Well, what a whirlwind that was! Just finished To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo, and in short, it’s a twisted, cruel version of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. I gave it 4.5 out of 5 ivy leaves 😁
This ARC was provided to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review. Thank you.
To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
Synopsis by NetGalley
Dark and romantic YA fantasy for fans of Sarah J Maas – about the siren with a taste for royal blood and the prince who has sworn to destroy her
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 unsavoury 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?
The book itself: Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was funny with a lot of banter and action-packed plot. The romance side was a less prominent aspect and that was really nice. I felt this could easily be one of those stories which had a heavy romance part, but it didn’t and that was great.
The Story: It’s a retelling of the Little Mermaid but in a wicked way. Our main character Lira is a siren with burning red hair and a powerful luring song (hello little mermaid👋). After crossing the queen her song is taken and she grows feet, again hello little mermaid👋. She then meets a prince and has to take his heart within a specific time frame, (are you sure your not the little mermaid?). Though she wants to rip the beating heart out of his still breathing body and grow her collection of human prince hearts (definitely not the little mermaid).
The prince is sailing the sea, as Eric does, and tries to escape from his role as heir to the kingdom, as Eric also does. He actively hunts siren (yeah, Eric doesn’t do that…) and often set himself as bait to lure sirens into the net (Eric would definitely not do that). He picks up Lira from the middle of nowhere and I felt his lack of connecting the dots in these scenes of who she is was a bit of a letdown. If he is not to figure it out yet then don’t give me all the clues, it makes the character seem dumb. Leave some mystery for me too.
The queen is the main villain in this story but there is also a lot of grey areas with the main characters and their supporters. Killing is cruel but also necessary in a world where there is a constant war between sea and land.
The plot of Keto was thrilling and very enjoyable, and I felt it fitted well with the characters. I really enjoyed the mythology aspect and believing in fairytales 😊
The Characters: There are two main characters, but there are in total quite a lot of people in this book which gives it depth.
Lira is the siren princess. She is cruel and wicked. She prefers torture to a clean kill, and find others who perform a clean kill to be soft. I really enjoyed her. Yes, she is wicked (but so am I) but she has her soft parts. Even though she wants pain (seriously, she placed herself under a jellyfish to feel the pain flow through her body, and nudges it when it stops), she has a humanity which grows as she becomes human.
Elian is the siren killer and prince of the golden kingdom. I really enjoy his humour and the dry sarcasm he shares with his crew. He really cares for his chosen family, aka the crew and doesn’t want any harm to come to them. He doesn’t care if they use his name to get places or tell stories of him behind his back. They just add to the mystery that he is to the rest of the world. I had a minor issue with him being naive as a character and alwasy spilling his plans or getting played without him even realising he is being naive. He doesnt learn!
Fan art by Ereste.
There are also Elian’s sidekicks of Kye and Madrid who cannot stop flirt with each other for a second, though it is quite funny. Kahlia is Lira’s cousin and the only other siren Lira feels protective over, aka Lira’s soft spot. I would have liked to get to know more of the sirens especially Kahlia, and maybe the queen’s background and why she didn’t like or care for her daughter much. In general, there were a lot of things in this book which could have been explored in more depth, but I did like the final product as it is too.
The relationship between the characters was great. I feel there could have been more to some of it, especially to the hatred the prince feels to the Prince’s Bane, I feel its a bit thin. I didn’t feel his anger through the pages, I knew he was angry but I didn’t feel it. Now if the Prince’s Bane had taken his brother I could understand the hatred more.
I did like the slow-burn of the romance tho, it was very sweet and fairly innocent which enhances the characters change throughout the story.
Writing: It’s a dual perspective book where you read from the Lira and Elian in the first person. The writing was easy and flowing, and I had no problems or issues with it. I would be interested to read something by this author again.
Have you read this? What did you think?