To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo Review: A Little Mermaid Retelling five-stars
To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
Published by Feiwel & Friends on March 6, 2018
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Fairy Tales & Folklore, Mermaids
Pages: 352
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Lira, a famous siren, must prove herself by stealing the heart of the man, a prince, threatening their race in this dark and action-packed debut.

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 and 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?

Alexandra Christo's debut is a dark and richly imagined take on The Little Mermaid that will leave readers breathless.

To Kill A Kingdom Review

 

To Kill a Kingdom is a YA fantasy novel by author Alexandra Christo. The story follows Lira- a seventeen-year old siren who is infamously known as the Prince’s bane due to her morbid task of ripping the hearts out of prince’s every time she ages a year- and Prince Elian, a young man who have notoriously earned a reputation as a siren killer. Lira makes a grievous mistake in the beginning of the story which forces her malevolent mother, the sea queen, to issue an ultimatum- either retrieve the heart of Prince Elian while in the form of a human, or risk being a human forever. Prince Elian, learning about the death of a dear friend to the nefarious Prince’s Bane, sets out on a quest to not only find her, but find a jewel that is thought capable of ending the lives of ALL sirens.

A twist of fate throws both Prince Elian and Lira into each other’s paths. What results is an epic adventure filled with devious pirates, daring sword fights, treacherous travels through snowy mountains, and a generous dose of love and friendship.

*Review below may contain some spoilers*

The story starts out with Lira ripping the heart from the chest cavity of a young prince while his mother screams in terror. After reading this, I thought, “Well. Not sure how I feel about this siren.” A part of me was reluctant to move on, not sure how comfortable I was with the actions of Lira. However, I decided to push through it, hoping that I would have a better understanding of her actions. Thankfully, this happened early on. Lira’s childhood was a tragic tale of a twisted, evil mother who was basically emotionally abusive. Lira had been forced to do an unspeakable thing as a young girl that resulted in the hardening of her own heart and the staunching of any emotions that can be construed as “good”. While this understanding does nothing to negate the horror of her actions towards princes, it does provide a nice scandalous premise for the story.

Prince Elian escapes his duty as a prince destined to rule by recruiting a loyal crew of pirates and sailing the seas in search of sirens to kill. In Elian’s mind, all sirens are evil and must be vanquished. He does not understand their actions, their culture, or their language, yet seeks to end them all anyway…even chasing the idea of mass genocide of their entire species.  It is while on this quest that Elian fishes Lira out of the sea, believing her to be a human in need of rescuing. Lira unsuccessfully tries to attack Elian upon meeting him, which makes her untrustworthy in the eyes of his crew. Lira eventually learns of Elian’s plan to end all sirens and decides to join him on his quest so that she can steal the jewel for herself and usurp her mother as the sea queen.

The chemistry between Lira and Elian is constantly charged. Their dialogue was amusing, and I constantly found myself grinning by their witty repertoire. Both characters were strong, with Elian not the only one playing “savior”, but Lira finding herself in that position as well. I enjoy stories with strong female protagonists and To Kill a Kingdom delivered in that respect. I can hardly say any woman in this story was “weak”. In addition, I LOVED that two women ended up marrying one another and equally ruling a nation- as same-sex marriage is often underrepresented in stories- especially those in the YA genre.

To Kill a Kingdom left me with a major book hangover. And for that, I give the story FIVE stars!!

five-stars