Saturday, February 15, 2020

Intriguing Sins

SIN EATER by Megan Campisi (to be released in April 2020) is an alternate history novel centered on a young woman, named May, caught stealing bread. The setting is similar to England in the 1500s. She is then sentenced to become a sin eater: unseen and unheard. The reason for her sentence is not revealed until very near the end of her tale.

At first, I wondered if she has the mental capacity of a child, due to her simplistic nature and the strange way she reacts to situations. I even thought her troubled childhood may have limited her emotional growth, and I wondered how on earth she would manage as a sin eater. Luckily, another branded in the same manner becomes a mentor to May.

As May accompanies her elder companion to Recitations and Eatings, they are confronted by a deer heart placed on a coffin, although no sin had been confessed to warrant such an item. From here on, May's fate becomes entwined with the Queen's household, and the sin eater becomes privy to more than just deathbed confessions.

What really made this story interesting for me is the cast of characters the author brings into May's new life. In a way, they reflect different aspects of May, which she cannot express on her own. Rather than focusing on the end of life as she knows it, this transforms into May's coming-of-age story.

While I don't agree with the description ( "The Handmaid's Tale meets Alice in Wonderland"), I do think Campisi creates an entertaining way of looking at the social construct of politics and religion, and their effects on everyone ranging from the privileged to the underprivileged, using mystery and drama.

As always,

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