To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo – REVIEW
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?
“There’s nothing in the world but pain and the rare moments that exist in between.”
Thank you to the lovely publisher Hot Key Books for the review copy. This book was so good that as soon as I finished reading it I ordered a hardback for my collection. I could read it all over again less than 24 hours later as it was a perfect standalone. Loosely inspired by The Little Mermaid, the story begins with the ruthless Princess Lira, a siren and daughter of the Sea Witch. Known as the Princes’ Bane, Lira must quickly learn to adapt when she’s transformed into a human as punishment. Lira’s character has been formed by the cruelty of her mother in a society where murder is mandatory and humanity is seen as a disease to be eradicated. I loved how Lira became physically weaker and had to learn a new kind of moral and emotional strength in order to survive.
“It is like that in the sea. Brutal and unrelenting. Filled with endless cruelty that has no recompense.”
Alternating with Lira’s point of view is that of Elian, a human prince and siren hunter who has vowed to kill the Princes’ Bane. The similarities between Lira and Elian lead to a growing connection as each is intrigued and captivated by the other but any chance of a happy ending seems impossible. I loved how most of the action was set on the Saad, Elian’s ship. His loyal crew share a deep bond and I particularly liked Elian’s friendship with Kye, Madrid and Torik. Madrid was one of my favourite characters with a backstory I’d be eager to read more about one day. The moments of humour between Elian and his crew, and Lira and Elian really made me fall in love with all of these characters.
“We are not naive little heirs to be molded as they wish. We are warriors. We are rulers.”
The world-building was amazing, especially for a standalone. It reached a level of complexity that seemed impossible for such a short book. I can imagine it’s a world that the author could easily revisit in future books as each kingdom differed so completely. The engaging writing style and evocative language ensure the reader falls under the story’s spell. I couldn’t put the book down as it seemed like any sort of resolution was impossible. Yet as I finished it, I was completely satisfied with the ending and honestly could have gone back to the first page to read it again. To Kill a Kingdom is definitely one of the best YA fantasy I’ve ever read and a new favourite.
|About the Author
Alexandra currently lives in Hertfordshire with an abundance of cacti (because they’re the only plants she can keep alive).