I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Feiwel & Friends on March 6, 2018
Source: the publisher
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?
To Kill a Kingdom was dark, brutal, and haunting. I’ve seen this book described as many things, but two descriptions stand out the most to me: “a dark Little Mermaid retelling” and “Daughter of the Pirate King meets Language of Thorns.” Now, while I haven’t read Language of Thorns yet (I know, I know – I’m SUPER behind), I can 100% see these comparisons. And I’m 100% here for both. This world that Alexandra Christo created was like nothing I’ve ever read, and it was just incredible.
I LOVED Lira. She was fierce and brutal and unapologetic. I loved her relationship with Kahlia, and the way their bond brought out the humanity in Lira. She had incredible character growth throughout the book, and I loved the way her story ended.
I absolutely adored Elian! He was hilarious and cocky, and so sure of himself when he was on the sea. Like Lira, he had a pretty epic journey, as far as character growth went. And also like with Lira, I loved the way his story ended.
I 100% shipped Lira and Elian, even while thinking, “wow, these two are brutal and unrelenting in their missions… how can this possibly end well??” I loved their banter and the progression of their relationship. Going back to the Daughter of the Pirate King/Siren Queen comparison, I would compare their relationship and banter with that of Alosa and Riden. SO MANY FEELS!! And I loved the ending of the book sooooo much. I don’t think it could have ended any other way, and I think it ended the best way it could. It made sense for both characters.
The Sea Queen in this was absolutely, 100% pure evil. She had no redeeming qualities. And.. I kind of liked that, honestly. Don’t get me wrong, I love villain origin stories and villain retellings. I love seeing the villain’s side of the story, and seeing how they came to be the villain. But sometimes, having the villain just be the villain is necessary. In this case, it was very necessary and absolute perfection.
Other characters that deserve a mention are the members of Elian’s crew: Torik, Kye and Madrid. I loved their fierce loyalty to Elian, and found their different reactions to Lira intriguing.
The only major issue I had was that this book had a dual POV (which I didn’t know) and the US ARC didn’t warn you when the POV was switching. In the beginning, I found that very confusing. But after a few chapters, I could tell who was who by the voice and context. Some authors don’t manage dual POVs well, and it all sounds like the same character. But Alexandra Christo did a great job of giving Lira and Elian different voices.
Overall, if you couldn’t tell by my fangirly review, I really loved this book. I HIGHLY recommend it for fans of pirates, sirens, shippy banter and high-seas adventures.
“Technically, I’m a murderer, but I like to think that’s one of my better qualities.” (Normally I note who the quote is from, but it might be a spoiler so I’m not going to this time. Also, in my opinion, it can work for both main characters).