A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Romantic fantasy meant to entertain, but "tabula rasa" is defined.
It's not enough to love someone: You have to act on those feelings to let the person know you love him or her.
Positive Role Models
Narrator Twylla has little to offer other than her beauty and her amazing singing voice. She spends most of her time wringing her hands or wallowing in self-pity. Eventually, she wakes up to her own hypocrisy, educates herself, and learns to be comfortable in her own skin. Everyone else, including the rivals for her affection, lies to Twylla or enables the lies she lives by. And, of course, there's the evil queen.
Violence & Scariness
Torturing prisoners briefly described. Detailed description of blood after an execution by poisoning; blood mentioned a few other times. Execution by being eaten by dogs heard in the distance. Rape alluded to. One sword fight described without gore. Man beaten and kicked until unconscious. Several hard slaps.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Several kisses; one or two include detailed descriptions with tongues. Lovers snuggle. Narrator Twylla has sex twice but it's not described; she and her lover are in bed, entwined afterward.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Wine frequently drunk with meals and occasionally to calm nerves; brandy also used to calm nerves once or twice. Fictional poison's used in executions, and Twylla's tested for immunity to it by ceremoniously drinking some once a month.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Sin Eater's Daughter is a romantic fantasy with an all-too-typical heroine who lets others define her, has little to offer beyond looks and talent, and waits to be rescued. The overall atmosphere is fairly dark, and the threat of death by violent means (poisoning, being eaten by dogs) looms over everything. Physical violence is rare and not gory, but blood's described in detail once and mentioned a few other times. There's some kissing, and one or two descriptions include details with tongues. The narrator has sex, but it's not directly narrated. "Slut" is used once, and "whore" twice. Characters frequently drink wine, usually with meals but sometimes to calm themselves, and drinking brandy to calm the nerves is mentioned a couple of times.
Is It Any Good?
With THE SIN EATER'S DAUGHTER, debut novelist Melinda Salisbury creates a vividly detailed, deliciously dark, rich fantasy world that immediately draws the reader in. She keeps the pages turning with a steadily building plot that sometimes surprises but is more often predictable. Salisbury finds a compelling voice for her heroine, with prose that occasionally soars, such as "delicate fingers of autumn stroking the edges of the shadows." But the third act descends into more classic, bodice-ripper-style (read "cheesy") dialogue that will no doubt make romance lovers swoon but keeps the novel from elevating itself beyond genre fiction.
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