“You can’t win a war,’ I tell her. ‘Someone else just loses.”
I received a digital ARC of Alexandra Christo’s To Kill A Kingdom from NetGalley and Macmillan Publishing in exchange for an honest review. This Little Mermaid retelling follows Lira, a siren known as the Prince’s Bane. As the daughter of the treacherous Sea Queen, she has been raised to kill princes every year on her birthday. When she fails to obey her mother’s orders, however, she’s sentenced to life as a human. And that’s how she comes across our other protagonist, Elian. Elian is a prince, but he’s also a pirate – one who hunts and kills sirens. The two embark on a journey to find a legendary object that will bring an end to the Sea Queen’s reign – but they both have their own motives in mind.
That this book is a debut is so, so impressive. Christo’s world building is spectacular, and she manages to include a lot in just a few hundred pages. The structure of the kingdom is easy to understand, as are the rules surrounding magic. It helps that the writing flows so well. But you can definitely tell a lot of time went into creating the kingdoms and everything in them.
Both of our main characters are undeniably charming, and they have the perfect balance of self-interest and human decency. They’re both killers, but the author also frequently shows us their vulnerabilities. Elian’s crew also made for amazing side characters, and though they were difficult to differentiate at first, I wound up enjoying them as much as Lira and Elian.
The romance in this book is well done, and I’m hard to please in that area. It’s definitely a slow burn, and the characters grow on each other through a series of arguments and sarcastic conversations – it’s the perfect scenario for that hate to love trope that I hate loving.
My only real complaint is that the ending wraps up too nicely for my liking. With the brutality of the characters, I was expecting something more tragic. And even if it wasn’t tragic, I don’t know – more difficulty in achieving their goals would have been nice? It just felt a bit rushed to me.
I gave To Kill A Kingdom a 4 out of 5 star rating on Goodreads. If you’re into Young Adult fantasy, I highly recommend picking this book up! It comes out tomorrow, and you’ll have a ton of fun reading it.
Has anyone else read To Kill A Kingdom? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!