Title: To Kill A Kingdom
Author: Alexandra Christo
Release Date: March 2018
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
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?
It’s been a long time since I encountered a YA fantasy stand-alone novel, since majority of fantasy books are in a series. And it being a stand-alone book did not disappoint at all! I heard a lot of hype and good things about this book from my friends and people on Bookstagram. I only put it off because I was still busy with school during its release and I wasn’t in the mood for anything remotely fantasy during those times. So when I finally gave in the urge to read the book, I was amazed at how I was not able to stop myself from finishing it entirely!
- RETELLING OF THE LITTLE MERMAID
This book is a retelling of the classic fairy tale, The Little Mermaid. But imagine The Little Mermaid being one of the most deadly sirens in the ocean and instead of enjoying her life as a human with legs, she is banished from her realm to get the heart of the prince as her punishment. For a fairy tale YA retelling, TKAK is suuuuuuper dark, which made me love it more. I always enjoyed dark and twisted retellings because it helps me divert these images from the ones most people have seen in fairy tale books or in Disney movies. After all, all the original fairy tales have dark and twisted themes on it before books and Disney made it G-rated.
2. WORLD BUILDING and PLOT
I always loved a good book with an amazing world building. This is also one of the few fantasy novels that I encountered that hasn’t used a map. Most fantasy books come with maps in them so that the reader can really grasp the geography of the new world the author is presenting, and that they wouldn’t get lose during most of the time. TKAK does not have a map, but the incredible writing style and vivid imagery Alexandra Cristo wrote was more than enough to describe the whole area where the book is taking place. I could clearly imagine it in my head where everyone without a hard time, and it also gave me a free reign on how I wish the world to look like just based on her descriptions alone. The setting was just beautifully written, so hands down for that!
For a short novel, this one had packed a whole lot of stuff in it that I really enjoyed. I loved that the book had the POVs of both Lira and Elian, since we were able to know more about the conflict between their worlds through their eyes, and how they see each other. Basically all the sea creatures hates the humans, and vice versa, and Elian is the notorious Siren Killer while Lira is the Princes’ Bane. A huge storm was already brewing between them from the very start. I also loved the conflicts that each character had with their families and kingdoms, and how these conflicts paved the way into the rest of the story. TKAK is just a really amazing book full of lies, internal and external wars, deceit, loyalty, and wit that you just can’t help but not love.
The only problem I had with this book is the part where Elian finally found out Lira’s true identity. It was just a bit anti-climatic. I was actually expecting a lot more from it since the plot was rapidly building up already at that time, and then it just plateaued during that part. I wasn’t even surprised it happened like that. I expected more action and drama during that reveal.
I also loved how the romance in this book wasn’t a huge part of the story. It was a key, yes, but it didn’t become a really significant thing until the latter part of the book. The lack of romance in the first half of the book helped in developing the story more and the interaction between the characters.
3. CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT
Can I just say that this book is one of the best books I’ve read when it comes to character growth? We saw both how Lira and Elian grew into better versions of themselves once they realized all the things and circumstances that were being thrown against them. I actually loved Lira’s character development more, because we saw how much she had realized the extent of her mother’s control and manipulation in her life – in all the sea creatures – life when she was able to interact with humans. It reminded me so much of Manon Blackbeak from Throne of Glass when she realized that she wasn’t born into a monster, but was made to be a monster. Gah! My Manon feels were all over the place every time Lira had those thoughts! Her notions that she wasn’t the monster her mother molded her to be made her become a better siren/person that fit and made the world into a better place. She learned to empathize with humans, and those strong human emotions helped her break out of the shell her mother molded her into something better and stronger. I also loved Elian’s character development too, but Lira’s just stood out the most for me!
I am highly recommending this book to everyone of all ages! It’s a dark yet incredible read that will keep you in the edge of your seats and flipping the pages quickly until you’re finished! If you want romance, then it also has it in the form of wits and flirting between Elian and Lira.
Have you guys read this book? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section!