YA Weekend: The Sleeping Prince by Melinda Salisbury
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Series: The Sin Eater’s Daughter #2
Publisher: Scholastic Press (May 2016)
Author’s Info: melindasalisbury.com
Wendy’s Rating: 4/5 stars
Just look at that cover. With beautiful artwork like that, you’d expect the story to blow you away. Alas, it’s not that The Sleeping Prince, or its predecessor, The Sin Eater’s Daughter, are bad. But they are missing a certain level of oomph to truly uphold the elements the story presents. Instead, we get a slow burn — one that I have found still serves to keep me intrigued.
In the previous book, we were led through the life of Twylla, a young woman and a people tricked into believing she is something she is not. Here, we find the tricks of belief have taken a a new twist where fairy tales told to one group of people are in fact the altered histories of another. And now, the Sleeping Prince from those stories has awakened and is tearing apart the lands. This should be important to Errin, the heroine of this story, but she has other priorities. Her mother has been afflicted with a horrible illness or curse that causes her to do great violence even to her own child, but Errin’s loyalty is unwavering. Their situation reminds me of Angelfall, a book that I praised for having a young heroine who could focus on her responsibilities to her family without the high levels of selfishness that can sometimes infect YA books.
Since the disappearance of her brother, Lief, whose fate we know from The Sin Eater’s Daughter, Errin has been forced to keep her family afloat. It has hardened her, in that it is difficult for her to trust, which is reflected in the relationship she develops with the enigmatic Silas. You know how I feel about YA romance, so I’m pleased to report that this series has thus far passed the test. Errin’s distrust and her priorities means that romance does not overtake the plot, but instead, works as one of the many elements that make the story’s pieces come together in a very moving way.
Twylla makes an appearance here too. Readers who might have had difficulty with her apparent weakness before will find that she is greatly changed. Perhaps too much so, as I spent a lot of time trying to associate this new woman with the puppet princess from before. However, I finally came to appreciate that we get to see Twylla now through Errin’s eyes, rather than Twylla’s own. Once I got this perspective through my head, Twylla’s apparent personality changes made more sense.
The world building is where Salisbury falls somewhat short. There is little time spent on the details of what this world looks like, so my imagination is stuck with the basics. I’d also have liked a bit more flourish with the descriptions of the fairy tales and histories that play such a vital role. Still, the pieces and the characters in this series have wound together well enough to keep me intrigued.