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…
Thank you to Hot Key Books for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
It’s official: I can’t resist dark fairy tale retellings. And wow, this is dark. To Kill a Kingdom is a loose retelling of The Little Mermaid and Alexandra Christo has put her own unique spin on the story. It features sirens and pirates, as well as nods to Greek mythology. There are also some subtle references to Disney. While mermaids do appear in this book, they are weird!
I like how this is told in dual perspectives. Lira is a siren who has been raised to be a ruthless killer. She literally steals the hearts of princes and is known as the “Prince’s Bane”. Her character arc is an interesting exploration of nature vs nurture. Prince Elian shuns a comfortable lifestyle and prefers instead to hunt sirens with his pirate crew. He is a restless soul and not your typical Prince Charming. Although Lira and Elian are from two different worlds, they are alike in some ways and struggle to fulfil the weight of their parents’ expectations. Lira’s mother, the Sea Queen, in particular is terrifying and gives off strong Ursula vibes.
Hate to love is my favourite trope, so in theory this should have been my perfect read. However, Lira and Elian hate each other for most of the novel. They do share a lot of banter, but I couldn’t get behind the romance. These two are both strong characters though and Lira is an assertive heroine who stands up for what she feels is right.
What stood out for me is Christo’s beautiful writing. She has an enchanting way with words and is a brilliant storyteller. I enjoyed the vivid world building of the hundred kingdoms on land and the sea kingdom of Keto, each of which has their own laws and traditions.
To Kill a Kingdom is a mesmerising retelling with a twist. I recommend this to fans of morally grey characters.