I am the perfect weapon.
I kill with a single touch.
Twylla is blessed. The Gods have chosen her to marry a prince, and rule the kingdom. But the favour of the Gods has it’s price. A deadly poison infuses her skin. Those who anger the queen must die under Twylla’s fatal touch.
Only Lief, an outspoken new guard, can see past Twylla’s chilling role to the girls she truly is. Yet in a court as dangerous as the queen’s, some truths should not be told …
I was hooked by a mysterious title, a stunning cover, and an intriguing idea. Unfortunately, it was all a ruse. The title belongs to a different book, the cover only fits the first third and the idea was abandoned in favour of a generic romance-y fantasy plot. This is one of the ‘great idea, poor execution’ cases and therefore fell flat for me.
The Sin Eater’s Daughter. What a title! If only it described the content, but for what it’s worth, this book could have been named The Farmer’s Daughter just as well and it would have had no influence on the plot. That’s right, you could have taken out the whole concept of Sin Eating, make a couple of tiny tweaks and you’d have ended up with a book almost unchanged if a little shorter. That’s not how you implement an intriguing idea, because I really loved the concept of Sin Eating and would have enjoyed it playing more of a role in the story. But neither has being the Sin Eater’s daughter influenced Twylla’s character deeply, nor has it given her an edge or knowledge that is useful to her current situation. It only surfaces in random flashbacks into her past.
Similarly fare the two other interesting ideas Daunen Embodied – the reincarnation of the daughter of the Gods and harbinger of hope Twylla is believed to be – and The Sleeping Prince – an old fairy tale. The first one, with all the potential that comes with a girl deadly to touch and has been thoroughly established, is sidelined in favour of the love triangle and is pretty much dropped halfway through. The second one, while resurfacing from time to time in ways one wonders how that’s relevant at all, only comes into play in the last third. The world building was fairly well, could have been a bit more organic though. All in all, while there is story, there is no plot. There are too many concepts and plot lines that are all jumbled and not interwoven at all. This book changed directions an awful lot and left me rather unsatisfied with an ending that does not match the beginning.
And then there are the characters. For a book on such a small scale – the only setting is the castle – I had hoped for engaging characters. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. I did not like protagonist Twylla. Granted, she had no say in her own fate and was kept in the dark, but her acquiescence was so very annoying. She did not have any agency. All she does is praying, singing, embroidering – oh, and letting herself be manipulated into stupidity by the two love interests. Seriously, considering she knows just how dangerous the queen is, she is beyond careless.
Both love interests are not particularly interesting, or charming, or have a personality. They’re pretty much characterised as being hot – Lief – or cold – Merek – and Twylla behaves like an immature hormonal teenager ready to pounce at the first man taking off his shirt in her presence. There was one thing that could have redeemed the triangle, because I liked the dilemma she was put in: either selfishly follow her heart or go with her head and choose the good of the people. Unfortunately, the ending ruined that for me.
All other characters – there’s only a handful anyway – are more or less shadows without personality and more than a couple of lines to say. The only character I was really interested in was the queen and at some point I wished the book had been written from her point of view.