“Technically, I’m a murderer, but I like to think that’s one of my better qualities.”
This book was so much fun! A heart-stopping adventure with sirens, sea queens, princes, pirates, and golden kingdoms – what more can you want?
Princess Lira is the most lethal of all the sirens, but when she is forced to kill one of her own, her mother, the Sea Queen, punishes her by turning her into her worst nightmare: a human. Without her siren song she has to give her mother the heart of Prince Elian, a notorious siren-hunter, or remain a human forever.
The book is very loosely inspired by The Little Mermaid, and it has some of the same elements: a prince, a mermaid (a siren in this case), and an evil sea queen. But that’s about where the similarities end. Lira is no love-struck girl trying to win the prince’s heart; instead she’s a fierce, murderous siren intent on cutting his heart out. She is known across the seas as the Princes’ Bane, because of her preference for only ripping out the hearts of princes.
“They are the next generation of rules, and by killing them, I kill the future. Just as my mother taught me.”
Elian is no ordinary prince either. He resents the idea of being shackled to a throne, and chooses a life of adventure and hunting sirens instead. He’s especially focused on killing the siren known as the Princes’ Bane, and the exciting plot begins when, unbeknownst to him, she ends up on his ship with a fresh pair of legs.
The book is told from both Lira and Elian’s POVs in alternating chapters, and I think it works really well. Both of their characters are so interesting, and it’s exciting to be in both of their heads as the plot unfolds. They are both very well developed, and it’s refreshing to have such morally questionable characters as leads in YA. They’re both murderous for different reasons, but somehow neither of them is unlikeable.
The development of their relationship is also a lot of fun, and their banter is delightful:
“See how you like it when I hold out my arm to help you walk, even though you’re not shot in the leg.”
“I’d be flattered,” I say, “that you would look for an excuse just to hold my hand.”
“Perhaps I’m just looking for an excuse to shoot you.”
Alexandra Christo’s writing absolutely enthralled me. This is only her debut novel, so I’m very excited to see what she writes in the future. This is a standalone, and although I would have liked to spend much more time in this world and with these characters, the ending of the book is pretty perfect.
To Kill a Kingdom is a breathtaking adventure across the seas; with delightfully morally questionable characters and a perfect slow-burn romance that every fan of YA fantasies should read.