Friday, May 1, 2015

Author Spotlight: The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 1:00 PM

Melinda Salisbury lives by the sea, somewhere in the south of England. As a child she genuinely thought Roald Dahl’s Matilda was her biography, in part helped by her grandfather often mistakenly calling her Matilda, and the local library having a pretty cavalier attitude to the books she borrowed. Sadly she never manifested telekinetic powers. She likes to travel, and have adventures. She also likes medieval castles, non-medieval aquariums, Richard III, and all things Scandinavian The Sin Eater's Daughter is her first novel. She can be found on Twitter at @AHintofMystery, though be warned, she tweets often. You can check out more about Melinda and her book at: 

Title: The Sin Eater's Daughter
Author: Melinda Salisbury
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication: March 1st 2015
Cover Rating: 5/5

Oh Gods. This book. I knew from the beginning that I was going to get my heart broken somehow. And I was definitely right. I loved everything about this book and I can say that the heartbreak was so worth it. I love when books make me feel so many things at once.

Twylla abandoned her family and her future as Sin Eater in order to fulfill something the Queen said she was born for. Sadly, Twylla is a sad, stupid little girl and she cannot see through the Queens deceit and doesn't know how to make decisions for herself. Throughout the book, though, she learns a lot of things. Including how to think for herself. She is a very likable character but I couldn't help but feel sorry for her for most of the book. 

Merek was so different. I expected him to be all high and mighty but he was actually pretty level-headed and I kind of liked him. I think it was very noble of him for telling Twylla the truth about everything even though the Queen didn't want her knowing anything. He could have pretended to be oblivious but he didn't. He was a hero to Twylla towards the end and I was truly conflicted between him and Leif.

I loved Leif SO MUCH. There were so many times when I thought he was lost and it upset me and then in the end I didn't know what to think. Should Twylla pick him. Should she pick Merek? Both have deceived her. It is such a horrible choice. And in the end I still don't know who she picked, truly, and I think that is what is driving me the most crazy.

The Queen in this book kind of made me thing of the queen from Alice in Wonderland. "Off with his head". She definitely lived by that sentiment. Very brutal and deceiving. 

The book turned from this sort of tame royal life book into a revenge plot from Hell. Everything terrible that happens seems to happen to Twylla. Everything from the entire Daunen Embodied situation down to the Leif thing. Even the Kings situation. I felt like he truly liked her. There was so much corruption going on in one Kingdom that it had my head spinning. You had no idea who was trustworthy and who wasn't.

What happened to the Queen? What happened with Twylla and Merek? What happened with Leif?! There are so many questions with NEED to know answers. I can't believe I have to wait a year or more for the next book!

Overall, I gave the book 5/5 stars.

1) What was the inspiration for The Sin Eater's Daughter?

It came from so many different places, it’s a real mix of all of the creepy, spooky, weird stuff I like. The original idea was of a girl, trapped in a life she didn't want, only to find her ‘rescue’ was even worse. I had a firm idea of Twylla, and I knew that I wanted the life she was escaping from to be Sin Eating. I’d first read about it in a Margaret Atwood short story collection and become fascinated with just how awful it was as a concept. I looked it up, scouring everything to find mentions of it, becoming pretty obsessed with this obsolete custom and I knew that that would be the darkness she was running from, this idea of taking on endless, ageless sins, of her jeopardising her own soul on other people’s accounts. I also knew there would be a lot of mythology in the world, a lot of fairy tales, both recognisable from our world and some unique to that world, because I love fairy tales so much.

I also wanted her to be unsure, and a bit of a coward, and someone who had no real idea of how used and manipulated she was. I wanted to have a heroine who didn't have any heroic or admirable skills, who was essentially clueless, and had to learn - the hard way - not to be. Twylla is a victim, she’s been abused emotionally her whole life, and breaking away from it, confronting it is the biggest journey she goes on throughout the book, and that was important to me. I wanted a heroine who was real, and really, truly flawed, and I wanted to show that there are lots of ways to be brave, and sometimes the bravest thing to do isn't to fight at all.

2) How many books are going to be in the series and when will the second book be out?

There are going to be three, and as far as I know the next one will be out next spring, though there’s no firm date yet, so don’t quote me on it!

3) Who would you have picked? Leif or Merek?

Merek is more physically what I like, dark curly hair and dark eyes are lovely to me, but I know I’d end up picking Lief, because of his sense of adventure and how volatile and unpredictable he is. Merek is so lovely, but it would be Lief, tempting and smiling and challenging me, that would draw me in. I’d want to choose Merek, but it’d be Lief. 

4) If Twylla could go back in time would she stay with her mother or still go with the Queen?

No, I don’t think she would stay with her mother, I think she would still go to the castle. I think she would manage her relationship with the Queen and court better though. When she first goes to the castle, she’s so awed by it, she’s thirteen and thinks she’s going to be a princess. She thinks she’s going to be loved, and she works so hard to be loved, and every time she’s shot down it cuts her up inside. She craves acceptance and it’s always denied to her, no matter what she does. I think if she could do it again, she’d be warier, and not give herself away so easily. The castle is still the better option for her personally, she’d make a terrible Sin Eater, but I do think she’d give herself more armour, and not allow herself to be played. Twylla's biggest problem is her naivety and ignorance - she's very clever in a lot of ways, certainly she managed to keep herself safe in a court where life has little value - so I think if she had more knowledge, she would in turn have more power, and that would make a lot of difference to her life.

5) Did you plan on becoming an author?

I’ve never really planned anything. I've never studied creative writing, or worked in publishing, my degree is in music, my A-levels are in drama and performance art. I didn't have a direction, never pointed myself in one. I’m always really jealous of people who know who they are and where they’re going in life. I knew I loved telling stories, more than anything else, but didn't think it was a viable career option. All I ever wanted from life was to see the world and be happy. Realising I could be an author was a heady thing. It still doesn't feel real, even when I hold the book in my hand. I keep waiting for someone to tell me it's all been a mistake. 

6) What is your favorite type of genre to read?

I don’t think I have a favourite genre, though I heavily favour fantasy over contemporary. I don’t like, in any of my arts consumption, to invest heavily in anything too realistic, I always feel guilty if I read or watch something that I could actually be doing myself. So fantasy is perfect for me, because obviously I don’t have magical powers, or the ability to tame dragons, in my actual life, so I get the escapism and adventure I need. I’m a sucker for romance too. One thing I have noticed is that almost all of my favourite books are very quiet, melancholy, delicate stories set predominantly in cold places. That seems to be my thing. 


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