Fantasy, Retelling, Young Adult

Dark, Monstrous and Magical // To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
Publisher: HotKey Books (Mar 6, 2018)

feathers-break

Blurb:
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?

I’d like to thank Pansing Singapore for sending me a copy of To Kill a Kingdom for review.

Rating 4

Before picking up Alexandra Christo’s To Kill a Kingdom, I had an idea that it would be a pretty interesting take on the story of sirens and mermaids and the Sea Queen. True to my expectations, I was pleasantly surprised by how she told the story of an infamous siren who hunts for the hearts of princes and the brave prince-turned-pirate who is revered as a siren killer, sailing the seas.

“In my heart, I’m as wild as the ocean that raised me.”

Although To Kill a Kingdom is similar to The Little Mermaid in terms of its forbidden love trope, the similarities end there. It is without a doubt that Alexandra Christo’s retelling of sirens and mermaids is dark, inventive and spellbinding. Which made reading it so interesting because the writing and characters really drew me into the story and after a few chapters, I found myself enjoying what I was reading.

Instead of having a mermaid as the protagonist, Alexandra Christo introduces a story of dangerous and vicious sirens who takes pride in killing princes and taking their hearts. Where sirens are beautiful half-humans who enchant humans with their voices, mermaids are hideous fish-like creatures which only want the hearts of humans to be more human.

“He has eyes like vast pools and a jaw made from shipwrecks and broken coral. Every movement he makes is as quick and fluid as a tidal wave. He belongs to the ocean. He is made from it, as much as I am.” 

As the story progressed, so did the characters’ development. I liked that Lira was initially a vicious, cold-blooded killer and gradually, questioning what she is and why she’s doing what she was doing. Elian on the other hand, proved to be quite an interesting character who doesn’t want to be constantly judged by his fate as the future king. The dynamics—more of the cruel irony—between both protagonists made reading To Kill a Kingdom quite a fun read.

However, as much as the introduction to the world Alexandra Christo created was interesting, especially the sirens’ backstory, I felt like the book took a dip in the middle because I could actually feel the sluggish pace of the story when I was halfway into the book. Although the reason for it could possibly be for character development or to add more layers to the story, I felt like a few chapters in the middle of the plot could have been shaven off.

“Hearts are power, and if there’s one thing my kind craves more than the ocean, it’s power.” 

The writing is pretty solid and I liked that Lira and Elian had both very distinct voices—the book is written from the perspectives of Lira and Elian—though I enjoyed reading Lira’s POV more. Mainly because I was more fascinated by her backstory and the history of sirens. Let’s not forget about the banter between Lira and Elian. It was funny, witty and totally savage and I loved it to a point that I even cackled out loud.

All in all, To Kill a Kingdom was a great, satisfying read. I was impressed by Alexandra Christo’s poetic and mesmerising writing, the twist in the story and how things ended. And yes, guys. To Kill a Kingdom is a standalone! Hurrah for standalones which seem to be drastically rare these days. If you’re looking for something that is dark, magical and action-packed, I’d recommend you to pick up To Kill a Kingdom!

kevin

8 thoughts on “Dark, Monstrous and Magical // To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo”

  1. Awesome review, Kevin! You really sell this book quite well. I love dark fantasy stories that are imaginative and spellbinding, which it sounds like this one is. I’m planning on reading it next month and I can’t wait!

    Like

    1. I really enjoyed her writing, if anything. I wish the final battle between Lira, Elian and the Queen was more epic though! But a great standalone, nevertheless.

      Like

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