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The Sin Eater's Daughter

The Sin Eater's Daughter

Written by Melinda Salisbury

Narrated by Amy Shiels


The Sin Eater's Daughter

Written by Melinda Salisbury

Narrated by Amy Shiels

ratings:
4/5 (215 ratings)
Length:
9 hours
Released:
Feb 24, 2015
ISBN:
9780545857734
Format:
Audiobook

Description

A startling, seductive, deliciously dark debut that will shatter your definition of YA fantasy.

Sixteen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. Although she's engaged to the prince, no one speaks to her. No one even looks at her. Because Twylla isn't a member of the court. She's the executioner.

Goddess-embodied Twylla kills with a single touch. So each week she's taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love her. Who could care for a girl with murder in her veins? Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to her touch, avoids her.

Then a new guard arrives—a boy whose playful smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he's able to look past Twylla's executioner robes and see the girl, not the goddess. Yet a treasonous romance is the least of Twylla's problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies—a plan that requires an unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favor of a doomed love?

Released:
Feb 24, 2015
ISBN:
9780545857734
Format:
Audiobook


About the author

Melinda Salisbury is the author of The Sin Eater's Daughter, The Sleeping Prince and The Scarecrow Queen. Her novel The Sin Eater's Daughter was nominated for multiple national and international awards, including the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, the YA Book Prize, the Carnegie Medal, and the Edgar Awards Best YA in the United States. She has also collaborated with seven other bestselling and award-winning young adult authors to create Floored.


