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Sin Eater

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  110 ratings  ·  68 reviews
The Handmaid’s Tale meets Alice in Wonderland in this gripping and imaginative historical novel about a shunned orphan girl in 16th-century England who is ensnared in a deadly royal plot and must turn her subjugation into her power.

The Sin Eater walks among us, unseen, unheard
Sins of our flesh become sins of Hers
Following Her to the grave, unseen, unheard
The Sin Eater
Hardcover, 304 pages
Expected publication: April 7th 2020 by Atria Books
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Average rating 4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  110 ratings  ·  68 reviews

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"Sins of our flesh become sins of hers through the Eating, praise be."
After committing a crime, 14-year-old May is condemned to be a sin eater. She begins to follow the elder sin eater to learn her new job. While learning, a deer heart is placed at someone's Eating although the dead didn't confess to the sin that matches that food. May decides to discover the truth of the murder mystery, but she finds secrets, witchcraft, and lies along the way and her world is quickly and quietly turned
Nenia ⚡ Aspiring Evil Overlord ⚡ Campbell

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SIN EATER is another one of those books that suffers from poor comparisons. Alice in Wonderland meets the Handmaid's Tale?! The Name of the Rose meets Wolf Hall?! I am seriously side-eying all of the authors of those blurbs right now because comparisons like that 1) fail to adequately describe what the book is about, 2) do it an injustice by shaping the book as something it is not, and 3) are just such bad comparisons that I literally
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Find this and other reviews at: https://historicalfictionreader.blogs...

I don’t have words to describe Megan Campisi’s Sin Eater. Well, none that do it justice at any rate. Suffice it to say I had high hopes when I acquired this piece and the execution surpassed every one of my expectations.

Dark storytelling isn’t everyone’s cuppa, but it holds my attention just fine. I found the shadowed pageantry of May’s world utterly captivating and happily lost myself in the potent imagery, superstition,
Jessica Woodbury
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. A historical fantasy that's also a mystery novel with a great premise. Once you understand the concept of the sin eater (a real custom from long ago) it's not hard to see why someone would want to build a story around it. One confesses one's sins on your deathbed, each sin aligns with a particular food, and the sin eater by eating each food after your death takes your sins upon themselves. But instead of being seen as saintly figures, in Campisi's world, they are outcasts, unable to ...more
Sep 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Digital arc from edelweiss.

I’m going to be throwing this book into the hands of anyone who passes my way when it releases. So if you’re heading in my direction, you’ve been forewarned.

I loved the fresh spin the story of the Sin Eater added to this book. It took a plot that could’ve been just another murder mystery, and made it that much more interesting. Her voice was fresh, language is accessible, and the story is exciting. Boom. Done. Read it.
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Megan Campisi created such an interesting tale, set in such an interesting place that I was immensely happy to lose myself in there for the hours it took me to read it. Apparently sin eaters, as recently as a hundred years ago, were actual people from various cultures throughout history. I find the practice disturbing yet oddly beautiful. I found the world the author created for this book, which I would say was similar to ye olde England, the perfect backdrop for these unfortunate souls. The ...more
The Artisan Geek
Dec 27, 2019 marked it as to-read
Did I just hear something about Alice in Wonderland????

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Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Where do I even start?!?!? This book is amazing! It centers around the practice of sin eating, where a person is essentially marked and ostracized from society and forced to listen to the dying confess their sins. Each sin is assigned a food. The Sin Eater then eats the foods assigned for the sin, essentially taking the dying person's sin on as her own. For one unfortunate young girl, she is to become a Sin Eater. What she discovers and how brave she is all work to make this a great novel. Quick ...more
Oct 13, 2019 rated it liked it
I wanted to like this book so much!! I couldn’t put it down in the beginning and thought this was about to be a ground breaking book, but as it went out I felt like the middle went flat. I definitely think it’s a book everyone should read it really makes you think about yourself.
Sandy Korom
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Unique, satisfying, fascinating novel
Sep 21, 2019 rated it liked it
"Sin Eater" takes a very old concept and brings it back to light. From approximately the 16th to the early 20th century, individuals called Sin Eaters would visit the beds of the dying to hear a recitation of their sins. After the person had passed, the Sin Eater would eat a meal of foods corresponding to their recited sins upon their coffin thus cleansing a person of their sins and ensuring their passage to heaven. Sin Eaters were highly ostracized in communities both for the morbid nature of ...more
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

