Beware the sea queen, she'll squeeze the pitiful human life out of you.
Two kingdoms that come with responsibilities we each have trouble bearing. Him, the shackles of being pinned to one land and one life. Me, trapped in the confines of my mother’s murderous legacy. And the ocean, calling out to us both. A song of freedom and longing.
I am still torn between loving this book wholeheartedly despite its flaws and being honest with myself by openly pointing out the things I now regret to have noticed.
Inner me: Choose the latter and deal with the comments later.
People labels this as a retelling of The Little Mermaid but I still think of it as its creepy pasta version. Reading the first page mentally unprepared – when Lira was casually talking about her freaking heart collection hidden in the sand of her room – legit sent shivers down every nerve endings in my body. Talk about collectibles and siren trends.
To Kill A Kingdom is a creatively dark and vicious story of two people who each have their own goal to make their worlds better. Narrated by two point of views, we are introduced to Lira, the renown Princes’ Bane who aims to out-power her mother by claiming the Crystal of Keto and to make a better Sea Queen. And Elian, the heir of the Midas throne who chooses to sail with his crew over the throne and become the heroic stray prince in children’s storybooks who hunted down the Princes’ Bane to stop the siren madness.
Well I think you get the gist. Lira and Elian ought to loathe each other from the very beginning yet we all know where this leads the two only characters to have switching point of views in the entire book. Hence, the enemies to lovers trope butts in.
I admit the romance aspect was a bit awkward if it weren’t for the snarky comebacks that flows all too naturally from our main characters’ mouths. I also wish Elian could have fell in love with Lira not just for seeing the ocean in her eyes. It only convinces me that there was no real bond between them at all. They were just two strangers who used each other to achieve their goals and along the way – they might have mistaken their curiosity for the foreign as actual love.
In spite that, you know what made me love To Kill A Kingdom so much that I’m ready to shut down my own criticisms on this book is the world building and Alexandra Christo‘s straight forward and addictive writing. I love how nothing was out of order. Especially in distinction between cities: Midas the city of gold, Eldyllio land of romance, and Kleftes land of thievery. I just wish she did the same for the undersea. I really want to know what caused the barrier between mermaids and sirens.
Moving on to the characters, I know there are a lot of essential characters who contributed to 1/3 of the plot but these three characters are the ones I’m pretty sure who will stay with me for a very long time.
1. The Sea Queen. The best epitome of a villain who stays in-character the entire book. Cruel to the vulnerable side of Lira and physically and emotionally abusive to her own family. Ursula is nothing compared to this Sea Witch and I love how she made this book more thrilling.
2. Lira. Full of bad assery – number one attribute I am looking for a female character. She’s smart and clever. She strategizes first before making a move. I love her so much.
3. Elian. Really didn’t made an impression on me. However, I still enjoy his point of view especially when he’s in the mood of ticking off the people around him. Aside from that, nothing really. I also think as an experienced siren hunter, he could have already tell Lira is a siren given the fact that she was floating naked in the middle of a vast sea with no other ships in sight, she can barely use her legs, and she used a language to speak with the other siren they caught. [shakes head in utter disappointment]
Things went smoothly as planned and a fantasy is not fantasy when it does not have an epic fight scene near the end. This book offered that and the battle between the Sea Queen’s armies and Elian’s crew was certainly very gripping.
It should have ended there though because the next chapter was absolute cringe-worthy. Sure, I like how things got better for both worlds – treaties signed and goals achieved but when Lira emerges from Diavolos and the crew putting on their wetsuits, I can’t help but to laugh out loud. After all that brutality in the beginning and the snarky comebacks – the ending is so off and cheesy. I felt like I was watching a Disneyland theater play finale with all the singing and fireworks. It was a very happy ending and I’m also happy that I was done with it.
It was a great read considering it’s a debut standalone but I just did not love it as much as the majority here. These are my sole thoughts and opinions only and it won’t matter if you love this book and think it’s perfect. Anyway, I will surely check out the future works of Alexandra Christo because her writing is really 5 star worthy.