Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: February 26, 2015
Twylla is the Danem Embodied, the reincarnated daughter of two gods who now serves the Queen. Deadly poison courses through her veins and whomever she touches dies in agony, making her the perfect, but reluctant executioner. Everyone fears her, almost as much as they fear the Queen, but Twylla prefers this life at the castle over the life she would have led as the Sin Eater's Daughter. The only future Twylla sees is in the prince, an almost stranger whom she will marry one day and lift this poisonous gift of the gods. Perhaps Twylla's life would have continued on in this way, singing for the King and executing traitors, if the prince hadn't come back. If her guard hadn't gotten sick. If her new guard hadn't questioned everything she believed in. Letting go of one's beliefs is never easy, but for Twylla, it will change everything.
I started this book having heard a lot of bad and mediocre reviews in the back of my mind. Although I typically prefer my fantasy with a lot more action, but Salisbury did such a good job with world building that I was completely enamoured with it. From the long storied history of this kingdom and its neighbors to the well-established mythology, all it was so carefully constructed. The politics and cruelty of the Queen added to the tension without there being a lot of action.
Of course, there is a love story and one could argue, a love triangle, although I would say the triangle was more scalene in shape. And I was okay with this...until the last chapter. No spoilers here, but I absolutely loathed the ending. Hated it. It ruined the entire book for me, which made it all the more disappointing. Twylla wasn't a very strong character or even a bad-ass, but I was willing to forgive her because I believed that once she was given a choice to live her life, she would choose wisely. Sadly, I gave Twylla way too much credit.