To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
Publication Date: March 6th, 2018 by Feiwel & Friends
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Find: Goodreads | Amazon
Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.
The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?
Absolute savage. This book is brutal and twisted. The book has been promoted as a Little Mermaid retelling, but anyone who has read this book will tell you that this is nothing like the Disney version of the tale. This story is dark, with morally ambiguous characters and plenty of intrigues to keep readers on their toes.
The story is told in a dual narrative and both of their voices were highly entertaining, sassy, and complex. Lira is a siren, she has a murderous reputation among humans. Know as the Prince’s Bane, Lira strikes fear into the hearts of even the noblest humans. However, after an encounter with one of her kin, she is banished from the sea and forced to face her biggest challenge as a human. As a character, Lira was a breath of fresh air. She can be ruthless in her killing, has a very calculating mind, but also demonstrates hints of vulnerability, especially in her interactions with her younger cousin. She may be the chosen one to her mother, but that status is also an incredible burden to bear as she is faced with the scorn and brutal punishments dealt by the Queen. Her transformation into a human is meant to serve as her punishment, but Lira turned it into her greatest strength. Her time as a human allowed her to explore the complexities of humanity and break away from the chains and that has been locked around her hardened mind and heart because of her mother. It provides an opportunity for Lira to seize control of her own life.
As for our prince, Elian is not your typical Prince Charming. Sure, he may hold the title of prince, and on occasion even act like one, but his heart is called to the sea, and he has dedicated himself to disposing of the threat posed by Sirens. His reputation is notorious among humans and sirens as his sharp wit and ruthless demeanor makes him a formidable foe. However, he too has moments of vulnerability, as demonstrated in his loyalty and fondness for his crew members and family. On the surface, Elian and Lira are polar opposites, but they also have a lot in common in relation to their inner conflict of needing to fulfill their duty, but wanting to follow their hearts desires. Their mannerisms are very similar, making the dynamic between them incredibly enjoyable and full of snarky banter.
It is not just the characters that steal the show in this book. The world Christo has created also enhances our reading experience. The world building was brilliantly woven into the story, providing a rich understanding of the landscape of this universe and of the dynamic between these countries. It also does a fantastic job of developing the life of a seafarer as you get to follow the beautiful yet destructive nature of the sea and its occupants. The way the mythology of the sirens was explored added another layer of depth to the world and did a phenomenal job of vividly bringing these creatures to life. The combination of the world building and character interactions make this such a thrilling reading experience. The only minor complaint would be the fact that the final battle ended a bit too abruptly, especially after the story had done an incredible job at building that sense of anticipation towards this confrontation.
If you like your story to be on the darker side, this is the book for you. There is no sugar coating the brutality of the events in the book. There is never a dull moment giving it an addictive quality that has you hooked from start to finish.
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Did ‘To Kill a Kingdom’ live up to the hype?