To Kill a Kingdom
Author: Alexandra Christo
Genre: Dark YA Fantasy
Read if: you want a dark, kick-butt, feminist retelling of The Little Mermaid with swords, adventure, and pirates.
I am always a bit skeptical of The Little Mermaid and its retellings. As much as I love mermaid fantasies there is something intrinsically vulnerable about Ariel. She does little more than fall in love and become a princess. Of course, she defies her father and the mermaid kingdom, but she does so for the sake of a prince. This is by far not the case in this book. Lira is a powerful, independent, and fierce woman. The dynamics between the characters and the character development of both Lira and Elian took me by surprise and fascinated me. Both grew so much throughout the novel and learned as much about themselves as we learned about them.
The women in this novel are incredibly powerful and badass. Instead of portraying mermaids and sirens as beautiful, they are dark, monstrous, and merciless. This added to the dark and twisted nature of the narrative which is so much more than boy-meets-girl.
Overall: 5/5 Stars. I loved it.
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?
The character development is what drives this story from start to finish. The characters face their drive to kill each other and learn to coexist in peace (as in most YA books, we can expect a happy ending). However, can we talk about how truly incredible Lira is as a pirate queen? Step aside princess dresses and royal regalia, our fierce sword-wielding pirate ruler is here. Also, the embodiment of Lira’s betrayal in the form of a flesh-eater that she physically (and mentally) had to defeat proved her strength as a character.
I loved how romance was not the main point of the story. There’s so much darkness and adventure that I rarely found myself lost in affection and proclamations of love. However, they do end up together and that warms my heart.