- The Sleeping Prince, Melinda Salisbury
Series: #2 The Sin Eater’s Daughter Series
Rating: * * * * *
Publication Date: Feb 2016
Goodreads Synopsis: ‘Return to the darkly beautiful world of The Sin Eater’s Daughter with a sequel that will leave you awed, terrified . . . and desperate for more.
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.’
It is always slightly nerve-wracking reading a sequel when you really enjoyed the first novel in the series, because you now have high expectations and do not want to feel let down. It’s particularly nerve-wracking when the said sequel has a different viewpoint to the former book, as you wonder whether you’ll like the lead character as much and will respond to them in the same way.
As soon as I started ‘The Sleeping Prince’, my nerves were set at ease – I knew I would enjoy this book just as much as the last. In fact – I loved it even more! The novel is packed with wonderful and unforgettable characters, has more twists and layers than Spaghetti Junction, and is hugely imaginative with many unique ideas. If I had to sum the novel up in three words, the words I would choose would be: thrilling, unpredictable, and creative.
Errin, the heroine, is instantly likeable. The quality she has that defines her and the one I most admire is her determination, whether it’s in scraping together money for the rent as the one left with this responsibility in the household, or it’s in her apothecary work, or it’s in being the first to get to Scarron. Hers is one of my favourite first person voices.
Errin is joined by a cast of awesome and memorable characters. There’s the mysterious and protective Silas; Unwin, the creepy Justice of the town where Errin lives; Sister Hope, a forceful and slightly malicious priestess. And of course, there’s the titular character, the Sleeping Prince. He’s dangerous and resentful, but also very charismatic and smooth. He also has a very surprising lapdog.
The novel begins with a stunning and hugely dramatic prologue, which had me immediately hooked. It continues to be wholly engaging and addictive. There are twists and revelations throughout the plot, right until the very last page, and indeed, last sentence! With that ending, I am truly not sure how I am going to be able to cope with the wait for the next book.
My favourite thing about ‘The Sleeping Prince’ is its inventiveness. It has so many distinctive and fascinating elements, such as the ideas of vita and philtresmiths and the consequences of their roles – Nigredo and Citrinitas -, as well as Sin Eating, which is explained further in this novel. I absolutely adore the fairytales they have in this world: the stories of The Sleeping Prince, of Aurek and Aurelia and of The Scarlet Varulv. For me, the best fantasies contain and incorporate folklore – like the Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo – and the folklore in this series is fantastic. I really wish that Melinda Salisbury would write a short story collection of these fairytales!
Overall, ‘The Sleeping Prince’ is a spectacular sequel and is my favourite book of 2016 so far!