To Kill a Kingdom
By Alexandra Christo
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Kindle ASIN: B074T2H1SH
Genre: YA Fantasy/ Retelling
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?
Can I be frank for a moment? I loved this book with all of my bookish heart. I am going to sing its praise like the song of the sirens and encourage all of you to pick it up if you are a fan of retellings. I devoured it! Holding the strongest affection for fairy tales and deep-sea settings with plots that revolve around mermaids and sirens, I felt as if To Kill a Kingdom were written for me. Of course, it wasn’t, but we paired beautifully.
Princess Lira is a fierce and revered siren. She also happens to be the daughter of the Sea
Witch Queen and heir to the throne. Known as the Prince’s Bane for collecting the hearts of princes (17, one for every year she has lived) she is the deadliest. But when she breaks that tradition by bringing back her 18th heart early, she is punished by the Queen and transformed into the very creature they abhor, a human. Now she has until the Winter Solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart or remain a human and lost to her home forever.
Prince Elian, also heir to the throne of his kingdom Midas, knows no other true home than his ship and crew. He sails the seas in search of sirens, seeking to destroy each and every last one in an effort to put an end to the Prince’s Bane and many deaths that occur at their hands. When he rescues a strange woman from the sea who happens to speak the language of the sirens and promises to help him in his quest, he is unsure to as whether he can trust her. But can he risk missing the opportunity to end the mankind’s greatest threat in the sea?
“I’ve spent my life trying to be just what my mother wanted—the worst of us all—in an effort to show that I’m worthy of the trident. I became the Princes’ Bane, a title that defines me throughout the world. For the kingdom—for my mother—I am ruthless.”
What I appreciated..
- I feel like I could just keep this simple and say EVERYTHING!
- Lira is a cruel and fierce and completely unapologetic. She goes against the YA grain in terms of protagonist offering something new and refreshing that borders antagonist but never quite reaches that point. I savored every moment of her opposition and cunningness.
- Prince Elian is admirable, exhibiting an ardent loyalty to his crew and life at the sea while maintaining great respect and love for his own family and the life he does not feel he belongs with. But he is not the perfect gentleman always, as he is a pirate at heart which is often exhibited through a tough exterior and often hard-edged attitude.
- The world building is established through rich exploration of history and lore that provides a vivid portrayal of life both on land and off. Sirens and mermaids are clearly defined as two separate and hauntingly mesmerizing species that I could not get enough of.
- Told through alternating perspectives, the writing is seamless and captivating, offering an original take on the familiar while avoiding the typical insta-love trope (thank you for this Alexandra Christo!)
“In the pits of our souls – if I amuse myself with the notion that I have a soul – Elian and I aren’t so different. Two kingdoms that come with responsibilities we each have trouble bearing. Him, the shackles of being pinned to one land and one life. Me, trapped in the confines of my mother’s murderous legacy. And the ocean, calling out to us both. A song of freedom and longing.”
Challenges some may encounter..
- There are times the pacing slows down briefly, but chapters are succinct and it recovers easily.
- There is some violence and graphic content.
To Kill a Kingdom is a stunning reimagination of a classic tale that rewards readers with something original. It’s quick, clever and brimming with enchantment and action! It will find an appreciated home among the shelves of YA Fantasy fans who enjoy a dark and savory retelling and leave them craving more.
Serves well with a dark, spiced plum tea.
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