TITLE: The Sleeping Prince
AUTHOR: Melinda Salisbury
SERIES: The Sin Eater's Daughter (#2)
PUBLISHER: Scholastic Fiction
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
RATING: 3.5/5 Stars
Ever since her brother Lief disappeared, Errin's life has gone from bad to worse. Not only must she care for her sick mother, she has to scrape together rent money by selling illegal herbal cures. But none of that compares to the threat of the vengeful Sleeping Prince whom the Queen just awoke from his enchanted sleep.
When her village is evacuated as part of the war against the Sleeping Prince, Errin is left desperate and homeless. The only person she can turn to is the mysterious Silas, a young man who buys deadly poisons from Errin, but won't reveal why he needs them.
Silas promises to help her, but when he vanishes, Errin must journey across a kingdom on the brink of war to seek another way to save her mother and herself. But what she finds shatters everything she believed about her world, and with the Sleeping Prince drawing nearer, Errin must make a heartbreaking choice that could affect the whole kingdom.
What I Liked:
- Errin is a MUCH better MC than Twylla ever was for a whole host of reasons. All Twylla ever did in book one was mope and sing and wander the palace like a lost puppy, whining about her horrible life. Errin actually does something about it! She was feisty and stubborn, vulnerable but kickass and I loved her so much! I never once felt bored reading from her viewpoint and though there wasn't as much questing as I'd hoped, at least she actually left the village in her book!
- Let's talk about the romantic side of things, another aspect of book one that I didn't like. I really didn't enjoy reading Twylla and Lief together because I though she was a bit of a wet blanket and I hated Lief. Such an arrogant, horrible guy, whose ultimate betrayal was just awful and I don't understand why people are hoping Twylla will forgive him. Silas, Errin's love interest, was a total sweetheart and I adored him. Much more like the book boyfriends I'm used to adoring and I liked way their relationship built and panned out over the course of the book. I care about his and Errin's future a lot more.
- Salisbury really has done a great job with the world-building, something I enjoyed about book one too. The whole thing is very detailed and nicely mapped out - I like the folklore and fairy tales behind it all, the historical context and the political complexities within the kingdom. I've always been impressed by this lady's writing style and the way that she creates such vivid settings for her story, and this was definitely developed upon in this book.
What I Disliked:
- So, as I mentioned, there were elements of this book I still didn't enjoy. The biggest one was how Salisbury handled Twylla and Lief. Starting with Twylla, she's in the book and her characterisation felt virtually untouched. She was still boring and a bit prudish, and despite her strong will I didn't understand why she was being treated as if she were so special. Lief...ugh. I don't want to give away any spoilers, but I will say that I hated him even more strongly coming out of this book. Flashbacks to his childhood reaffirmed my decision rather than making me question it.
- Salisbury builds a great Fantasy world, it's true, but I'm afraid areas of this book contained very extreme cases of info-dumping and they were a bit of a battle to get through. Especially when Errin went underground towards the end. I really wanted more action at that point and I felt like I didn't understand half of what was being talked about anyway! It just didn't aid me in feeling immersed in the world in the same way that other Fantasy series I've read have.
This book produced so many mixed reactions in me. On the one hand, I really felt the improvement from book one but there were still things about this book that left me feeling disappointed. It's a shame because this series has gorgeous covers and gets so much hype, I wish I could see the attraction in the same way. I'm definitely invested enough to want to know what happens though, and I have to applaud Salisbury for not letting her book suffer from 'book two syndrome' (which is a real thing). I hope 'The Scarecrow Queen' is a good finale for this series because if it ends strongly, I'll feel like the trawl has been worthwhile!