3.5 stars

I was immediately drawn to Megan Campisi's Sin Eater when I saw the quote "The Handmaid's Tale meets Alice in Wonderland" because I love both of those novels.

With that being said, I wanted to like this book as well. It started off great, I couldn’t put it down, and I thought 'damn this is going to be a ground breaking book!' Sadly, as I continued reading this I felt this feeling slowly fade. I struggled to get through the
Annabelle Ulaka
Jan 16, 2020 marked it as to-read
I think synopsis should be rated too. I don't know how anyone would read this synopsis and not want to read this book.
Megan C.
Dec 17, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 - A solid, enjoyable story about a fascinating and little-discussed topic. Sin Eater pairs the incredibly interesting subject of the Sin Eater, a person who hears deathbed confessions and eats food symbolic of the penitent's sins in order to absolve them before their death, with a royal murder mystery. I was engaged in the story from beginning to end, although I wasn't a fan of the first person POV (I'll fully admit that it's an unreasonable quirk of mine). That, along with some dialogue ...more
Nov 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received an advance copy of Sin Eater as a Giveaway through Goodreads. Before reading this novel, I was unfamiliar with the historical existence of the "sin-eater."

Megan Campisi's characters, story line and even peculiar language are interesting and plausible. The main character, a teenager named May, was witness to and, indeed, the subject of, the shockingly cruel treatment of the poor and the outcast in a callous society inherited from Henry VIII. The old "Eucharistian" faith had been
O Prism
Sep 07, 2019 rated it liked it
This was an interesting read but not quite my cup of tea. I found the story; while believable, utterly cheerless and depressing. I lost interest less than halfway through the book but read it to the end to see what happened to May. I didn’t find any of the characters redeemable or even likable. Thanks to Netgalley, the publisher, and Ms. Campisi for thé ARC. Opinions are my own.
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It's taken me a long time to get to this review because the story is just SO MUCH. I lack the words to really explain what I mean, in design terms it would probably be close to maximalism, the exact opposite of minimalism. Yet, even that terminology doesn't quiet match the sheer weight, and density of the prose found in Megan Campisi's Sin Eater. The story makes me want to wax poetic, to tell everyone I know that they need to experience this story but it gets so overwhelming I just end up ...more
Delany Holcomb
Dec 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Megan Campisi's "The Sin Eater" is a tale rife with Canterburian characters that illuminate the stage of medieval Angland. The story of May is a gorgeously tragic tale, as she, at the age of 14, is sentenced to a life as a Sin Eater for stealing a loaf of bread. With her newly found title she is made into a pariah, meant only to eat the foods that represent a person's confessed sins at the time of their death so that she herself can carry their sins to her own grave. Unable to speak and cast out ...more
Em Stevens
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"Wish I had done more of what I wanted and less of what's right. Might have more delicious bits to recite."

Reading Sin Eater is like overeating at a gourmet restaurant; you're uncomfortable afterwards, but have no regrets about the meal. Megan Campisi has written a historical fiction novel that edges into mystery and feminist territories. The main character, May, is flawed in ways that I could identify with. As she settles into a life forced onto her, she begins to pick apart all the layers of
Dec 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: net-galley
More than a 3 really. I don't recall having heard of a Sin Eater before, a woman who hears the last confession of those near death and symbolically assumes the sins of the penitent by eating a prescribed food that represents each sin, ensuring safe passage to the after life for the sinner. The Sin Eater is marked, bound to her role for life, banned from speaking other than the recitations of her vocation, and feared and shunned by society.

