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review 2019-10-30 23:04
Into the Crooked Place by Alexandra Christo

 

I honestly must be one of the very few people who has yet to read Alexandra Christo's debut To Kill a Kingdom (though I plan to rectify that shortly) so I wasn't 100% sure what I would be getting going into this book. Sometimes that's a good thing though - it can be better not to have any expectations because they usually get dashed, more often than not...

I was really happy to get an advanced copy through Reader's First so thanks to them and the publisher for giving me the opportunity to read it a little early (I also got the stunning Fairyloot edition which which just so pretty I can't help but sit and admire it!)

So, I didn't really know too much about the story of Into the Crooked Place so it was a wonderful little surprise when I got the book through the post. I have heard a lot of people make comparisons between this book and Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo and also Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody but because I haven't read these two books I didn't have any preconceptions so I was able to enjoy this book on its own merits without any kind of baggage.

I'm not going to go too much into the story (I think it is better enjoyed going in with little to no knowledge - it's that kind of book) but I will say that I am always up for a book about magical hi-jinks. I also love books that contain heists - they are always fun to me and this one definitely entertained. I am very much looking forward to seeing how the plot develops in the next book.

There are four main characters in this book (Tavia, Wesley, Karam, and Saxony) plus a couple of additional POV's which did sometimes make it a little bit confusing at times. However, each had a distinctive voice and it was necessary to get the characters motivations. I tend to prefer books with a singular POV but multiple viewpoints does work for me on occasion and this one did for the most part.

There wasn't a great deal of time to get to know the characters but I liked what development we did get. Wesley and Tavia were my favourites; especially Wesley - he is such a contradiction and for most of the book I couldn't work out if he was going to turn out to be the bad guy or not (and I'm not telling you one way or the other!) His one-time friendship with Tavia and how it has disintegrated since he became a crime boss was very interesting and I found myself desperate for their chapters.

I only really started to enjoy Saxony as a character towards the end of the book when she got a little bit more interesting (suffice it to say, I am really looking forward to seeing her story in the next book). She was probably the weakest character for me at the start even though her story has perhaps the most potential generally. Karam started off pretty intriguing (I love kickass warrior girls) but her story was probably the most stagnant overall and she seemed to just be there as a prop for Saxony. I do think as a character she has many ways her story could go though and I am hopeful she gets a bit more page-time in the follow-up novel.

The plot was pretty exciting and moved at breakneck speeds (sometimes a little too fast - you didn't always get the chance to breathe chapter to chapter). I think the world-building was fairly decent but I did get a little bit lost at times due to the speed in which the characters moved through each place visited.

The bad guy was suitably malevolent and there were a few twists and turns (though I did guess one particular twist pretty early on and felt it was telegraphed throughout the story).

I am definitely eager for the second book (though it will be a bit of a wait I would imagine as there is no release date, cover, or even title as of yet). A pretty solid offering and I am definitely sold on most of the characters and the plot and can't wait to see how they all develop!

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review 2019-07-27 14:44
To Kill A Kingdom!!!
To Kill a Kingdom - Alexandra Christo

english review

audible audiobook

 

Summary: 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?

 

My review: I just don't know.

 

I wanted to love this so much. Cause if you need to know anything about me, it's the fact that I truly obsessed with The Little Mermaid. So to say I was excited to dive into a dark retelling of just this story, is a huge understatement.  And I truly loved the story behind it, I loved the whole set up and everything the story was about. I truly did. I just had some problems with the execution.

 

I loved the beginning. Lira being a ruthless killer, collecting hearts of princes. GOTTA COLLECT THEM ALL, right??? I loved Elian being a siren hunter, chosing this life over just being a prince. I LOVE THIS WHOLE SET UP, especially when these two meet.

 

I just was so damn bored of nearly everything that happened in the middle. I loved Elian's ship crew, I loved all of these moments and their quest to find maaaagic key. I was super interested in all of this. But I was also just sooooo bored. It's the weirdest feeling I have ever had reading a book and I got really close to dnf'ing it.

 

Towards the end it got so much better once again. Things for a 100 times more interesting, I feel like everything was executed so much better. It was really worth sticking around.

 

Since I read it as an audiobook, it could be that the voices just didn't work for me. At normal speed these two put me to sleep, drawing every word out and making things so much less entertaining. I had to listen to it at double speed, cause I couldn't deal. Maybe this was why I then got through the boring parts much faster. I don't know.

 

That's the theme of this book review, I just don't know what to feel or what to think about this book.

 
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-08-19 11:24
To Kill A Kingdom
To Kill a Kingdom - Alexandra Christo

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.

