Feb 26, 2018

ARC Review To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

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?

I received this ARC in a fair trade with a fellow blogger. My review is completely honest and voluntary, I was in no way compensated for this review.

I was most ecstatic to read Alexandra Christo’s debut To Kill a Kingdom that has a The Little Mermaid flair to it, though this is not your ordinary retelling, more that the fairy tale was a base for this story! This story was truly unique and enthralling! It pretty much held me spellbound throughout because everything is not what you would expect from this story!

First off, our heroine, Lira—note that spelling there, look familiar?—is not a mermaid, but a siren. There’s a difference, in most literature and in this world too of course! Lira is the daughter of the Sea Queen, who’s very Ursula like even though she’s a siren too, and she longs for the day that she will take her mother’s place. Every year she takes the heart of some hapless prince who dares to be sailing on her ocean. She’s earned a named for herself as the Princes’ Bane, but when she kills another prince a few weeks earlier—as she is only allowed to take the heart of a “man” once a year, her mother decides to punish her in the worst way possible.

Then we have our prince, Elian—starts with the same letter as another familiar prince, eh?—who is anything but princely, though he is in fact a prince. He much prefers the life of piracy! He makes it his mission to scour the seas and try to kill any all sirens that cross his path, he’s looking for the Princes’ Bane of course, for she has killed one of his dear friends. Then as it happens, one day he comes across a maiden just floating in the sea, completely naked.

As you can gather, this is our siren, Lira who was punished by her mother with the worst fate imaginable; legs. She is told to take the siren killer’s heart and return to her mother before her birthday arrives or ELSE! It’s not long before Lira’s plans change though, she still plans to kill the prince of course, but she also plans to steal the magical eye that is said to be the other half of the one her mother owns. With it, Lira can control the sirens and take her place as true queen of the sea.

This was a most magical story! There’s not a better way of describing it! All along we know what Lira plans and what she is, we know she’s deceiving the prince. But then we also know what the prince is thinking, for this story alternates between both of their points of view. He’s not a hapless sap that falls in love with Lira from the moment he sees her, nor she him. In fact, the two aren’t very fond of one another at all. Neither one trusts the other, and with good reason.

I will admit though that the changing points of view threw me a bit. Since they’re both in first person and there’s no identifying header with the chapters, I wasn’t really aware of a narration change until several lines down. This happened every time it would change. It’s perhaps one of my only complaints of the story. Lira and Elian are pretty similar in some ways and they both want the same thing of course, so when there’s a new chapter ahead, it wasn’t always clear who was at the helm.

The romance though was pretty awesome! Mostly because it was hardly there. It’s one of the slowest burning romances I’ve ever read and I loved every moment of it! Elian and Lira aren’t very fond of one another when they first meet, but Lira realizes in order to get to the eye that will give her power of the sea and sirens, she will need Elian’s help. And eventually, very, very slowly, a friendship is formed between them that heightens to romance!

The tension of the story was spot on! It’s not a fact paced kind of read, but the slow buildup does tend to draw the reader in by giving little bits of action, suspense, thrills, and chills intermingling throughout the story. There’s a good dose of action scenes throughout as Lira and Elian and his crew go on this treacherous journey! It’s a read that has you constantly turning the pages eager to see how they get out of each bind they find themselves in. And of course we have the burgeoning romance between Lira and Elian.

I’ve read the original The Little Mermaid and naturally, I’ve seen the Disney movie, so the ending was bound to go in either or the two ways. Needless to say, I was holding my breath in anticipation as things got really intense in the final showdown! I have to say that I was quite pleased with the route Alexandra chose to go! It was very fitting for the story and characters!

To Kill a Kingdom is not your ordinary Little Mermaid story, in fact, it pretty much blows the original and Disney one out of the water with its boldness and edginess! It’s a truly beautiful and unique kind of read that all fairy tale fans are going to want to get their fins—er hands—on a copy stat!

Overall Rating 4.5/5 stars

To Kill a Kingdom releases March 6, 2018


  1. I have seen so much love for this book. I honestly cannot wait for it! Great review :)

  2. Great review Jessica! I've been on the edge deciding whether I want to read this or not, and you convinced me! It's been a while since I've read a retelling, and this one seems very original!

    Genni @ Ready, Set, Read!

  3. Sounds intriguing. Have you ever read a Jim C Hines’ “The Mermaid’s Revenge”? The Little Mermaid has gone quite loopy and killed the Prince . And recently she has been responsible for dreadful things happening to Cinderella’s much-loved mother in law. So she, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty have to work together to save her.

  4. I like retellings and this one sounds really interesting.


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