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4.2
215 ratings / 29 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    Intense and highly-imaginative start to what seems like an amazing trilogy.
  • (4/5)
    The Sin Eater’s Daughter (The Sin Eater’s Daughter #1) by Melinda Salisbury is a wonderful story that I stayed up all night to read. I enjoyed this read and it was different and fresh fantasy. It was slow in parts but the plot, characters, and world building was great. Great suspense, twists, and a touch of romance along with this strange world. I got this book from the library.
  • (4/5)
    3.5/5 stars. Twylla was the Sin Eater's Daughter. Then she was the avatar of a god and the fiancee of a prince. Her very touch is poison to everyone except the royal family, her duty is to execute traitors. She's isolated and lonely, keeping even her personal guards at a distance, and she lives in a court where cruelty and harm are ways of life. When her fiance returns she's afraid that to marry him will be like marrying his mother, the Queen who thinks nothing of killing those who displease or irritate her. She's also becoming involved with a guard who is working hard to convince her that her touch won't kill. This is a book of identities and betrayals, of despair and hope, and it was great.
  • (5/5)
    Spoiler alert!You know the books who plays with the reader? Be ready for everything. The cover goes far in interpretation, very intriguing.The truth is it is easier to rule the kingdom when its people has something to believe. So they have Dounden Embodied, the God's daughter who has ability to kill when she touches someone with her hands. She was brought to the castle as executioner to those who traits the kingdom. People fears her, she fears herself to kill some one by accident. She hates what she has to do as she loses the only friend she had in years... She grows up having no friends, nobody to talk except the Gods, to pray to keep safe her beloved ones, dreaming that once she can be united with her sister again and thinking she has to be strong to bear whatever it asks her now.. All she has to do is to be loyal to Queen, she is, but not in her mind. As every kingdom has its own bureaucracy this one doesn't go without one, you can be the queen but you must have the king. Everyone has to believe in Sin Eater, Dounded Embodied just like in our world where people actually believe in God and are getting mass influenced by the fake leader leading them into their own plans for greediness and unfairness to the others. This book has underneath structure, its powerful with characters, their roles, their feelings, their betrayal in every other corner, their defeat for the structure or some one else's plans..This kingdom is set in the world where neighbor counties have no kings who rule the nation and no Gods exists. The greedy queen who is miserable and goes beyond her ability to achieve the best of the best by her own lies, her intrigues and secret schemes. I felt so much for the main characters, couldn't decide whom side do I take and then I was surprised by each climax corner the narration took me. The books shows there is an alternative to every story, to every truth you think you know for sure..
  • (4/5)
    A fun YA fantasy read with a few interesting twists. The narrator is a teen girl who is believed to be the embodiment of a godless - one with the ability to kill with a single touch. Only the royal family is safe from her touch, which places Twylla in a precarious position in the royal court. This book has a slow start, but the story definitely picks up about mid-way through and the author set everything up nicely for a sequel. Fun reading!
  • (4/5)
    I think this book delivers in so many ways.It's setting seems like a fairy tale in a Grimm-like land. As the queen's puppet living in the castle, Twylla has been chosen to use her weapon of deadly touch as executioner for (trumped-up) crimes of treason against the state. Religion makes a mark in the storyline because the gods have given Twylla this ability and she often prays to them. She also has been betrothed to the prince, Merek, who's been raised on royal tradition but returns from his journey of "progress" with a more open world view and knows there's something rotten in his homeland. And then of course there's Twylla's truth-telling guard, Lief. He's more than just Twylla's protector, he is her confidant, and points out to Twylla how the monarch queen uses the power of propaganda to keep her subjects, and Twylla, in line. He loves Twylla and she returns his affectionate even though she's to marry the handsome and likeable prince, Merek. It's a love triangle, and there's even a bit of Shakespearian theater when Merek challenges Twylla's guard, Lief, to a fencing dual. I won't be a spoiler and tell how that goes.Twylla, Merek, and Lief are three well-fleshed out characters. Yet it's mostly Twylla's story and what I liked best about her --- she's smart, willing to learn from mistakes, and has the patience to wait for when the time is right to make her move towards freedom. Besides that, she solves a murder mystery.My takeaway, this is a YA book with many elements and a well-veiled message. It's all about the abusive use of power and it's so subtly played that you almost miss it.
  • (3/5)
    Twylla isn't like other seventeen year old girls; she's the embodiment of the daughter of her people's gods. She ingests poison at regular intervals mixed with her blood to prove her divinity and keep her powers that allow her to kill people with a touch. Her origins are much humbler than her present life. Her mother was a Sin Eater, one who eats a feast representative of the deceased's sins in order to purge them and allow the dead into the afterlife. Her whole childhood was taking care of her sister and learning to be the next Sin Eater. Now, Twylla lives a rich, but lonely life with the king and queen of Lormere. The queen is cruel, irrational, and volatile. She kills at a whim and manipulates those around her into silence. Because of her abilities, almost everyone fears Twylla and stays away from her. She's set to marry the prince who she barely knows and eventually rule her country as its queen. Then she meets Lief, her new personal guard. He treats her like a normal person and they quickly becomes close. Who will she choose? Will she abandon her destiny to have the life she really wants or will she attempt to save Loremere?The first thing that drew me to this book was the gorgeous cover. The second was the cool premise. Twylla (I kind of hate this name) is the embodiment of the offspring of her gods, which is kind of complicated. The gods are the embodiment of day (Daeg) and night (Naegt), where the female night steals from the day out of jealousy. She commits the first sin and must be punished. Although it reflects many real life religions, the misogynistic myth bothered me, especially when the two main mother figures (and 2/3's of the main female characters) are one dimensionally awful and cruel. Anuway, Twylla has dedicated her life to the gods and, by extension, to the royal family who claim to be chosen by the gods. Underneath her piety and dedication, she's just a teenage girl. She wants normal things like friends, a real family, and a life she actually wants to lead. All of her life, her mother figures have told her what to do. Her biological mother chose her as the first born to take up the mantle as a Sin Eater. When presented with the opportunity, Twylla chose to abandon her family and become Daunen Embodied, but once there, the queen's whims command what she does: who to poison, who to marry, where to go, etc. It's only natural that Twylla falls for one of the first people to treat her like anyone else and see through all the craziness. Much of the book was quite atheistic which is pretty rare to see in teen fiction. Lief points out how his country values science and logic over religious fairy tales. They are more technologically advanced and have made more advances in medicine than Loremere has dreamed of. Loremere's royal family uses religion to placate the masses and solidify her place as ruler. Things were going terribly when the queen's brother/husband died and she saw Twylla as a away to legitimize her place by citing the gods' will in Daunen Embodied. There's this whole weird thing with Loremere where the bloodline must be pure and siblings have married for years and years. It's convenient that the royal family has no physical defects after generations of inbreeding. This part seemed a little clunky and I felt it was only included to ride on the popularity of Game of Thrones with their incestuous Lannister family. Anyway, I appreciated that religion is used for a sinister end here and shows that the religious leaders aren't exempt from committing horrible acts. This is especially relevant today.Overall, The Sin Eater's Daughter is an interesting book that takes on unique subject matter and explores different themes than usual in YA. I dislike the misogynistic elements of the book and I also hate that this interesting story boils down to a love triangle. It's such an overused trope at this point and it takes away from the novel. I would definitely read other books by Melinda Salisbury because the things I liked left an impression.
  • (2/5)
    Kind of a plodding book where very little happens until the last twenty pages. I really liked those last twenty pages until the epilogue which... I... didn't like.