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review 2018-08-17 12:35
Review: To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
To Kill a Kingdom - Alexandra Christo

 

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?

 

 

 

 

I’m not sure what I can say that has not been said about this book. It is really, really good and I enjoyed it a lot. There were a few problems I had with it but I think that was just my problem as I was a bit in a reading slump when I started this book. But even though I still enjoyed this book very much.

I liked the world setting and building, the ocean and the main land, and really liked the touch with the different kingdoms sorts all have a special thing , that we might or might not know  from other legends and/ or  telling’s.  The story is also a bit of a retelling with a twist of Ariel, which I liked.  I also liked the twists on mermaids and sirens and the differences, I thought it was well played put and written.

I must say that I had issues with Lira in the beginning and had a hard time to connect to her. To me it seems she was trying to make more excuses of why she is that way than actually changing anything or even trying. But while also fishing for sympathy. I did start to like her more about half way through when she actually starting to act on stuff. I have to say though she was funny and snarky a thing I like J .

I did however enjoy Elian much more from the beginning, and I liked his values, There were a d=few times I cringed. He never wanted to be a prince or his duties but when it came in handy, he had no problem using his title. But overall I could overlook that and I really liked him.

I think what I enjoyed more was his crew and the friendship he had with them. While we got plenty of it I still wished we would have had more. It sort of reminded me of the Six of Crows crew, Kaz and friends.

Overall, great book and I enjoyed it a lot. Took me a while to finish but that was because if me not the book, lol.

I rate it 4 ★, while I enjoyed it a lot I couldn’t rate it any higher because I wasn’t a huge fan of Lira in the first half of the book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buy Links

 

Amazon *** B&N *** Kobo 

 

 

Source: snoopydoosbookreviews.com/index.php/2018/08/17/review-to-kill-a-kingdom-by-alexandra-christo
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review 2018-08-02 18:25
Review: To Kill a Kingdom
To Kill a Kingdom - Alexandra Christo

I  received a copy from Netgalley.

 

I honestly don't quite know what to make of this book. Initially I was absolutely blown away with it, I have a weakness for mermaid themed stories and anti-heroines. Don't recall seeing the two combined before.  Even better when it twigged this was dark Little Mermaid retelling. 

 

I loved Lira right from the start - not a mermaid, but a siren. Deadly, fascinating and a total unapologetic bad ass. What's not to love? Known as The Prince's Bane Lira uses her siren gifts to lure unsuspecting Princes on ships to their death - where she rips out and collects their hearts. Her mother is the ruthless and unforgiving Sea Queen. The Sea Queen is a cold nightmare and nothing Lira ever does is good enough, no matter what.

 

Though despite her front of emotionless bad-assery, Lira has one weakness. Her beloved cousin Kahlia. Which comes in to play several times early on in the novel in Lira's battles with her awful mother. All Lira strives for is to be good enough to be named her mother's Heir. So far...not happening. Despite all the drama and attitude, there's an impression given that there's a lot more to Lira under the surface. 

 

On the other hand, we have Elian, a Prince who has no interest in being a prince, he's an infamous siren hunter/pirate who would rather sail round the oceans with his crew ridding his world of the siren threat. After his first encounter with Lira, something of a disaster for both...it's completely obvious where the romance is going. Problem for me was on reflection, I really just don't like Elian at all. I found him flat and annoying. One thing I really liked was Elian's crew, tie deep camaraderie and friendship, their banter and absolute loyalty.  

 

Elian learns of a mysterious crystal that will give him the power to rid the sea of the Sea Queen, there's a prophecy/curse to defeat. Problem is - the crystal is damn near impossible to find. Lira finds her path crossing with Elian, and when she finds out about the crystal, she wants it for her own purposes. They rub each other the wrong way - they are antagonistic as hell and bitching at each other for the first moment they meet. Lira is not happy finding herself with legs surrounded by humans. Who are naturally very suspicious of her - she has retained a few of her Siren talents - and uses them to her own advantage. 

 

It's still obvious where the romance is going, but its so so slow while Elian and Lira figure each other out. Their characters both develop as the plot does, the search for the crystal and the means to find it. There's deals to be made with dangerous kingdoms, several unseemly and villainous characters come in with a role to play. There's twists and turns.

 

The world building is fascinating and very well written. The problem I found was after half way through I was getting more and more bored and it was taking longer and longer to get around to finishing it. 

 

I'm not sure what to make of the end either. It concludes pretty well, though before then it got a bit messy in my opinion. I liked it, and would definitely read something by this author again, but I'm not as blown away by this book as I initially thought I was.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Hot Key Books for approving my request to view the title. 

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