Review: The Sin Eater’s Daughter trilogy by Melinda Salisbury

If I had to choose an author whose books I hope mine are one day shelved next to in book stores, it would be Melinda Salisbury. The Sin Eater’s Daughter is one of my all time favourite series, and the style of YA Fantasy that I absolutely aspire to write. It’s been a while since I finished reading The Scarecrow Queen, but I wanted to review the series here for anyone who hasn’t read it yet. (Where have you been?! Get to the library quick sharp!)

 

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5 stars

The Sin Eater’s Daughter

The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

Twylla is sixteen, betrothed to a prince, and forced to serve as the court executioner. The human embodiment of a goddess, she has the power to kill with just a touch, her skin imbued with a deadly poison that has no antidote. Only the royal family are immune to it. But that doesn’t stop her supposed fiance from staying as far from her as possible.

When a new guard is assigned to her, she finds his playful smiles and lack of fear a refreshing change, and soon falls for his charms. The controlling and paranoid queen reveals her plan to destroy the enemies she believes are out to threaten her rule, and Twylla must choose between escaping into the night with her lover, or staying to protect the kingdom she is bound to serve.

I adored the first book in this series, it’s full of fairy tale elements and forbidden romance. Twylla’s character doesn’t have much agency in book one, she seems to be pulled along by the actions of everyone around her, but that is a big part of her arc and by the end of the series she’s become much more active than reactive, and the growth and development she undergoes is more believable for being a slow, steady change.

The big revelation towards the end of book one was a complete surprise to me, I  did not see it coming at all, and it left me questioning absolutely everything about the world I’d become absorbed in. It’s a very well done twist, adding another layer to the dark, Brothers Grimm style fairy tale.

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The Sleeping Prince

The Sleeping Prince Melinda Salisbury

Ever since her brother left them to work as a guard at the castle, Errin has been struggling to keep both her and their sickly mother alive. Foraging in the forest for ingredients to create her illegal herbal concoctions, selling them to a mysterious stranger who refuses to show her his face, and dodging the authorities who are looking for any reason to throw them both in the makeshift jails that are popping up all over the kingdom. But that all pales in comparison to the threat of the Sleeping Prince, whom the queen has woken from his enchanted sleep, and is now on the war path.

When Errin’s village is evacuated and her mother is taken by soldiers, Errin is forced to travel across a dangerous, war torn kingdom alone. What she discovers along the way could be the key to defeating the Sleeping Prince, but is the danger closer to home than she realises?

Book two follows a completely new character who is mentioned but never appears in  book one, which makes it slightly more difficult to get into at the beginning. By the time I was a few chapters in though I was enjoying this book even more than the first – I’d go so far as to say it’s my favourite of the three. Errin is a brave, strong and complicated character, and after Twylla’s quieter, softer persona and her life at the castle, book two is a real change of scenery. Both books are tense, suspenseful and exciting, but instead of court politics, veiled threats and the creeping feeling that something isn’t quite right, book two is full of danger, betrayal and monsters straight out of a nightmare.

The Sleeping Prince begins after the action of book one, and the story lines merge towards the end in a pretty satisfying way. The two protagonists balance each other out nicely, so I would recommend persevering if you didn’t absolutely love Twylla, or if you struggle at first with the change in POV from book one to two.pink divider

The Scarecrow Queen

The Scarecrow Queen

The Sleeping Prince has taken control of the kingdom with the help of his terrifying golems and has now installed himself at the castle. Twylla and Errin have become separated, Twylla is in the mountains gathering a force against Prince Aurek and Errin is simply trying to save her mother, and herself, from his evil clutches. As the war rages on and time begins to run out for the rebels, allegiances will be broken, friendships betrayed and lives lost before the final battle can be fought.

Book three alternates between the POVs of both Twylla and Errin, following their parallel story arcs to the ultimate conclusion where they converge once more. Whilst I was a little bit disappointed about some of the character arcs and how they ended in The Scarecrow Queen (#JusticeForLief), the conclusion of the series was very satisfying and credible. Twylla was the character who came the furthest in my opinion, as Errin started out a stronger and more independent woman, but Twylla became strong and really developed over the course of the three books. The plot and subplots all tie up nicely at the end, but it still left me hoping for more from this dark and beautiful fairy tale world.

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In addition to the trilogy, there’s a novella called The King of Rats which I haven’t actually read, but hopefully one day I will! It’s a prequel detailing the story of Crown Prince Aurek and his sister Aurelia, and how the curse came about, which is one of my favourite parts of the series, I love how Salisbury took fairy tales we all know well, such as the Pied Piper of Hamlet, and twisted them into something completely new and surprising. I’m not sure what inspired the concept of the Sin Eater, I’d love to know if it’s something that truly takes place in some cultures, as I found it fascinating and loved how it was woven into the story.

