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Publisher's Summary

An old adage says there are really only two stories: a man goes on a voyage and a stranger arrives in town. This is the third: a woman breaks the rules....

Can you uncover the truth when you’re forbidden from speaking it?

A Sin Eater’s duty is a necessary evil: she hears the confessions of the dying, eats their sins as a funeral rite. Stained by these sins, she is shunned and silenced, doomed to live in exile at the edge of town.

Recently orphaned May Owens is just 14, only concerned with where her next meal is coming from. When she’s arrested for stealing a loaf of bread and subsequently sentenced to become a Sin Eater, finding food is suddenly the last of her worries.

It’s a devastating sentence, but May’s new invisibility opens new doors. And when first one then two of the queen’s courtiers suddenly grow ill, May hears their deathbed confessions - and begins to investigate a terrible rumour that is only whispered of amid palace corridors.

Set in a thinly disguised 16th-century England, The Sin Eater is a wonderfully rich story of treason and treachery; of women, of power and the strange freedom that comes from being an outcast - because, as May learns, being a nobody sometimes counts for everything....

©2020 Simon & Schuster (P)2020 Simon & Schuster

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  • Liz
  • 08-04-21

Disappointing

I read a lot of historical fiction and a lot of more fantasy based stuff, like the Binding. And I was really looking forward to this book as I'd seen several good reviews in the papers. However it read like fairly average YA fiction.

The plot twists are signalled far in advance. so much so that I skipped the last third of the book and had no difficulty catching up in the last chapter. It's episodic, has few believable characters and the plundering of tudor history for backstory is shallow. Instead of feeling like a joyful reworking of history to a half imagined version, it felt like a lazy rewrite by an author who assumed the reader wouldn't know any better. This might be true for a YA audience, not so for those looking for a more literary read. Deeply disappointing.

The best thing here is the cover. Possibly the writer will mature and later books will be better, i hope so as there's definitely something here, but as yet, it's derivative and dull. Suggest you read the Binding ahead of this

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  • Sam Jones
  • 12-23-20

An enjoyable listen

Perfect for fans of historical fiction with well developed female protagonists.
The mystery in the plot may leave a little to be desired, but it’s still an enjoyable journey.