Review – To Kill A Kingdom

To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

I have a heart for every year I’ve been alive.
There are seventeen hidden in the sand of my bedroom. Every so often, I claw through the shingle, just to check they’re still there.
Buried deep and bloody.

Princess Lira is siren royalty and revered across the sea until she is cursed into humanity by the ruthless Sea Queen. Now Lira must deliver the heart of the infamous siren killer or remain a human forever.

Prince Elian is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world, and captain to a deadly crew of siren hunters. When he rescues a drowning woman from the ocean, she promises to help him destroy sirenkind for good. But he has no way of knowing whether he can trust her…

Hearts are power, and if there’s one thing my kind craves more than the ocean, it’s power.

I was initially a bit sceptical when I picked this up – I’ve had mixed feelings about retellings and The Little Mermaid was never one of my favourites, but I’d seen enough people rave about To Kill A Kingdom that I decided to give it a try.

I was actually pleasantly surprised. Lira is a siren, and loses her song instead of her voice, and Elian is much more of a pirate than prince, and a lot more badass and involved than in the original. The story was told from both their points of view, which actually worked quite well, especially at the beginning, as it helped to develop the different worlds the characters inhabit.

The romance was very predictable but also very slow-burn, which was kinda refreshing – there is so much insta-love in YA at the minute that I’m actually becoming a big fan of slow-burn (I used to hate it) because the alternative is so unrealistic.

Love and madness are two stars in the same sky. You cannot build a roof to keep out last year’s rain.

There was a side plot with another one of the characters, which I thought was kind of unnecessary and her “big reveal” was so predictable. Unfortunately there was so little character-building with most of the secondary characters that when this completely random person started getting a lot of page time you knew that they were going to have a major role to play.

The pacing of the book felt slightly off too. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a well built world with plenty of background and detail, and a plot that takes it time building up to the epic finale…but this one kinda struggled with both. There could have been more information about the lands and the politics, which was briefly mentioned but not completely explained, and it spent a long time building up to the finale that then seemed to be over very quickly.

It feels like all I’ve done is pick holes in this book, but I actually really enjoyed it! It was fairly fast-paced and I finished it in two days, and would definitely pick up another book by Alexandra Christo, especially if she can leave a little more room for the big finale in her next one.
All in all, very enjoyable, and I would recommend especially if you enjoy darker retellings with some pirate action thrown in!

“That’s the thing about risks,” Kye says. “It’s impossible to know which ones are worth it until it’s too late.”

To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
Published 2018 by Hot Key Books
Read July 2018


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