Twylla was raised knowing she would have to follow in the footsteps of her mother, the Sin Eater for the kingdom of Lormere. But then as a preteen, she was taken in to the castle to serve a higher purpose: as Daunen Embodied, the daughter of the gods. Each month she ingests poison but isn’t hurt by it thanks to the mercy of the gods. But her skin will transmit the deadly poison to anyone she touches, and it is her duty to kill traitors. Only the king, queen and prince are immune, for she is also meant to marry the prince.
When one of her two guards is taken ill, Twylla ends up essentially trapped in her room in the castle, protected by the other guard, who is new to the job. Their time together leads to friendship, but Twylla knows how dangerous that can be. Everything in the kingdom, in the castle, is fraught with danger, with a queen who is cold, calculating and bent on control. Any misstep and more people she loves could end up dead — at her own hands.
Even so, Twylla finds herself caring more and more about Lief, even as the prince, Merek, tries to get to know her better after spending two years away, touring the kingdom. But how could she possibly escape, possibly even think to live a life other than the one she has been trapped in?
The Sin Eater’s Daughter is hard to put down. The reader wants so much for Twylla to find happiness and for the kingdom to be able to escape the clutches of such a ruthless queen. It almost seems impossible.
A couple of quibbles: The book seems to end somewhat abruptly; of course, there are sequels, but it doesn’t seem to “conclude” very much. And though one magical plot point in the story is discredited and science/fact is lauded, another doesn’t seem to be questioned, which left me scratching my head a bit. Either way, I guess I’ll be wanting to read the next book.
Rated: Mild, for some violence and mild sexual references. There are a couple of sex scenes, but they’re entirely “off-screen,” and some kissing. There are also allusions to incestuous relationships in the royal line.