Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Sin Eater's Daughter » Review

"Who will save me?"

The real question is what could've saved this book?

Having a stronger heroine, or at least a stronger character arc.

Many reviewers have noted how Twylla is a weak character. It's true — she is highly reactive. Throughout the entire book, Twylla instigates nothing of importance. All of her actions are in response to other characters and forces; she's pushed around. It makes for a boring protagonist and a boring read. Twylla's passivity would have been okay as a starting point for a larger character arc, but such development never materialized. Having such a lame lead character was a deathblow to the novel.

Developing the hook of the story further.

The hook for this story is that, as a goddess embodied, Twylla's touch causes death. That's pretty awesome. Many people were predicting The Sin Eater's Daughter would hold similarities to Graceling because of this. I wish! However, Twylla's is too frightened of her ability to do anything but execute selected people selected by higher-ups. She is so afraid of herself, she spends the rest of her time practically rocking in a corner. I longed for her to either embrace her gifts or to endeavor to find out more about them so she could understand them and, you know, weild them. This never happens.

Presenting a less cartoonish villain.

Our antagonist is an evil queen. Salisbury does a fantastic job at making her quite diabolical. However, she's never fleshed out and made three-dimensional. There was a gross and shocking reveal at the end of the book that fell flat for me because the queen's motivations were never revealed or even hinted at. Boo.

Getting rid of that ridiculous love triangle.

Maybe this is a matter of personal preference, but I, in almost all cases, believe love triangles weaken a story. I'm not opposed to forces getting in the way of a relationship, but love triangles come with a whole host of problems. They can make characters seem pathetic by appearing weak-willed and not self-aware or decisive. They can also hijack and plot and turn things into dumb soap operas. In The Sin Eater's Daughter, both the characters and plot are diminished because of the cheap drama.

Forming a more coherent plot.

Nothing streamlined occurs in The Sin Eater's Daughter. Horribly, Twylla is given nothing to do. I longed for there to be a mystery for her to solve or a journey to go on. Any kind of action. But nothing happens.

Bottom line is, the book wasn't a total disaster but it was still irredeemably flawed. Two stars.


  1. Oy. Really glad I resisted the urge to pick up this book. Admittedly, I was all gung-ho about it at first. But as soon as reviews started trickling in, my enthusiasm waned.

  2. Ugh, this sounds painful! I truly dislike a weak female protagonist. Like you say, it is okay if she starts off weak then develops, but staying the same... not good. I dislike love triangles with a passion, especially when they are cheesy and seem to be placed there just for the sake of drama. Thanks for the warning on this book Ellen, I doubt if it and I would get on! :) Great review! :)