To Kill a kingdom
By Alexandra Christo
Publish March 6, 2018 by Feiwel & Friends
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?
RATING: ★★★ ½
Shoutout to Emily (IG: @rosebuds.reads) for forcing me to read this book because it was such a fun time!! I know this has been out for over a year now, but I keep hearing wonderful things about it.
So let’s ~dive~ right in to what I thought of Christo’s debut novel!!
Lira is a legend, both figuratively and literally. The “Princes’ Bane” is such a badass title to be know by, but I love that she is her own achilles heel. Everything that made her who she was — this reputation for such vicious behavior — is exactly what starts convincing her that perhaps she doesn’t desire that life. Lira’s internal struggles are what made her so intriguing for me and Christo does a great job of writing all of that inner dialogue.
How could I not like Elian? Sure, there’s some cheesiness in him being the “prince who wants more from life” but this is a Little Mermaid retelling, so that has to be expected. I loved that Christo chose to write from both Lira and Elian’s perspectives. His POV gave such fascinating detail into his brain and the life that he lives, plus we got all of the great moments with his crew!
The supporting characters were fantastic! Each had enough complexity without leaving the reader wondering what kind of person they were. However, I would have enjoyed getting more of Khalia and some of the Saad crew.
World building is so awesome to me and I thoroughly enjoyed how Christo gave her world complexity, but didn’t dwell on explaining each and every facet of the various kingdoms.
I would have loved more details on Diávolos because I didn’t feel like I could picture it well — is it like Atlantis? Mermaidia? Is it really dark? Although, that did mean there was more room for imagination which is always fun. I loved getting details about the Saad and wish there was more time to go into it all, but in actuality I’m not sure if I would have been super interested in reading those descriptions…Guess we’ll never know!
plot and flow:
I knew how this book would end when I picked it up, but I read it because retellings are cool and I love the ocean and mermaids/sirens. In spite of all that, I thought it was a very well paced book, switching PoVs between Lira and Elian definitely aided in that, and I’m not sure I would have enjoyed it as much if it was just from Lira’s perspective.
Even though it is a retelling, Christo doesn’t expect the reader to understand everything off the bat, so she lays down a quick but detailed exposition. Thankfully, there were no gaping plot holes!! Yay!!!
The only thing I wanted more of was just more of the ending. The final climactic battle takes place in the last 40-50 pages and then we get an epilogue-style final chapter. I would have enjoyed it more if the ending didn’t feel so rushed. The battle was fine, that didn’t require additional content, but some final moments here and there would have been nice. Without those, the last few pages felt a bit more like a “where are they now?” chapter that was just not quite my speed.
If you like mermaids / sirens / the ocean, read To Kill a Kingdom. It’s a quick read, fast paced, and has a great balance of internal dilemma, romance, and fantasy. Thank you Emily (@rosebuds.reads) for insisting I finally read this!!
Have you read To Kill a Kingdom?? What are YOUR thoughts?!