Title: To Kill a Kingdom
Author: Alexandra Christo
Genre: Young adult fantasy
Published: By Hot Key Books on March 6th, 2018
ISBN13: 9781471407390 (Paperback edition)
Note: I received a free e-copy of the book via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review
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 had only heard fabulous things about this book from some of my book blogger friends, so when I was approved for an ARC of it, I went in with pretty high expectations. Since it’s a standalone fantasy novel featuring sirens, which seems to be the new trend in YA fantasy, I was very interested to know what the author would do differently.
I really enjoyed the characters in this book. As I’m the sort of reader to whom character development is more important than the plot, I was initially unsure because both the perspectives weren’t instant favourites. However, they did grow on me and I absolutely loved Lira and Elian by the end. I don’t particularly like romance in books, but in this one I was shipping the main couple with all of my heart. There is so much believable conflict and angst that hinders their relationship that I found very refreshing to read. Also, the other characters were developed really well too, although I wish we’d seen more of Elian’s main crew because I liked their personalities a lot. The Sea Queen, who is Lira’s mother and the main antagonist, was absolutely terrifying to read about and I liked that the reader could understand why her ruthlessness was necessary. What made the book a unique read for me was how unapologetic the characters were and the dark undercurrent to the plot. The story managed to strike the perfect balance between introducing the world and moving the plot forward with some intense action. Another thing that really stood out for me was the sarcastic, cut-like-knives humour that made the dialogue so much fun to read and the character dynamics was also greatly improved because of the banter. The climax was extremely intense and satisfying in every way for me.
By the time I got around to reading this, the book had already come out, so I also tried reading via audiobook when I couldn’t get to the e-book. However, I felt that the reading experience was much better via text than audio. I really enjoyed the writing much more when I was reading it than having it read aloud for me.
I would highly recommend this to all the YA fantasy fans out there, those who crave for hate-to-love romances and those who enjoy a coating of darkness to the regular siren stories. I’m a huge fan of Hans Zimmer, so I would definitely pair this with the soundtrack of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. For the food, whip up something scrumptious inspired by any coastal cuisine you love (seafood would be best if you consume that).
Have you read this book? If so, what did you think? Do you like fantasies that are dark and intense? Let me know in the comments section below.