I’ve been following Melinda Salisbury on twitter since the beginning of my book blogging journey and she never fails to make me smile, so when I caught a glimpse of one of her books in on the shelf in the library I knew I had to take it and add it to my enormous TBR pile. I’m so pleased to have been able to start this series and I’m excited to get to the rest of the series.
Sixteen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But 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.As the 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.But 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?
If you took out certain elements of this book it would just be any old YA fantasy novel. I mean we have the plain but also kind of pretty protagonist, the multiple potential love interests, the evil queen, the noble and lovable prince, the handsome guard. This book should have been the cliché to end all clichés and I should have hated it.
But I didn’t!
Hurray! To explain why we have to get into all the things that Melinda Salisbury did that were completely new and totally captivating.
Twylla is the nominal ‘Sin Eater’s Daughter’ which means that her mother is the one who sits at the coffins of the dead and eats foods representing their sins to absolve them in the afterlife. What! That was a totally new idea to me and it was done so well, with Twylla occasionally (and when the circumstances dictated) would drop in little pieces of information such as that oysters represent the sin of Jealousy. This was such a weird ( in a good way) hook for the story to hang from, it made this whole fantasy culture come to life in the best way and I was here for it!
The other thing that I enjoyed was the idea that Twylla could kill with a touch. It did remind me of Rogue from X men, but I’m not mad about that. I thought that this made her character feel so much more rounded than just the ‘rags to riches and now stuck in a tower’ feeling that so many YA female protagonists have. There is a clear reason that Twylla is so controlled by the queen and by her role in court.
Let’s talk about the evil queen, another trope but one that was handled fairly well. I sometimes get a bit tired of the idea that whenever we have a powerful queen she is also beautiful, spiteful and evil (I’m looking at you GOT, OAUT, other similar things) but I appreciate a strong character whether they are good or evil and I genuinely hated this villain which was exactly right for this kind of story.
The romance…well it was a love triangle wasn’t it…and one that is yet to be totally resolved. Sigh. But it was well written and there wasn’t an iota of insta-love visible so I have to give credit for that. If you’re going to write any kind of love polygon this is the way to do it.
If I had one wish I would have wished a female friend for Twylla, a maid perhaps, just someone else to confide in, as I felt like we didn’t meet very many people in this world and I definitely wanted to.
I hear from people on twitter that this is a great series to binge read and I can see how that would be the case. Unfortunately my TBR list means I can’t afford to drop everything and pick up the next book in the series but I definitely plan to do so in the future.
My rating : 5/5 (I’m just so darned impressed she pulled this off)
Have you read any of the books in this series? Let me know what you thought in the comments below, can’t wait to hear from you!
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