Swash-Buckling Sirens in To Kill a Kingdom || BOOK REVIEW

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

4.5/5 STARS

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy [Paranormal], Retelling [The Little Mermaid]
Author: Alexandra Christo
Published: March 2018
Publisher: Bonnier
Pages: 368 {paperback}

Reivew on Goodreads

Thank you Allen & Unwin for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!


Initial Thoughts Upon Finishing

I really enjoyed this! I was so keen to read this when I came out because oooh that premise, right!? AND IT LIVED UP TO EXPECTATIONS. Super pleased with how well that was written, the beautiful descriptions and the awesome characters. Lira, you are one badass siren.


To Kill a Kingdom

This book was everything I hoped it to be and more. I was frothing at the mouth in anticipation of a little mermaid retelling (of the original, non-Disney variety . . . but also give me Ursula) and OH BOY. As soon as I bought this I was reading it like it was nobody’s business.

The book follows a siren called Lira. She is the daughter of the sea queen and each here lures a prince from one of the lands adjacent to her sea into the water and takes their heart. #Brutality. This year, she takes one early and her mother punishes her for it.

We learn that Lira is ambitious and desperately seeking her mother’s approval by hiding behind a ferocious mask and reputation — The Princes’ Bane — but we also know she’s much more open minded than her mother.

The story really gets going when she’s transformed into human form, legs and all, and set on land as a punishment. Many sea voyages, dashing princes and double-crossings then ensue. SOUNDS GOOD RIGHT?


Little Mermaid Retelling?

I wasn’t sure whether this was going to be 100% a retelling but I loved, loved, loved how much it draws on the true essence of the story. We have a siren, not a mermaid but something similar. She is turned into a human by the power of a power-hungry and, shall we say, evil sea queen. She is infatuated with princes and on a deadline to save herself. But she also facing a very adventurous prince who knows how to handle himself and is keen as a bean to defend his kingdom from outer evils.

It’s bang on everything you want from a retelling but so very different from what you’d expect. Christo has changed and reinterpreted just enough of the finer points to turn this into a type-rope walk of a love affair, a pirating adventure and enough action to fire up a barbecue.


Awesome Seafaring

Honestly, aside from the amazing cast of characters the best thing about this book is the fact that both parties are royalty but our main focus is on Pirate-dom. I loved it.

Our prince has little interested in taking up the mantle of a king and instead seeks the honour and glory of living at sea and slaying the sirens who kill his people. He is brave, handsome and so likeable we wonder whether he’s actually just a chocolate bar in disguise.

Lira is fierce and unreadable and if it weren’t for the fact that the book is half from her perspective I wouldn’t know what to make of her. And even then we’re not 100% sure we know what exactly she’ll do when we reach our goal.

The crew onboard the ship amidst the drama of royals . . . out of their depth . . . (that was close enough to a pun that you should definitely laugh) is ridiculously fun and worthy of frequenting the Snuggly Ducking (note to non-Disney persons: watch Tangled and you’ll understand).

The ship and the attitude of the pirate band is fantastic. The fact that the prince has connections all over the many kingdoms and is involved in such dirty work is brilliant. And hot dog, if there isn’t enough swash-buckling adventure in this one to tickle your fancy then I think you better check you’re not broken.

That’s you, you’re the broken statue face

Summary

MARVELLOUS, I say. I can’t recommend this one enough and I hope you’re running to the bookstore right this instant to buy a copy. It has a beautiful cover, intriguing characters and PIRATES. Seriously, mermaids + pirates = best book ever.


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Have you read To Kill a Kingdom?

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Happy Reading

~~ Kirstie ~~

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3 thoughts on “Swash-Buckling Sirens in To Kill a Kingdom || BOOK REVIEW

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