    I dunno, the romance wasn't believable and the magic never actually made any sense and this was all just kind of flat.
  • (5/5)
    This book was not what I was expecting and I mean that in the best possible way. Although it was recommended to me by someone who's taste I trust, I read the blurb and was just struck by how similar it sounded to Graceling. While there was definitely a similar concept their, I enjoyed The Sin Eater's Daughter so much more.I do feel that this story will divide audiences. The plot, although refreshingly free of many the typical high fantasy cliches, did not really have a lot of action. Instead, it followed a lady of the court who was initially oblivious to political tension and social decay that was occurring around her. In a way, it was almost like witnessing a typical medieval fantasy from the perspective of an outsider who had minimal influence over the events. And I just found that fascinating.Twylla is a very relatable character. While she was very naive at the beginning of the tale, she quickly began to grow as a character as plot twists uncurled around her. While I did initially find her to be a little pathetic and inactive for a heroine, I quickly realised that she was merely strong in other ways. While she is not an active YA heroine like Katniss or Katsa, she is not facing an enemy who can be overcome by force alone. The choices that Twylla eventually makes are all emotional sacrifices - boiling down largely to choosing between personal happiness or duty to her country - and for me this made her feel more human than a lot of fantasy protagonists.The secondary cast were also very enjoyable. I liked that there was not really a love triangle between Twylla, Merek and Lief (although both loved her, she only really showed any interest in Lief). I also really loved the flashbacks of the Sin Eater. Her presence was felt throughout the story in the way that memories of her influenced Twylla's beliefs and sense of ethics. The Sin Eater was such a powerful character and her sections often carried very poignant messages.The only character that really disappointed me was the Queen. Although her actions are explained late in the story, for the large part she was just insane and power hungry. This, for me, did not make her all that interesting. While her actions were often shocking, I just like to see a bit more to a villain than the ability to commit atrocities. She felt a bit like a wicked stepmother.But, weak villain aside, I would recommend this book to everyone who loves character-driven fantasies. I can't wait to read the sequel.
  • (4/5)
    This was a free download though the summer Sync program. I was happy to see it was labeled fantasy so it fit the PBT for June. I also wanted to check it out to see if it was appropriate for an 11 y/o granddaughter. The story is interesting to listen to, the reader did a fine job. The story included romance, the heroine being rescued, fairy tale type, but also included kissing, passionate kissing, lying in bed together--clothes off compromising situations. There is some violence but not with great detail (knowledge that people are being hunted by dogs). There is the premise that there are no god(s) and the idea is useful for people that need to believe and a way to control the people. So a parents should examine those issues before they have their children read the book. What I did like was the ending. It confronts the issue of females needing a shining knight to rescue them when they can do it themselves and that being alone is not the same as being lonely. A great thing for young ladies to learn. For that reason, teens might benefit from reading this book.
  • (1/5)
    What a disappointment. This book could have been chopped in half for how long it takes the plot to actually start (169 pages into my 311 page ARC). Not only is it short on plot, but the story is populated by half-baked characters living in a half-baked world.

    Twylla, the bland main character, broods all day about the fact that her touch kills people, which is repeated umpteen times per chapter in case you forget. I didn't like anyone involved in the love triangle. Lief’s silly trademark tongue-peeping-out-of-teeth smile that so enraptured Twylla had me thinking of him as reptilian, maybe a gecko. Not sexy. You can see the twists coming a mile away; the only unsuspecting person is Twylla. The ending is no good either, flimsy an full of flip-floppings.

    All in all, this story falls completely flat. It was like watching two lovebird snails race towards each other from opposite sides of a basketball court, then when they’re halfway there one faints from exhaustion and the other rushes the rest of the way to their side. Slow.
  • (1/5)
    Not good at all! Just a repeat of Graceling.
  • (2/5)
    If I had to use one word to describe the plot, "convenient" would be that word.

