Title- To Kill a Kingdom
Author- Alexandra Christo
Genre- YA fantasy (some romance- clean)
POV- first person, present tense. Dual POV
Trope- enemies to lovers
Cover– The image wasn’t easily popping out as “ocean” to me. And I honestly didn’t get much of an octopus vibe in the book, so I wasn’t a fan of the cover. I love the front cover quote though, “A Princess must have her Prince” is deliciously deceiving since the Princess is a siren who eats Prince hearts to destroy humans’ future as revenge for killing their sea goddess.
Comps– Little Mermaid, All the Stars and Teeth by Grace & Skin of the Sea by Bowen & Daughter of the Deep by Lina C Amarego
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?
Best part- fairy-tale retelling
What I would change- amount of fragments in prose
Setting- ocean and boat, then a few of the surrounding kingdoms
Prose- lots of fragments are a bit jolting, such as on page 33- “ I stare back into the mirror at the prince before me. Immaculate and cold, barely ugly in my eyes. As though I’m untouchable and I know it.”
Another example of the frustrating fragments: “Let me keep the shell so she can taunt me with the echoes of my destroyed legacy.”
Theme- finding your own path instead of following what your parents want you to do, learning that evil doers can change their path, love overcomes all, humanity is about helping others and sacrifice
Vivid sensory descriptions- when describing the sirens especially
Dialogue- the banter between the crew was really well done
Inclusivity- I believe best friend, Kye is Black. And a queen married a princess to take her as her queen. Otherwise, I believe all other characters were white and heterosexual unless I missed something.
Ethics/morals- ripping out hearts, genocide
Conflict/tension/obstacles- the action beats for their struggles were spot on perfect
Pacing- fast. I read in 24 hours
“In this moment…there is only this. Me, my ship, and a girl with oceans in her eyes.”
Thoughts while reading-
Chapter 3- we’re introduced to Elian and I hope the novels sticks with two POV both in first person narrative. He’s a prince longing to be a pirate and a siren hunter. This reminds me of my next WIP, where my main hero happens to be a demon hunter & guess what, she’s a demon. But this story takes places in the ocean so far.
Chapter 4- okay I’m making an early prediction now that Prince Elian catches his younger sister, Amara, sneaking around with his best friend, Kye, later in the story. As of now what I want to know is when Elian will meet siren, Lira and how he will escape her seductive song. What will he do to convince her to let him live and why will she agree to it? Will Elian be forced to take the crown? Will he change his ways and stop killing sirens? Will we get more of a look of the underwater world?
Chapter 5- so impatient, determined, ruthless Lira doesn’t live up to her mothers expectations, The Sea Queen, of all things. Mother decided to punish her daughter for breaking the rules which seems to set a path for Lira’s changing plans.
Chapter 7- I hope Elian doesn’t count to the Cloud Mountain because then we won’t have any scenes where he’s interacting with Lira.
Chapter 8- I love that the chapters are short and sweet and concise.
Chapter 10- awe, I had a “Little Mermaid” scene visual
Chapter 12- oh my, bargaining already. I love when deals are made. It started to get complicated, so it’s not just the crystal in a difficult location, but also a key & a ritual
Halfway through- I wanna know more about his magical dagger. Will he actually have to get married? Will they make it up the mountain? What deal did he strike with this queen? Will the rest accept Lira aboard? So exciting!
Chapter 24- I’m trying to fully understand why the Sea Queen would hate her daughter so much. It’s not convincing to me.
Chapter 37- haven’t stopped in over 100 pages to take notes because it’s soooo good.
Ending- Chapter 43- highly satisfied with the ending.