Published by Feiwel & Friends on March 6th 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy & Magic, Romance, Action & Adventure
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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?
I’ve heard nothing but great things about this book, so obviously I had to pick it up the moment it came out! To Kill A Kingdom really holds up to its promises – a dark atmosphere, heartless heroine, and swoon-worthy slow-burn romance. I enjoyed the book from beginning to end, and it’s awesome to hear that the author was also a book blogger as well! This one pushed all the right buttons for me, and I heartily recommend it for fantasy readers craving for a refreshing read.
To Kill A Kingdom paints a gorgeous world of sirens that drag people to their deaths and an amalgam of islands that have separate monarchies. While humans rule on land, sirens rule in the deep sea under the Sea Queen. If humans ever go on ships or travel across the sea, they’re fair game for the sirens. The dynamics between the siren-fearing humans and human-heart-stealing sirens was really well-written and believable.
Hearts are power, and if there’s one thing my kind craves more than the ocean, it’s power.
Princess Lira is turning eighteen years old and is being punished by her cold mother, the Sea Queen, for defying her orders. Her punishment is to steal the heart of Prince Elian, the crown prince of the Midas kingdom known for its wealth and prosperity. The problem is, she has to do this as a human and without any of her siren powers. To make matters even more difficult, Elian is searching to kill her siren self. So we’re trapped in this game where the hunters are being hunted by the other, which makes for interesting interactions. I thoroughly enjoyed their dialogue and their respective character developments. While this wasn’t a character-driven book, their characters were well-explored and vivacious!
Prince Elian isn’t comfortable as crown prince – in fact, he feels more at home on his ship, the Saad with his fun crew. It isn’t that he doesn’t like responsibility, it’s just that he could never imagine himself responsible for the kingdom. His parents indulge him by letting him soar through the seas, but he finds it an escape where he can find himself. Soon enough, he gains a reputation for being a siren-killer. Already, you have it set-up so both characters (it alternates between their POV’s) are quite ruthless when it comes to the opposite species.
My crew is my family and though I could never say it – perhaps, don’t need to say it – the Saad is my true home.
The rest of the characters are also pretty awesome (mostly the crew of the Saad, along with several other sirens and even mermaids) in terms of description and action. The plot is constantly turning so there really isn’t a slow or boring moment in the book. Honestly, the 300 or so pages goes by SO quickly and you can’t help but want to turn the page for more.
There is a super slow-burn romance that I really enjoyed. The banter between Elian and Lira was excellent and I found myself rereading some of those lines because they were just too darn cute. I love romances in a fantasy that are slow-burn – I feel like characters really get to know each other if they don’t fall headfirst into love/attraction/lust. Additionally, there’s a whole forbidden love element, as Elian and Lira are the very prey they are both hunting (as well as the taboo relationship of a siren and human). The resolution of their growing tension and relationship was written very well, and I could not have asked for a more satisfying conclusion.
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… And the ocean, calling out to us both. A song of freedom and longing.
While To Kill A Kingdom maintains a dark atmosphere, it’s not very intense. There’s a certain quality that makes it a quick read so readers don’t get bogged down by weighty emotions. The “dark” part of it is mostly the character’s sharp cunning manners and merciless ways. There’s phenomenal exploration of Lira and Elian’s internal conflict, and this exploration only added to me falling in love with the characters.
We are not naive little heirs to be molded as they wish. We are warriors. We are rulers.
I definitely recommend To Kill A Kingdom for readers looking for an adventure that promises on action, romance, and amazing character development. There are certain Little Mermaid qualities/plot-points, but it’s far from the Disney version that we may have grown up watching. Christo masterfully twists those elements to create a stunning, dark, stand-alone fantasy that you won’t be able to put down. An A+ debut!
Content Warning: explicit violence, abuse, death
Rating: 4 out of 5
Thank you Allen & Unwin for the review copy!
To Kill A Kingdom will be out in Australian bookstores for $19.99 AUD and American bookstores for $18.99 USD.