of her own story! I read it when it first came out, but still haven’t gotten to the sequel. I’ll be interested to hear what you think of it.


    • I have seen several negative reviews that focus entirely on admonishing the character. I had to get a little mama bear about that, as I did with The Host, because there’s a very real concern with victim blaming.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I remember reading this book, a few years ago! I also remember not liking it very much, though I don’t remember much of why. I’m sure I detailed it in a review somewhere. I really wanted to love this book – I mean, it sounded awesome and THAT COVER. Sadly I didn’t continue with the series. But I’d love to know how things went down, in the next two books. I’m glad you somewhat enjoyed this one, Mogsy!

    Have a lovely week. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!


    • The covers really are beautiful! It’s not the best book in the world, but I liked many things about it. I’ll report back shortly on The Sleeping Prince.


  4. I had a similar experience with this — I don’t think it’s the strongest book I’ve ever read, but at the end I am left curious. Honestly, I felt the same about the second book.


  5. Pingback: YA Weekend: The Sleeping Prince by Melinda Salisbury | The BiblioSanctum

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