Title: To Kill A Kingdom
Author: Alexandra Christo
Publisher: Feiwel Friends
Release Date: March 6th 2018
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Personally, I love retellings, especially retellings that are made darker than the disney versions of the stories. This is a Little Mermaid retelling but with a brutal heart stealing siren and a pirate, siren hunting prince, and I loved every moment of reading it.
Alexandra Christo’s writing is wonderfully immersive. She describes settings and people and creatures in such vibrant ways that it is really easy to imagine what these places and people look like. She is also good at getting the emotion across. Part of the story involves the main character, Lira, growing into who she really is rather than the person she has been perceived to be, even by herself, and you could really see those moments of indecision and realisation as the book went on.
Christo wrote the book from two points of the view – our siren, Lira, and our prince, Elian. The point of view shifts wasn’t obvious at first since there was no indication before the chapter started nor was there any pattern to it, so you mostly noticed shifts through setting changes, but as the book continued on, the distinct voices of these characters became stronger and telling them apart was a lot easier.
The two points of view really worked in this book as both characters come from two drastically different backgrounds, both having to come to different realisations, that if it had only focused on the mind of one character over the other the story would have been a lot weaker.
The character of Lira was strong, brutal and downright badass at times. Her character development across the book was great as she overcame her prejudices and what she thought she always wanted. It felt real and genuine and in terms of stepping out from her mother’s oppressing shadow, she was quite relatable.
I loved Elian character. Maybe it’s the idea of the pirate prince but his personal conflicts were so interesting to read about. There was so much he had to deal with on a personal level in the course of this book that it just made me want things to work out for him, as a pirate, as a prince, as Lira’s future consort. I would definitely want another book just based on Elian’s exploits as a pirate, both before the events of the book and after – especially because this would mean I get to read even more about Kye and Madrid.
As for the relationship between Lira and Elian, it has what every relationship needs – chemistry. They fit so well together in terms of experiences, wants for themselves and having to deal with the weight of other people’s expectations. Their banter was sarcastic and humorous. Neither bowed to the other because they cared about each other, they were aware of their own strengths as well as each other, which is what made them strong enough to defeat the big, bad Siren Queen.
Downfalls of the book are limited – I can only think of two. The fight scene towards the end of the book was quite drawn out, difficult to pinpoint in places, which meant the climactic scene was, at times, layered with confusion. There was also a limited amount of world building in comparison to the amount of history that the story actually hinted at. It was like just the brushing of a surface so you get just enough information, but the teasing hints just make you want to find out more and, since the foundation of a few plot points is this worldbuilding, it would have been nice to read, however, I am aware this could have slowed the book down drastically.
Overall, To Kill A Kingdom was a wildly entertaining book with fantastic characters. I want more of the world and more of the characters. I enjoyed Alexrando Christo’s writing style, and I can’t wait to read her future work!
Have you read To Kill A Kingdom? What did you think? Tell me in the comments.