Everything about To Kill a Kingdom was a salty swashbuckling GLORY and I loved it!
I’m alllll here for pirates and sirens and (dark) Little Mermaid retellings, and this definitely delivered. Plus it was super funny and if there’s something my dark little heart beats faster for: it’s people who sass each other to death so lovingly.
(Also I get to raise my hand with the smallest claim to fame that I used to be a beta-reader for Allie’s older works, back when she was a book blogger too! So I already knew I’d freaking love this and her writing is just a pure joy to read ahhh!)
✓ The characters just stole the seawater with their fantasticness.
It’s dual narrated by Elian and Lira. Elian is an anti-prince (like “here is a crown but I don’t want it) and Lira is a siren (like “here is a prince what if I ate him”). He’s hunting her and she’s hunting him, which is obviously the recipe for a perfect romance. And what a romance it was! Enemies-to-lovers at its finest! Not rushed or awkward and focused on character development instead of steamy scenes (which suited me just fine). I loved watching them grow from distrust to —> distant admiration. Then to “accidentally” “saving” each other’s lives. Of cooooourse, Lira. I BELIEVE YOU when you say you don’t care about Elian. #Such #Belief
I also loved them just as individual characters! Lira is a murderous siren and antiheroine, but also has a soft streak. She takes care of her little-murderous-cousin, but she also enjoys the thrill of killing princes. But she totally won my heart too, just by being so complex and compelling. And Elian?! He was the sass pirate of your HEART. I swear. That boy. He was smooth and sassy and absolutely allergic to the idea of being king. Bless him.
✓ The writing makes you truly fall in love with the sea too!
Which is ironic, given that the sea was super deadly but oh well. I love it. I love the descriptions! I could actually see the gorgeous settings, taste the salty sea, and absolutely lose myself in the world. There’s plenty of sailing too! Although the “pirate” title was a bit adorable, because they’re more roguish chivalrious do-gooders (by killing sirens to save people) instead of ACTUAL bloody pirates. But that’s okay, Elian, sweetie, you call yourself a pirate and I’ll support you.
✓ The world building gets a Very Much Yes™.
We go on an incredible adventure with Elian and Lira aboard their ship, the Saad. And it’s not dull for even a second. A+ pacing! And we see so many different places in this world! Kingdoms and mountains and palaces! It was incredibly well written. We skipped tedious info dumps and yet managed to have this complex, diverse world you could get lost in. Plus the settings were excitingly unique?! Kingdoms of frost and blue-lipped kings, and queendoms of love with cursed queens sitting on heart thrones. My opinion is YES.
✓ There’s sassy banter too!
This part I truly adored! I love characters who snark at each other. Elian has a sassy retort for anyone with oxygen, and Lira says “I’ll kill you” all the time and everyone thinks she’s joking. BUT YET: SHE’S NOT. I loved the secondary characters’ too! Madrid and Kye’s continual banter was fantastic in the background too!
+ Was it dark?
It was very bloody, although not gory, and there’s plenty of hearts being pulled out of chests and super creepy sea monsters. I really liked that it was on the dark side (I’M PLEASED…um and also normal?? I promise?? don’t be scared of me now) and gave us high stakes and terrible consequences for failure. The sea witch was SUPER CREEPY. Love it.
To Kill A Kingdom was full of sea and salt and ruination and I loved every page. It was perfectly written, with gorgeous prose that just leap off the page to DEVOUR YOU (yay the siren life). And what a fantastic combination of pirates and princes, sirens and curses, and a journey that will rip your heart out of your chest. Literally and figuratively.
Thank you Hot Key Books for the review-copy! To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo was published May 2018!
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?