The Sin Eater's Daughter

Book review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
The Sin Eater's Daughter Book Poster Image
Romantic fantasy has strong writing, weak heroine.

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Kids say

age 14+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Romantic fantasy meant to entertain, but "tabula rasa" is defined.

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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.


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.


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.


"Slut," "whore."

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.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Teen, 15 years old Written byBella180203 December 4, 2019


It had and AMAZING plot line and I fall in love with the characters. They are so loveable and amazing I think younger reader e.g. 11 would enjoy but I think tha... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bysanabanana June 7, 2016

Weak plot, great ending

The book has interesting concepts behind it making it a relatively good book. Because it was a fantasy romance novel, of course there was romance in it but noth... Continue reading

What's the story?

As the daughter of her kingdom's Sin Eater (responsible for taking away the sins of the dead so they can reach the afterlife), Twylla spent her childhood learning her mother's trade, preparing to take on the role herself one day. Then, when Twylla was 13, the queen appeared at her door and offered her the chance to leave her unhappy home and live in the castle as the embodiment of the gods and the future wife of the prince. But palace life isn't everything she dreamed it would be: Her role means that her skin is toxic and will kill anyone who touches her in a matter of moments. And not even poison skin can protect her from the power-hungry queen, who'll stop at nothing to bring about a Golden Age during her reign. Now, four years later, Twylla is 17 and her marriage to the prince is imminent. Enter Lief, the handsome new guard assigned to protect her. Lief is from another kingdom, and as they get to know each other Twylla starts to question all her long-held beliefs. As the queen's plans to consolidate power and start a war come to fruition, can Twylla and Lief escape to live the quiet life of their dreams together?

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why romantic fantasies are so popular. Why do we love them so much?

  • How does Twylla compare to other heroines in books you've read? Do you sympathize with her and her situation? Do you think she's a strong heroine?

  • Would you rather live in Lormere or Tregallan? Why? How are the two societies different?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy and romance

Themes & Topics

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