Title: To Kill A Kingdom
Author: Alexandra Cristo
Genre: Young Adult: Fantasy, Retelling
Publication Date: 6th March 2018
My Rating: 3.5/5 stars
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 siren-kind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?
Thank you to Allen & Unwin for sending me a copy of To Kill A Kingdom in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are mine alone.
I loved Alexandra Christo’s writing style, it’s descriptive and fluent, making it easier to read. However, I also found it hard to be hooked into the story. The first sentence didn’t really make me WANT to continue reading it – there was nothing special about it. In my opinion, the plot was slow, it took me at least 100 pages to be officially invested into the story. I’m not sure if it was me falling into a fantasy slump, or if I just didn’t like the starting, but a lot of people did find the beginning to be interesting. So, unpopular opinion, I guess. The plot was also pretty predictable, which meant I was less invested into it because I kinda knew what was coming and such.
But despite that, I thought that the world building developed well. We were able to see many of the land kingdoms, and their history with the gods they worshipped and their history with the sirens. In saying that, I feel like the world building could have been explored more and I would have liked to know more about the different languages that Elian knew, and perhaps some of Elian’s country’s traditions and customs. It just seemed that we were disconnected from the world during the course of the story. Perhaps, a little bit of the Midas language could have been incorporated into the conversation at times, to give us insight to what their language was like.
I adored the character growth and development. I found that the journey that Elian and Lyra took helped them to grow into better people and it also helped them to realise their true selves and to follow their own hearts, Lyra particularly. I actually found Elian and Lyra’s relationship to be cute, they, despite neither one wanting to admit it, cared for each other and had each other’s back. Lyra was definitely not a damsel in distress in this story – she would not hesitate to kill if the need arises. I’ll admit that at first, I was weary about Lyra’s character and didn’t like her that much, but as the story progressed, I eventually learned to accept her and loved her. She’s flawed, which makes her more realistic. I also understood why she did the things she does, but that doesn’t mean I was able to connect with her. I also adore Elian’s personality – he’s merciful, intelligent, humorous, kind, adventurous, courageous and very family/friends-orientated. Which would make me an amazing king.
I have to say that I much more loved the side characters, Kye especially. I loved his sass and protectiveness, and he’s always making light of everything to reassure everyone that everything will be okay. I would 100% have him as a best friend. (He also reminds me of Kenji from Shatter Me, which is probably why I love him so much). Madrid was also a pretty kick-ass female character and I would definitely read a story with her as a protagonist.
I also loved the family relationships in this, it’s rare to a full family alive and in a healthy relationship in YA. Elian’s parents are loving and supportive, even though his father’s a little strict and overprotective (but Elian’s the heir so it makes sense haha). The sibling relationship between Elian and his sister was super sweet, he’s such a good older brother -> I wish we got to see more of them together.
Overall, I definitely think that this is a unique twist on The Little Mermaid and was mostly enjoyable (mostly the last half of the book). I definitely can see why many people are loving it, even if I think it’s a little overhyped. If you’re looking for a quick fantasy read or a mermaid story/retelling, this is definitely the book you should pick up!