Final word: if dark YA fantasy and fairy tale retellings are your cup of tea, you’ll absolutely love The Sin Eater’s Daughter trilogy.

Lyndsey

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Top ten series I started and haven’t finished (yet)

I’m jumping back into the Top Ten Tuesday club this week, one of my favourite things about TTT is that you don’t have to take part every week, you can dip in and out when the topic takes your fancy, or – like me – you finally get a minute to type! TTT is a blog meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl where we pick ten books or series on a different theme each week. This week it’s Top Ten Book Series I Gave Up On/Don’t Plan to Finish.

I’m going to split my list into series I don’t plan to continue reading, and ones I do but haven’t gotten round to yet, because, you know, life.

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Book Series I DNF’ed

Red QueenMaze Runner  Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief Red Rising by Pierce Brown Prince of Thorns Mark Lawrence Me Before You

  1. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

    1. I still wonder whether I should just bite the bullet and read War Storm, it’s incredibly frustrating DNFing a series on the penultimate book! But I just couldn’t get on with Mare, and I enjoyed each book less and less, so I decided to cut my losses and just stop reading the series. If anyone’s read War Storm and wants to tell me how it ends please do in the comments – just leave a spoiler warning in case anyone else hasn’t read it yet!
  2. Maze Runner by James Dashner

    1. I read books one and two in the Maze Runner series, book two took me months to finish and I really didn’t enjoy it, so despite the fact I’d bought the entire boxset, I quit reading after Scorch Trials. I might watch the last two movies just out of curiosity, but even they aren’t great in my opinion. I was gutted I didn’t love this series because so many people online raved about it. Oh well, different strokes and all that.
  3. Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan

    1. Sadly, I think I just came to this series too old, which is heartbreaking because I bet I would have really loved it at sixteen or younger. I enjoyed book one, but with so many other books out there I didn’t love it enough to commit to the rest of the series and all the spin-offs Riordan has written. I’d definitely recommend it if you’re into MG though!
  4. Red Rising by Pierce Brown

    1. This is one series I heard nothing but good things about, everyone seems to love Red Rising, and it was good, but I just didn’t click with it the way I wanted to. This one isn’t a never, but with new books coming out every month that I can’t wait to read I’ll probably never get around to reading the rest of this series. Unless you really think I should? Is book two way better than book one? Let me know in the comments if you think I should persevere! To be honest, I wonder if it was the narrator I didn’t mesh with, as I listened to the audiobook…
  5. Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

    1. Unfortunately, the reason I DNFed King of Thorns halfway through was because it was a library book and I had to return it as I’d already extended it to the full extent possible, plus we were moving house to a new city. Even though I loved the series up to that point, I wasn’t absorbed enough to find another copy of the book (as easy as that would have been with Amazon and the Book Depository!) so I just gave up on it. It’s a great read though, so check out my review of Prince of Thorns to see if you’d enjoy it.
  6. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

    1. I loved Me Before You, absolutely adored it and recommended it to everyone I knew, but to me it ended so well that I don’t need to continue reading the rest of the series. I’d be heartbroken if it didn’t live up to book one and disappointed me. Plus I read the first chapter of After You in a sampler and didn’t love it, so I decided to keep Me Before You as a standalone in my mind.

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Series I still plan to finish one day!

Half Bad by Sally Green Artemis Fowl

Cinder by Marissa Meyer Lyndsey's Book Blog The Cuckoo's Calling

  1. Half Bad by Sally Green

    1. This is one of my absolute favourite series, and I can’t bear for it to end! I haven’t bought Half Lost yet because I’m saving it, I really want to know how the series concludes but I know I’ll have the worst book hangover when it ends. One day, Nathan, one day…
  2. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

    1. I loved every Artemis Fowl book I could get my hands on when I was in school. I’d go to the mobile library every month and grab the next one until I’d read them all. A few more have been released since then, but I’d moved onto other book series and left MG behind after school. I hope to read the rest one day, maybe when I’m reading with my son, I hope he’s a bookworm like me!
  3. Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

    1. I read Cinder last summer as part of a read-along with a Goodreads group, and I plan to continue the series soon, but I have a few books on my TBR before I pick up Scarlet and Cress.
  4. Cormoran Strike by Robert Galbraith/J.K. Rowling

    1. I actually listened to the audiobook of Career of Evil before reading either of the two previous books, because it was on an Audible Daily Deal. I didn’t realise it wasn’t book one until afterwards. I’ve watched the BBC adaptations now, but I’d still love to read the actual books, as I adore Rowling’s writing, Harry Potter is my ultimate favourite book series, and I imagine the TV series missed out a lot of detail from the books.

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So there you have it, ten book series I’ve started and not finished for various reasons. Let me know if you’ve finished any of these series, were they worth the time investment? Would you recommend I keep reading? Tell me your thoughts!

 

Lyndsey

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