I really get a kick out of books that are rich with the
Dec 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-read-2019
This was kind of a depressing story. A life were no one talks to you and you can’t talk either. At least in this role you wouldn’t starve to death. Even tho it was depressing I was still interested enough to see what happened. Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the early copy
Elysian Fields
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If your looking for your next semi-dark but fully unique story here it is! I've heard about Sin eaters in history (though there is still much to discover), this lost to history job always intrigued me.
This is a wonderful telling of Sin eaters, with detailed characters and an interesting plot. Thank you @atriabooks @GoodreadsGiveaway @megancampisiauthor for such a rich and wonderful story!! 5 stars.
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Although this story itself is fiction, it's based on customs which occurred during the 16th century in Britain and thus can be classified as historical fiction.

I had no idea that any customs of the type described within this story had ever previously occurred at anytime anywhere and was shocked when I read about them. Women who were arrested for any offense whatsoever were jailed and usually faced death. Every now and then one was spared, but was commanded to be a sin eater.

The description of a
Mrs. Salgy
Sep 08, 2019 rated it liked it
“Sin Eater” by Megan Campisi is an enthralling story set in a time familiar, yet different in name and custom. It follows the journey of a young girl named May who must find her footing in life after being sentenced to be a sin eater—one who hears the confessions of those dying and eats the corresponding foods so that the dead may pass into Heaven without sin. In doing this, May finds out more than she ever imagined and uses her role to bring justice to those who have been wronged.

The story
Brenna Thom
Nov 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc
”The shame and grief that were in my chest are gone. And I feel an odd thing. I feel just a little bit free. I shan’t be my father’s daughter anymore. What has it got me? I will look to my mother, the proper tutor for a sinner. The proper tutor for a curse.”

Sin Eater by Megan Campisi was an interesting little book that hooked me from the start. The plot did lose some of its momentum halfway through though, but I overall enjoyed this novel. The role of sin eaters, as explained by Campisi in the
Nov 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Sin Eater is a fascinating look into an unknown part of history for me. While this book started off incredibly interesting, it loses something in the middle with the slow pacing. Thankfully, the book comes back with a strong ending and I would still recommend this for anyone how likes different aspects of historical fiction. Thank you GR for the ARC giveaway!
Tianna Moxley
Nov 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
May is an orphan, penniless and alone. Worse, she’s just been condemned to the life of a sin eater for her crime of stealing bread. Unseen, unheard, sin eaters are pariahs, their only purpose to abjure the dying of their sins by eating foods that correspond to their wrongdoings. When May is called upon to eat for two ailing royals she could not imagine that it would be the beginning of a perilous journey - one of sinister plots, cat and mouse games, and choices where her life hangs in the ...more
Oct 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
The description given of “the handmaids tale meets Alice in Wonderland” makes no sense as the book has little comparison to either. An alternative history of England where the names and religions have been but slightly changed. At heart it’s the story of a young woman from unfortunate circumstances learning how to be true to herself.
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
An interesting read. While it really doesn't fit the "Handmaid's Tale meets Alice in Wonderland" description, it was still enjoyable. A good combination of history and mystery, with believable characters. Felt well researched and pulled the reader into a fascinating world. The ending felt unfinished, however, and left some things unanswered.
**ARC won via Goodreads Giveaway**
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. Megan Campisi puts a new spin on a murder mystery in a royal court by adding a Sin-eater, a person who takes on a dying persons sin so that they can go to heaven. An imaginative historical fiction novel that holds your interest until the final page.
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NetGalley Readers: Sin Eater by Megan Campisi 17 27 Jan 08, 2020 09:18PM  

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Megan Campisi is a playwright, novelist and teacher. Her plays have performed in China, France and the United States. She has been a forest ranger, sous chef in Paris and a physical theater specialist around the world. Originally from California, she attended Yale University and the L'École International de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her family.
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