Why I Checked It Out: I read a blurb on “The Sin Eater’s Daughter” by Melinda Salisbury and learned it was an up-and-coming, stand-alone fantasy release. This is refreshing because most fantasy novels these days are written as part of a series, and sometimes waiting for the next book can just be too stressful! I didn’t find out until later that Salisbury had signed on for second, and a third title, until after I’d finished the book, and by then I was so pleased with the read, it didn’t matter to me anymore that it wasn’t actually a stand-alone, but the first in a trilogy–but don’t worry, the ending is still neatly tied up, and if you want, you can read only “The Sin Eater’s Daughter” and feel satisfied–there’s no crazy cliff hanger ending here.
What It’s About: Twylla is a Goddess embodied. Each month she must take a poison to show that she is special, and each month there’s a chance the Gods will turn against her, and instead of living, she’ll die. The poison Twylla takes also makes her touch deadly to anyone but the royal family. The Queen, believing it is Twylla’s job, forces Twylla to use her deadly touch to kill traitors to the crown. And, Twylla hates every moment of it.
When the Prince, Twylla’s betrothed, returns to court, the Queen’s crazy behavior becomes even more erratic, and suddenly Twylla is trying to figure out what it means to be a Goddess embodied. When her belief is forced into question, Twylla must decide what she truly wants in life beyond what she is simply ordered to do.
What I Liked About It (And, What I Didn’t): Salisbury is not a fast-paced writer. She draws you in by slowly dipping you into the present, then the past, and beautifully working the two together until you know Twylla inside and out. This didn’t bother me–I enjoyed a break from the rapidly paced books that are so popular right now–but, other readers might not agree with me and find the book too slow for their tastes.
Similar Titles: If you are looking for other stand-alone fantasies, try these: “The Scorpio Races” by Maggie Stiefvater, “The Space Between” by Brenna Yovanoff and “Beastly” by Alex Flinn. All three share a darker, more sinister, fantastical aspect.