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Sin Eater

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  186 ratings  ·  120 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 4.05  · 
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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
"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
Nilufer Ozmekik
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Nope! It’s not fair to compare this book with the other novels and talking about the resemblances with Handmaid’s Tale, Wolf’s Creek or any other epic stories. Sin Eater is dark, unique, original, well-crafted, visionary, horrifying, twisty, surprising tale, a very well written, somehow quirky, absurd, complex fantasy!

For its uniqueness and eerie, creepy, dark, intense atmosphere and impeccable development, I’m giving my four solid stars!

This is story of a fourteen years old girl May
Feb 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 rounded up to 4 stars.

The sin eater walks among us. I studied history and taught it, so how did I not know about sin eaters?? It’s the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (Bethany in the book) and May Owens is caught stealing bread. Her punishment is to be branded a sin eater and a collar placed around her neck. May is now marked and shunned by society. She will be summoned by a family who has a dying relative. She has to eat a ritual meal after hearing a death bed confession, allocating foods to
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A reinvented/alternate Sixteenth Century English Court had sentenced fourteen year old May Owens to life as an outcast. For the crime of stealing bread, May was given a life sentence: A Sin Eater...a social pariah...brutally marked with an "S" etched on her tongue...a shunned woman forced to wear a heavy brass collar with a hanging "S" pendant...cannot be touched or spoken to...cannot speak except during recitations or eatings.

What is a Sin Eater? "[Her]...fate is to hear the final confessions
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
3.5 Stars

"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 Walks Among Us."

A strong round of applause for Megan Campisi for creating a unique and original book set in sixteenth century England.

Recently orphaned, fourteen-year-old May has been jailed and convicted for stealing bread. Her sentence - to be a Sin Eater. A "what?" you ask.... A sin eater, shunned, an S tattooed on her tongue, unseen until
Amy Imogene Reads
Jan 27, 2020 marked it as to-read
Looking forward to this!

Thank you so much to Atria Books for an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.
Susan's Reviews
Feb 11, 2020 rated it liked it
My thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

As I read this dark tale, it brought to mind a "Twilight Zone-type" TV episode I had watched in my youth about sin eaters: i.e, people who "ate" the sins of the deceased so that the dearly departed could pass on to heaven.
The idea that you can buy yourself out of Hell or the Final Reckoning after death is certainly not a new one. These practices continue to exist today. Just about every
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
Feb 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Sin Eaters have actually existed in history. The dying would confess their sins and, upon their death, the designated sin eater would consume a ritual meal to take on these sins, allowing a sin-free passage to the hereafter for the deceased. I suppose that for Christians Jesus Christ is their Sin Eater, but the sin eaters referred to in this book by Campisi appear to be secular, not affiliated to any religion.

Campisi has taken literary license with the concept of sin eaters and has also placed
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
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.
The Artisan Geek
Dec 27, 2019 marked it as to-read
Did I just hear something about Alice in Wonderland????

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Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Orphan May stole a loaf of bread and when arrested expected to die a horrible death. The Recorder stared hard at her and sentenced her to be branded as a Sin Eater. The teenager would be shunned for the rest of her life but would never again starve. She was to hear the sins of the dying and eat the proscribed foods to take their sins upon herself. The dead would fly to heaven; a locked collar kept May chained to hell.

Being a sin eater is a constricted life, alienated from society, yet May has
Gianna Lorandi
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was ok
2.5 Well, I tried.
Let me tell you what I liked first....I was fascinated by the sin eater. I have never heard about it before, no idea it ever existed and, also thought the whole concept of book was very interesting.

Having said that I really dislike the way it was delivered. The writing style annoyed the life out of me and it's down to 3 things: first person narration, short sentences and a lot of telling but not showing.
It's hard to pull off a first person narrator because it can be very
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
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.
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.
Jan 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
What a truly unusual, unique book! Very dark with medieval tones, seemingly loosely based on characters that are reminiscent of historical figures - jealous queens, dedicated subjects and a gaping division between the have's and the have-nots. Religion is key to the story, and the kingdom has seen a tumultuous upheaval in faith. But it's not exactly a war between against Catholics and Protestants; the citizens prescribe to either the Maker faith or the Ainglish faith. It depends on who is on the ...more
Feb 01, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
*I received a copy of this book from Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review*

Sin Eater is a densely rich tale of society and its constrictions, particularly for a young woman.
Sin Eater plays out as a re-imagining of the time and court of Queen Elizabeth I. The Virgin Queen is known as Bethany. Her dead sister Queen Mary is Maris. Even for someone not well-acquainted with the intricacies of this time period, Campisi deftly weaves in recognizable components that add to the richness of the
Sandy Korom
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Unique, satisfying, fascinating novel
Alysa H.
Jan 06, 2020 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
** I received a Review Copy of this book via NetGalley **
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
Esther King
Feb 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I only recently found out about the concept of sin eaters in another book that I read recently which travelled the gamut of the seven deadly sins and how they are attached to food. The protagonist of this novel, a young girl named May, finds herself condemned to a life of devouring the sins of the dying, and soon finds herself caught up in a plot laden with treason, lies, murder, and, of course, iniquities of the soul.

While my review copy was a little glitchy in places, I stuck it out because I
Feb 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, 2020
Truth: I liked the first 80% of The Sin Eater better than the final 20%. Not that there were any real problems with that last 20%—just that I was mesmerized watching the world the author was building during that first 80%. By time I reached the denouement I was less invested in the plot than in what else I might discover if I could explore this world further. Which, I think, indicates...

I'm hoping for a sequel.

The Tudor-England-meets-Handmaid's-Tale setting of Sin Eater is creepy and wonderfully
Feb 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set in an alternate 16th century England, Queen Bethany is on the throne and 14 year old May Owens finds herself orphaned and alone. Unfortunately for May she is caught stealing and is imprisoned, however instead of the typical sentence for stealing she is condemned to become a Sin Eater, a role imposed upon certain women. The Sin Eater is expected to consume the sins of the dying, eating symbolic foods which stand for particular sins and bear them until their own death. The Sin Eater is shunned ...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
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
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NetGalley Readers: Sin Eater by Megan Campisi 21 38 Feb 05, 2020 04:41AM  

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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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“Don’t I know by now that folk see their sins in the way they choose? There’s always a reason as to why selfishness is not really selfish and crimes are honest and waiting safely by while somefolk else is killed is really the more courageous choice.” 0 likes
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