‘I have a heart for every year I’ve been alive’ – Review of To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

Posted October 7, 2019 by Fictional Fox in Book Review / 0 Comments

‘I have a heart for every year I’ve been alive’ – Review of To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra ChristoTo Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
Published by Feiwel & Friends on March 6, 2018
Pages: 344
One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

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?

A standalone novel about a siren and a pirate prince who are pushed together despite being bitter enemies?

I was sold on this book before I even read the first sentence (which is killer, by the way). To Kill a Kingdom is such a dark, fun and fantastical novel.

While I was reading it I took it with me everywhere. Unfortunately it ended up getting utterly soaked one weekend while I was working at a very damp flower festival. Turns out a story about the fate of the sea kingdom of Keto is at all waterproof 🤷‍♂️. Thankfully, my dad managed to save my book by re-laminating it. I’ve never been so happy to have a book saved! It allowed me to finish reading this lush tale of a murderous princess and her identity crisis.

To Kill a Kingdom is told via dual narrators, Lira and Elian.

Elian wrestles with two separate personas: one the one hand, he is the heir to the kingdom of Midas and expected to rule after his father. But in truth his heart belongs at sea. His second persona is as the Captain of the Saad. His main quest is to eliminate sirens and the treat they pose to humans at sea.

The ‘Princes Bane’ is the most infamous of these sirens as she rips hearts out of princes. Enter Lira, our other narrator and the Princes Bane in the flesh. She is the daughter of the vicious Sea Queen who has pressured Lira into doing terrible things in order to shape her in her own image.

The plot quickly focuses itself on a quest to find an artefact that could end the Sea Queen’s reign of terror. Elian wants to find it to end things while Lira is tasked with foiling his plans and taking his heart.

What ensues is a story about taking control of your own narrative . At the beginning Elian and Lira seem to already have their paths mapped out for them by their parents. The quest above widens in scope considerably. It takes on the added dimension of searching for a way to define themselves away from their parents shadow. The answers to the latter is what really saves their kingdoms and people.

The found family aspect of this novel also feeds into the ‘control your own narrative’ theme as Elian, and later Lira, find comfort in the devoted crew of the Saad showing that sometimes the best family is the one you choose for yourself.

There are plenty of neatly clever plot twists, betrayals, and double crossings throughout this novel. Which keeps it exciting. So, too, does the satisfying application of the enemies to lovers trope.

One of my favourite aspects of this novel, though, is that it is a standalone story. It is a nice change of pace from my habit of reading lengthy book series to instead enjoy a self contained story.

Lira and Elian’s character arcs felt fully explored within the bounds of this single volume and I found the ending very satisfying. There are just enough enough narrative doors open to allow the reader to run away with their imagination and think of what the future could hold for these characters. I certainly would not be sad if the author chose to write more books in this world but at the same time this ending felt just right.

In summary this book : Is deliciously dark. Features pirates, sirens, found family and the power of the sea. What more could you want for a great read?

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

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