Disclosure: I received a review copy of To Kill a Kingdom from Pansing Books, a regional distributor, in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo • contains 352 pages • published March 6, 2018 by Hot Key Books, Bonnier Zaffre • classified as Fantasy, Young Adult • obtained through Pansing Books • read as ARC • shelve on Goodreads
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 fantasy standalone done right. Even better, it is so much more than I had envisioned!
The story arc is engaging from beginning to end. Even though To Kill a Kingdom isn’t a thick book, it’s filled with a variety of characters who each are very well developed. I loved that even though the book is narrated from the dual-perspectives between Lira and Elian, three of the four most influential characters are women. Seriously, they are made of iron, which befits the theme.
In fact, this book fully lives up to the promise of its title. There are several monsters and those who aren’t monsters still are monstrous in their own rights. Nearly every character is brutal, if not ruthless. They are unapologetically self-serving which gives rise to a lot of drama. It’s all these elements that for me, made To Kill a Kingdom one of the most fun fantasy books to read.
What struck me was the Sea Queen. Thanks to Disney, Ursula tends to spring to mind whenever I think of sea witches. When I was younger, I used to skip past her scenes in The Little Mermaid because I absolutely hated her. I didn’t care to see or hear her on screen. She’s the only Disney villain I wished into oblivion.
When I first got into To Kill a Kingdom, I couldn’t shake images of Ursula. Yet the more I read on, the more this cartoon character faded away. A different character built up in my imagination, and I came to appreciate the complexity of this villain.
With her writing, Alexandra broke down pre-conceived notions that I had and rebuilt them to be something entirely different. That’s the mark of a promising author — to be original even when revisiting old tales.
Generally, I liked the pacing of To Kill a Kingdom as well. I just wish the ending hadn’t been quite so abrupt. Nonetheless, this book stands very well on its own and is such a satisfying read.