    (more to come).
  • (3/5)
    First off I have to comment on the book cover. I don't usually but this is what first drew me to this book. It is eye catching and bright. Second the summary of this book sounded different in a good way. While I did like this book, I felt that it did suffer some from being book 1 in a series. What I mean by this is that there is a fine line where the author has to find how much to give away. You don't want to give too much away for fear that the next books won't live up to the hype of the first one but at the same time if you don't give away much then the book will be dull and no one will want to read the next books. Twylla is cool and the idea that she is a sin eater of souls or executor. Yet I felt like her talents were not the main focus in this story. So I was let down some as I really wanted to get to experience what Twylla could do. Also, not jiving with the romance at this time.
  • (5/5)
    very good lots of plot twists exp at the end. last four chapters. amazing!!!
  • (2/5)
    Very weak story, lot's of lose ends. The narrator has a beautiful sweet voice totally unsuitable for men, evil characters or any other emotion other than sweet and weak.
  • (5/5)
    Such a good book. Lots twists and turns with an interesting magic system.
  • (5/5)
    D: In the end.. Wha.. I-
    So she just went on to live alone??? I'm so sad. She had such a sad life and, ugh. I can't believe I listened to this so thoroughly. My feeeelings. The audio was 100/10, I loved it.
  • (5/5)
    Holy crap! I couldn't put it down! This has easily become one of my favorites!
  • (2/5)
    The narration was amazing, but I've rarely suffered through the antics of more indecisive and infuriating characters. The story would have held it's draw and drama just as well, if not better, without Twylla constantly NOT speaking her mind without Leif and Merrick constantly leaping to ridiculous conclusions. Overall, I enjoyed a lot of story but was left feeling annoyed by it.
  • (3/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    What started as a truly inspired fantasy world-builder quickly deteriorated into a predictable and wholly unoriginal love triangle. It seems that novels starring a female protagonist are wholly incapable of doing without a love interest let alone a love triangle. It became stale and formulaic fairly quickly. I'm just extremely grateful that it didn't fall victim to the fantasy-sin of the obligatory trilogy.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (2/5)
    The background was well laid, albeit a bit slow. I chose not to finish this one for two reasons; there was premarital sex, and an athiestic world view (which I believe reflects the author's perspective of the real world).
  • (3/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    I have mixed feelings about this one. The characters seemed real, the setting was pretty great. There was a lot to like about the book. There was also a lot I didn't like about it.

    Twylla is the embodiment of the daughter of the gods. Her beautiful singing voice and ability to execute those who commit treason with a single touch make her both revered and reviled. She is taken to the castle at a young age, betrothed to the prince (whose family line generally sticks to inbreeding to keep it "pure") and her family is taken care of in return. But all is not as it seems, and when the new guard becomes more than her protector, Twylla is faced with some terrible decisions that could bring the whole kingdom down.

    Twylla is only 17 in this book, and as such, she is quite immature. I get it, she's been pretty much locked in a tower for years, bereft of human contact on account of her skin being poisonous. Her growing relationship with Lief, the young new guard is understandable. He dares to get close when no one else will. Of course, something turns in their relationship and it seems to lean to the more abusive and codependent side than the sweet romance I hoped for. By the end, I was totally rooting for the prince, though his aloof attitude seem strange given his later confessions. Merek, alone, seems like an unrealized character to me.

    The action is pretty steady in pace, though it definitely picks up towards the end. Some of the actions and motivations kind of fell short for me. When the author throws in some twists at the end, I'm left feeling that the ending threat is a bit unbelievable. It felt like the author spent the better half of the end tearing down the infrastructure of the world, only to resurrect what was little more than a fairy tale to create a new threat.

    And then there's the epilogue. It does little to whet my appetite for the next book, and just left me with a feeling of dissatisfaction.

