Friday, February 23, 2018

ARC Review: To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

Title: To Kill a Kingdom
Written by: Alexandra Christo
Published: March 8, 2018 by Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan)

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: 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 received an advance copy of this book from Michelle who got it from the publisher in exchange for an honest opinion. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***

When Michelle told me she had an ARC of this book and asked me if I wanted to read I immediately said yes. It sounded like a completely brilliant story, and it was. It was a dark YA fantasy with great characters and a fascinating world.

My first thought about this book is how dark and brutal that it is. If this is a Little Mermaid retelling, and I think it most certainly is, it's a very dark one. This book doesn't pull any punches when it comes to the brutality pf the world and plot. The characters are vicious, the plot is bloody, and the world is intense. I love my fantasy to be on the darker side and I very much appreciated that with this book. It added the drama and interest of the book.

The plot added to the drama as well. I don't think that it's the most cohesive plot but it was a pretty interesting one. For one thing there was the  retelling aspect. I can't say that I have read a lot of Little Mermaid retellings but they are typically really interesting ones and this was no exception. I loved the changes that the author made. It elements of the familiar story but still made it a story all its own. But there was more to it that that. There was a good amount of political intrigue and plenty of action. It did built to an exciting conclusion but if I am being entirely honest I wish there were more twists and turns along the way. It's not that this book was trying to be a mystery it's just that I like a good mystery and I wish this book had one.

The plot of this book was also dull of drama and darkness. In the beginning of the book we are introduced to the world of the sirens, controlled by the Sea Queen, ripping out hearts to celebrate their birthdays. There is a culture and history to the sirens that was inventive and engaging. I really liked learning about them and seeing it all play out. Then later in the book we learn about the human kingdoms and the war they have been having with the sirens. It was just another interesting layer to the story.  But I do kind of wish we learned more about it, particularly the history of the world. I had thought and hoped there was more to it but like the plot, that's just me overthinking things and wanted a mystery and twists that didn't exist.

I also enjoyed the characters. They were intense and complex. We really have two main characters here. Lira, who is the daughter of the Sea Queen, and Elian who is a prince and wannabe pirate. Both characters, while different, are similar in that they want to be what they desire independent of their families expectations of them. Lira is tough and headstrong while Elian is smart and dedicated to his people and purpose. I was rooting for both characters to get what they wanted even when those two things were different. But they were even better together. They had great banter and by the end I think their relationship even one me over. It wasn't super swoony but it kind of surprised me that I enjoyed it.

All in all I think this was a good read and a very enjoyable debut. As a fan of dark fantasies I really enjoyed of intense and brutal it was. I'd love a prequel so I could learn more about the world.

I give To Kill a Kingdom by Alexander Christo 9 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy/Borrow. I really enjoyed this book. Fans of dark YA fantasies should check it out. And also if you are looking for a new and different fairy tale retelling with a lot of magic then pick up this book.

Have you read To Kill a Kingdom? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

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