Thursday, March 8, 2018

Book Review: To Kill a Kingdom

Title: To Kill a Kingdom 
Author: Alexandra Christo
Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy | Retelling | Romance | Mermaids
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends 
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
Source: Publisher
Format: eARC

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 (goodreads)

To Kill a Kingdom was deliciously dark. 
Plot: To Kill a Kingdom is being marketed as a Little Mermaid retelling, but I would consider it "inspired by" The Little Mermaid instead. Siren Lira was known as the Princes' Bane for her affinity for princely hearts. She was turned into a human as a punishment and coincidently was found by a prince who made it his life's work to kill any and all sirens. 

I didn't know what to expect with To Kill a Kingdom, but I was pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed the journey along with Lira's self-realization. To Kill a Kingdom was a relatively slow-paced book, which I don't typically have a problem with, but To Kill a Kingdom was missing explicit rising action. I found it too easy to put the book down and wasn't as invested in the story or its characters as I was expecting. 

Characters: Lira was a fascinating main character to follow: she was deadly and had no remorse for the lives she disrupted. Her leading man was Elian, the was just as interesting as Lira, if not more. As the prince of Midas, he had certain duties to fulfill but his heart was with the ocean and his ragtag group of pirates. My one complaint about To Kill a Kingdom was that it was told from the first person perspective of both Elian and Lira with no clear markings of when the perspective it would change. I believe the lack of perspective change was the reason I couldn't fully lose myself in the novel because half the time I had no idea whose perspective I was following. 

Along with Elian, we got to know his loyal crew and I enjoyed learning about their pasts and seeing their interactions with each other. It was easy to fall in love with them and at times the group gave me Six of Crows vibes. 

Worldbuilding: Christo's world was imaginative and I would love to return to it and learn more about different aspects of it. The main kingdom was Midas which was loosely based on the tale that we all know and love. All of the other kingdoms had their own defining markers and political ploys that I craved to learn more about. The distinction between sirens and mermaids/mermen was unique as well and makes me excited to see what new worlds Alexandra Christo crafts in the (hopefully near) future. 

Short N Sweet: To Kill a Kingdom was an impressive debut, but I just had higher expectations. 


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