Title: To Kill A Kingdom
Author: Alexandra Christo
Pub. Date: March 6th, 2018
Genre: YA Fantasy
*HUGE thanks to Macmillan, Netgalley, and Alexandra Christo for the early review copy in exchange for my honest opinion
DISCLAIMER: This review will contain much GUSHING & RAVING cause it is worthy of all that & much more!
As per usual, it takes me longer to find the words to adequately describe how I felt about a book when It falls into the category of GAHHH! This was EPIC & everyone will love it & this beautiful jewel of a book needs to be framed on my wall! I had the pleasure of reading To Kill a Kingdom with a group of 4 other bookworms (will be listed at the end of review) & besides this being my first group buddy read, what marks this one as very special was that EVERY single one of the readers LOVED this book to pieces!
We’re introduced to our MC Lira the Siren daughter to the Queen of the Sea while she and her cousin scout out a Prince for the killing. Lira prides herself to be known as the ‘Prince’s Bane’ a reputation she’s worked hard to earn by ripping out the hearts of many Princes. This time however, she was to only oversee her cousin Khalia who was to kill & take her 15th heart. Lira broke tradition by killing & stealing a heart for herself bringing her count to 18 hearts. As heir to the Sea Queen’s throne, she has a limit of 60 hearts she can kill and steal before she must give up the crown. This angered her mother the Sea Queen who handed down her punishment, one aimed at humiliating her as well as cause her pain. When Lira veers from her mothers orders as part of her punishment, the Sea Queen strips her of everything that makes her a Siren and leaves her in human form. Of all the things Lira despises, humans are at the very top of the list. She no longer has her siren song and therefore can’t lure anyone in. The Sea Queen has given her until the Winter Solstice to kill Prince Elian of Midas known as ‘The Siren Hunter’ …
Prince Elian aka The Pirate Prince or The Siren Hunter is on a self assigned mission to eliminate the Sirens as a threat. Aboard The Saad he is loved by his crew for his down to earth humble nature. To the crew he isn’t a Prince, he’s their captain and one of them. Traveling the high seas they hunt sirens, specifically The Prince’s Bane. Elian believes if he can get the Siren Queen’s daughter, he can get to the Siren Queen herself and put an end to all of the killings.
Lira- Our MC isn’t supposed to be someone you end up loving…she’s a cold blooded killer who relishes collecting hearts under her bed. Yet I can’t recall ever loving a villain more than Lira. She’s been raised to kill by her mother the Sea Queen who is by all means Ursula on steroids lol. Love is a foreign word. Humans are disgusting & weak. The hunt for royal blood is what she’s known for. Christo created Lira’s character & gave her so much depth & development, seeing her whole outlook evolve was one of the BEST things about this book. Lira has a toxic abusive relationship with her mother. Many times her mother will lash out verbally & physically yet Lira aims to please the Sea Queen…she seeks out her approval but above all she wants to be seen as a worthy heir to the Sea Queen’s throne. Now, the scenes between Lira and Elian were truly enjoyable to read! the witty banter between these two made me laugh out loud & shake my head with a smile from ear to ear Haha! this is a hate to love that will leave you at the edge of your seat shipping these two for days! 😉
Elian-Many have compared him to Nikolai Lantsov & I can definitely see these two getting along just fine! Elian knows he isn’t suited for the throne, court life just isn’t for him and he’d much rather let his little sister take the crown when the time comes. Travel and freedom is in his blood and if it wasn’t hunting Sirens to protect the kingdoms, he’d still opt for the sails. Elian’s fierce loyalty to his crew keeps him from instantly falling for Lira & I admired how he put them above everything. The fact that he could keep up with Lira’s sharp wit made him instantly a fave in my book.
The Sea Queen- I may have feared Ursula as a child but that never kept me away from watching The Little Mermaid over & over again. There was something about the villainous Queen that command respect & when we meet the Sea Queen it’s really no different. Christo gave us a vivid description of her tentacles & ruby red eyes that will freeze the blood running through your veins with fear whilst reading. The scenes with the Sea Queen were tough because of how abusive she is towards Lira, it’s not your average mother/daughter relationship & she won’t hesitate to kill her daughter if need be. The Sea Queen knows her time on the throne is quickly coming to an end & she’s not going out without a fight.
Honorable Mentions: Khalia aka Lira’s cousin, this side character is the definition of Ride or Die! she’s the one I’d want in my corner facing any opponent. Khalia took some hits from the Sea Queen to protect Lira & this is why Lira feels protective over her. Lira may not know what love is but Khalia comes close to what can defined as a loved one for her. The Saad Crew also goes hard for their Captain & Elian is very lucky to have a newfound group of people he can call family when he’s away from home. I love this above everything being that I am someone who has had to make family from friends, sometimes these bonds run deeper than blood.
I can go on for days about the writing & world building in TKAK and never tire! In the buddy read I participated in, it was mentioned that the battle scenes were so vivid they are practically made for the screen & couldn’t have agreed more with that statement. This story played out seamlessly in my mind & was a real treat & feast for my imagination. Filled with complex multi-faceted characters, there really was no hero to this story. In fact this book made me think a whole lot of the age old debate on nature vs. nurture…and I loved reading Lira’s stream of consciousness as she asked herself what if she’d been raised to love & not to kill. Could she ever be a different kind of ruler? could she ever love someone? Or is killing a part of who she is? These characters were so well fleshed out that it would be impossible to forget them. I was pleasantly surprised to see Christo weave in the King Midas mythology when creating the City Of Gold Prince Elian and his family rule over. Again, vivid imagery when it came to the kingdoms amplified my reading experience and left me enamored with this world as a whole. It’s safe to say I will be reading EVERYTHING Alexandra Christo writes! be it short stories, Novellas, full length novels! encyclopedias! the backs of cereal boxes YOU NAME IT! To Kill a Kingdom hits shelves tomorrow March 6th & this is one you won’t want to miss 😉