Are you stuck in a reading slump? Try a blind date...it's a lucky dip for readers
We all judge a book (and sadly some times other things) by its cover. But an awesome book could be lying in wait, hidden behind a cover or title that may simply not appeal to our personal liking. But just like anything good, you’ll never know if you don’t try.
The purpose of “blind date with a book” is to remove the judgement and deliver us a great new read. I bought this little brown paper wrapped date from Joondalup Dymocks for about $17. All I had to go off was a short bullet point list of hints, clues and descriptive words.
My personal reading preference can easily be summed up in any of one of these three genres;
- Historical Fiction (with a little action and maybe even a little romance)
- Sci-Fi (other worlds, star-ships, aliens, future technology)
- Fantasy (think magic, Elves, hidden worlds and epic battles)
I read to be transported, to escape, to explore. And so when I was reading through the blind date clues and making my choice, I was deeply intrigued by this description;
- Main protagonist is an executioner for the royal family
- Has poisonous skin
- Engaged to the prince
- Strong female characters
From these I guessed that this book could be a young adult novel and hoped that it might be something I could call a new favorite. And this is what I had bought;
The Sin Eater’s Daughter
by Melinda Salisbury
Upon opening the brown paper wrapping and seeing the cover I instantly felt at piece with my choice. I loved the cover and even the title had me hooked. I couldn’t wait to begin reading it. I actually put aside my current read of the time The Fate of the Tearling, which I had been reading for so long on and off, to start reading this new buy.
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 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 girl she truly is. Yet in a court as dangerous as the queen’s, some truths should not to told.
Even this blurb on the back had me. It inspires so much thought. It sounds ever so interesting; the story could go in so many directions, could be set any world, in any time. It speaks of magical powers, ancient gods and a possible forebidden romance.
No spoilers are given.
Overall, this is a good book considering this was Melinda’s debut (The Sin Eater’s Daughter is the first in a trilogy that was first published in 2015) She very quickly set and established the scene and her world building is strong. Her characters are multidimensional, true to their status and Melinda has created a believable fictional period theme. And this book had everything that I normally like in a book. It’s set in an almost medieval land with Kings, Queens, hunting parties and attractive guards. The main protagonist Twylla, is thought to be the goddess-embodied, able to kill with a single touch. She lives in the castle and works for the royal family as their executioner. Engaged to the prince and expected to kill she lives a life of rules and seclusion. Until a new guard is hired to protect her. For the first time in years Twylla has someone who sees her and not just the goddess-embodied that kills for the crown.
Melinda paints a beautifully dark picture and raises a lot of questions about the position of religion in government, the luck of birth (which is still a major factor even in the 21st century) and of purpose and destiny. But unfortunately that is all the good I can really say about it because in truth, it was too simple, oddly fast paced (skimming over time without much explanation) and then at times agonizingly slow and boring. For example, there is a whole section of story telling, a scene between the two main characters where a folk story – which actually foretells the ending of the book – is told. At that point in the book it just seems pointless, a way of lengthening the overall story (or the page count). But even then it doesn’t become justified later on. The book’s narrative is seemingly heading is one direction, of romance and maybe even of civil uprising but then this underlying folk story takes over. And if you ask me, it ruins everything. But then I think I only feel that way because it is then, right after this twist in narration that the book ends. It is clear that this book has a sequel and that this story continues but I’m very disappointed in how this book ended and of how it sets up it’s sequel.
I also don’t like the pairing of Twylla and her love interest, Lief. It moved too quickly for my liking and their scenes felt rushed, too simple, too common-place. I didn’t believe it, I couldn’t imagine it. It felt like their relationship escalated purely because a love interest and a forbidden romance was ‘needed’. All that was needed was more content, more interaction between them to show us the passing of time and the development of their relationship. I feel like more attention was payed to Twylla’s rocky relationship with the prince. It was hard to get a feel for him; one moment he would seem alluring, strong and witty, the next he would seem almost cruel, hard and judgemental. His demeanor changed too often and too quickly and it made it difficult understand his role and place within the overarching narrative. And the same can be said for of the other characters. A lot of thought had been put into their creation and so much descriptive language used to describe them but they weren’t all that important and once again it feels like added information meant to lengthen the story and up the page quote.
Overall I would rate this book (standing alone from it’s two follow-ups) a 5/10.
I would be interested in seeing where the story goes and what Melinda’s overarching narrative is. The ending did leave me wanting more, even if it isn’t the best written book. But I won’t be rushing out to buy them. This was an enjoyable experiment and I will definitely buy another blind date book, but I haven’t the results all that much. If you like YA fantasy, the likes of The Red Queen or The Trylle Trilagy then I do recommend The Sin Eater’s Daughter. I mean who knows, maybe you’ll like it more than me.
No two persons ever read the same book.
If you have read this or do read it, let me know your thoughts in the comments. And if you have any good book recommendations, send them my way. I’d love to hear what you have been reading.