Format: E-Book, 352 pages
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Source: ARC Via NetGalley
Genre: Young Adult / Fairy Tales & Folklore
This action-packed YA debut pits a deadly siren princess and a siren-hunting human prince against each other as they fight to protect their kingdoms.
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 and 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?
To Kill a Kingdom is the debut novel of author Alexandra Christo. One could call this story a loose retelling of Little Mermaid except with brutal sirens who take human hearts and a whole lot darker. Lira is presumably Ariel, while Elian is Eric. The story alternates between two distinctly different lead protagonists; Siren Princess Lira and Prince Elian Midas.
"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. I count each of them, so I can be sure none were stolen in the night. It’s not such an odd fear to have. Hearts are power, and if there’s one thing my kind craves more than the ocean, it’s power."
Lira, aka Prince's Bane, is the most devastating siren in all the lands. Lira is known for singing, luring into the sea, killing, and taking human prince's hearts. There is one in particular that she has set her sights on; Prince Elian. She is also the daughter of the Siren Queen who rules over not only sirens, but mermen as well. But, after making a mistake that costs the life of one of the Queen's subjects, the Siren Queen decides to make her human. She is also given an ultimatum. Bring back the heart of the Siren Killer or else. Robbed of her siren song, Lira has until the Winter Solstice to deliver Elian's heart to the Queen.
Prince Elian Midas is heir to the Midas Kingdom, captain of his own ship called Saad, a notorious siren hunter who carries a magical blade that drinks the blood of those he kills, and the very definition of a pirate prince. He is fearless, clever, daring, and charming. Elian feels free and can actually breathe when he is at sea with the rest of his crew. While he loves his family, he doesn't like to be landlocked, nor does he see any benefit in becoming King. When Elian discovers a woman lost at sea, his whole world is about to change. This woman claims she can give him the power to bring down the SIren Queen.
Elian has another goal; to find and kill the Prince's Bane who killed one of his friends. He has no idea that Lira is that siren when he welcomes her to his ship and she becomes part of his crew. As they travel the seas trying to find the Crystal of Keto, which has the power to destroy the Siren Queen, he doesn't know that Lira is also on her own quest. A quest to rid the world of the Siren Queen forever. The longer Lira spends onboard Saad with the crew, & Elian, the less she finds herself in the mood to kill Elian.
To Kill a Kingdom is told in dual first person POV's. Some have criticized that because there is no breaks that tell you who is actually telling the story. I find myself not at all agreeing with this commentary. I found that each character has a distinct voice that cannot be compared to the other. I loved the banter and cutting commentary between Lira and Elian. The is plenty of tension that you can cut with a knife. But, there is a subtle romance that grows slowly over time and faces enough challenges over the course of the story to make the final chapter enjoyable.
Would I recommend this book? Hells yes I would. There is plenty of action, plenty of suspense, interesting secondary characters, and a fantastic world building.