    Much of the story was good and clever, and it isn't a dull read. If you like a tidy ending, however, I suggest you either have the next book handy or skip this one altogether.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (2/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    A young woman is a goddess embodied, no mortal can touch her or they will die instantaneously. A young prince returns to his homeland, ready to ascend to the throne. A guard from a foreign land is assigned to protect the goddess embodied, keeping secrets of his and hers. You can guess what the rest of the book looks like from here.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (3/5)
    Plot: sixteen-year-old Twylla has lived in the castle of Lormere, the goddess-embodied, whose touch can poison and kill, and hence the Queen's executioner--but when Prince Merek, her betrothed, who is immune to her touch returns to the kingdom she finds herself caught up in palace intrigues, unsure if she can trust him or the bodyguard who claims to love her.Conflict: Twylla’s love for as oppose to her betrothal to Merek; questions of her power and how it is usedReview: There’s a big reveal I didn’t see coming and one that is presented too early in the story; it takes the energy out of the story; I wasn’t satisfied with the ending. It felt weak and somewhat abruptly. Recommend: yes
  • (4/5)
    This was one of the audio books given away SYNC during the summer. It’s about a girl who never questions the beliefs in her kingdom.Twylla is the daughter of the sin eater although that’s not particularly important. What’s more important is that she executes criminals merely with a touch. In this fantasy world, the people are taught about their gods and led to believe the Queen and King are superior above all, deserving of their devotion. Twylla was selected by the Queen at a young age to support their religion. She cannot be poisoned. She proves monthly of her ability by ingesting poison and not dying, but it makes her poisonous. She is also lonely. No one pays attention to her because they fear her. She is surrounded by guards but still remains lonely. She’s engaged to the Prince and will one day be queen but is still lonely.Circumstances change when a new guard come on her protective detail and smiles. He’s charming and actually talks to Twylla. It’s only them when her main guard becomes ill. This relationship is forbidden. As Twylla discovers truths about the kingdom, she must choose between her duty and a possible love.An interesting novel, I’ll grant you. I basically liked it. There’s a love triangle, and the reader is supposed to prefer one male over the other. I thought the other male was more interesting. This was book one, and I would like to see where it ends up by reading more. I might have a more definite opinion about the novel.
  • (4/5)
    Gr. 7 and up: 17-year-old Twylla has both a gift and a curse as the embodiment of a goddess on earth: she is worshipped and she can kill men in seconds with the briefest of touches. Twylla’s mother is a Sin Eater, one who eats symbolic foods of the deceased person’s sins at their gravesite; Twylla is set to pursue this path until the Queen of Lormere took her from her home to become the goddess Daunen Embodied. Every month Twylla ingests a poisonous substance that reinforces her position as both the goddess’s personification and the kingdom’s executioner, and every month Twylla becomes more isolated. Her only hope lies with her future marriage to Lormere’s prince, Merek.Until a new guard joins her service--Lief is different from the others. He does not shrink away as Twylla draws near; he engages in conversation with her and asks questions. As Twylla grows closer to both Merek and Lief, she becomes more aware of how truly trapped she is in her role with the Queen – and how much she will have to sacrifice to break free.Salisbury’s concept is not new – Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me and Kristin Cashore’s Graceling both have similar protagonists with tactile killing powers – but her luscious world-building and mythology make The Sin Eater’s Daughter a worthy read. Twylla is strong and sensible, making Melinda Salisbury’s novel an easy recommendation for middle grade fantasy readers.
  • (2/5)
    I have had this book for some time to read. I thought the premise sounded intriguing but I ended up not being a huge fan of this book. The story is very predictable and the heroine’s denseness and blindness bothered me.I did listen to this on audiobook and the narrator had a very nice voice for the main heroine. In general she did the women's voices very well but sometimes the men's voices sounded very similar to women's voices. The scenes where Twylla and Leaf would banter were especially confusing because sometimes they had the same voice and it was hard to tell who was talking.Initially I thought this was an interesting premise, Twylla is a blessed sign of hope but also the death by which justice is delivered. I liked the irony of that. However, shortly into the story I started wondering why our heroine constantly ignored the inconsistencies surrounding her.Not a lot happens in this book and at first I thought the deliberate pace was leading up to something, but it wasn't. The whole story takes place in the castle and the majority of it in one room of the castle. There is some intrigue here but it is so transparent, and are heroine is so blind to it, that it was just continually frustrating for me.Some of scenarios in the book were especially improbable. For example that fact that the Queen/King were just fine with Twylla constantly being alone with a single male guard when they were generally so protective of her. Or the fact that when Twylla is caught touching someone and they don’t die that no one questions this much….just very frustrating.The ending was completely unsatisfying and made me want to throw my hands in the air and shout "Why?!, Why, did I read this book!?"Overall I did not enjoy this book. The heroine was too dense, the scenarios inconsistent and improbable, the plot was transparent, and ending completely unsatisfying. I wouldn’t recommend.
  • (4/5)
    I also liked how Twylla has been chosen as the future queen and can kill by a single touch! She's been blessed by the Gods, true, but at what cost? The only people able to touch her are the royals. The world-building is beautiful and immersive. I personally loved the politics and natural resources sides of it. These were well-thought and developed. Then, Lief, her new personal guard arrives and charms his way into her heart. I've got two things to say about this:1- It was hella cute! And it's rare I say such a thing as I dislike romance in books (in general, as well)2- It boarded on a bit too much romance, unfortunately....But the best part of this book (besides sweet Twylla herself) is the two big plot twists. Damn, IT WAS AWESOME! You'd think one thing about this and that and genuinely not wonder further and... BOOM! Surprises in your face! And heartbreak.Prepare for a hard heartbreak. But so, so good. Delicious, even. I'm a sucker for angst (even more well-written angst!) in stories.I only took out a star for the overflowing romance, though I understand how important to the plot it is (and it's lovely, too). Do yourself a favor and give this book a try. I've recently checked out the second one because I NEED TO KNOW THE REST!I hope you'll like it as much as I do!