Title // To Kill a Kingdom
Author // Alexandra Christo
Publication Date // May 2018
Publisher //Bonnier (Hot Key)
Readership // Young Adult
Genre // Fantasy
Australian RRP // $19.99
Rating // ✭✭✭☆
I received a copy ofTo Kill a Kingdom from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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?
To Kill a Kingdom is a dark young adult fantasy novel with The Little Mermaid undertones… but with sirens who like to claim the hearts of humans who trespass on the sea. What’s not to enjoy about that?
Lira is the daughter of the Sea Queen, and a renowned (and feared) siren for her determination to kill and take the hearts of human princes every year on her birthday. After she angers her mother, she’s turned into a human as punishment and sent to capture the heart of Prince Elian, a siren-hunting prince more at home on the sea than on a throne. Thrust together on a dangerous quest to find the one thing that will destroy her mother, and sirens, for good, Lira has to stop Elian from finding out who she truly is.
I have mixed feelings about To Kill a Kingdom. I enjoyed it – a lot – but not for the reasons I was expecting. I was hoping for something dark and gritty that had the potential for taking the unpredictable route and going for an ending that didn’t include a romance. Sirens are dangerous creatures who sing humans to their death and what better story than to pit a siren princess against a siren-hunting prince, right? There are elements of that story included, but about half-way through the story it becomes the adventure quest searching for the way to destroy the Sea Queen and sirens and Lira is beginning to question her people’s history (if not her own past) and her mother’s rule.
There are lots of things I really liked: the banter between Lira and Elian was great, the setting and premise was also really fascinating and I liked the elements of The Little Mermaid thrown in. I also liked the idea that mermaids and mermen were not the magical, beautiful beings we’re familiar with. That added a nice, creepy element.
I felt like the side-characters were just there to add dialogue most of the time, and we don’t really get enough of their backstory to be invested in them. I think the ending took the easy way out and opted for forbidden romance and romanticising the idea of sirens rather than sticking to the notion of them being dangerous and fairly ferocious beings. I also didn’t like Elian as much as Lira – he’s a prince running away from his throne and responsibilities, hiding behind the notion of killing the most dangerous siren as a reason.
Overall I enjoyed the book and appreciated what it was trying to do. I would definitely recommend it to young adult readers who enjoy dark fantasy books with some romance thrown in. If you’re looking for a grittier story, it’s probably not the one for you.
I gave To Kill a Kingdom 3.5 out of 5 stars.