Dark Little Mermaid Retelling

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

Publication Date: March 6, 2018 (US) Feiwel & Friends

Summary provided by NetGalley:

Kill a KingdomPrincess 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 and 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?


ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.

I was pretty much over fairy tale retellings but this one just sounded so interesting, I had to give it one more shot, and luckily I was not disappointed. It was dark and thrilling and kept me guessing as to how it was all going to turn out at the end, that I found it hard to put down.  It is hard to believe that this is a debut and I hope to see a lot more by this author in the future.

The story is told from both Lira’s and Elian’s point of view.  There might be slightly more narrative from Lira, but that is okay as she is the one whose character goes through the biggest changes.  I really liked that we got to see both sides of the story, and how both characters thought that they were doing the right thing to save their kingdoms.  There is of course a romance that develops between them, but it is slow to develop and it is done really well.  It is also not the main focus of the story, which was very refreshing.

Lira, as I said before, has the most growth as a character in this book.  Which is not too surprising.  Not only does she go from being a siren to a human, which understandably turns her world upside down, but she goes from being someone who her mother wants her to be, ie. ruthless and evil, to a young women who wants to make things better for both kingdoms.  Elian has a lot to do with this change, but their are other characters, namely the other pirates, that also help her on this journey.  

While Elian’s change and growth is not as huge as Lira’s it is just as important.  As he gets to know Lira, his views on how his world works also changes.  He also begins to see a world that is much different than what he originally wanted.  I also liked that Elian also had a duality to his life, he is both a Prince and a pirate.  He understands his duty as a prince, but he longs to live on the sea and continue his quest on the sea.  I really liked that they both had two different lives and that they both needed to reconcile those lives to be happy.

I loved the world that the author has created here.  There are many possibilities for future stories set in this world.  There are a lot of different kingdoms (I think there are 100) and they are each unique and have some fascinating characters populating them.  We only got to see a small fraction of these kingdoms, but each one was more amazing than the last.  I really hope that there are more books coming set in this world. 

Overall this was a great retelling of the Little Mermaid, that was dark and glorious.  It was fast paced with just enough twists to the story that it kept me guessing to the end.  I will definitely pick up other books by this author in the future.


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