Review: To Kill a Kingdom
Title: To Kill a Kingdom
Author: Alexandra Christo
Published: 6 March 2018
Format: Hardback, owned.
Synopsis (from Goodreads): 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?
Listen. I wanted to like, no, LOVE this book with the same amount of enthusiasm that all my bookish friends do. While it was hyped, it wasn’t an over the top kind of hype that made me fear the book was too good to be true. Rather, I was genuinely excited and looking forward to a book that was described to me as “fun”, “full of wit”, and “a great twist on The Little Mermaid”.
But for me, To Kill a Kingdom was dull, boring, and full of flat characters who I didn’t really give a damn about. I’m not even mad about the unnecessary romance. I’m mad that a book full of sirens, pirates, and a near-impossible quest was so….meh.
The premise and reviews were so promising, but then I started reading the book and I just…
I’m not mad about the writing- Christo definitely has a great deal of talent in regards to descriptions and world building. The way the Elian and Lira mirrored each other was absolutely fantastic and very well done. They were both trapped in different ways, and I think her execution of showing this to the reader was flawless.
However, I felt like I was reading a book that was written in an outline format. There wasn’t really a flow, it felt like things just…happened, which took the fun out of it for me. Mix that in with characters whose constant snark is mistaken as “witty” dialogue, and what you’ll end up with is a 2 star book.
I’m a fan of quick-witted dialogue, but seriously, this book was just snark. There were so few genuine interactions that I had a hard time believing anyone really card about each other. It just seemed like everyone wanted to have the next great thing to say, which made all of the characters feel like the same person. No one really had a personality. They had snarky attitudes and tempers. That might work for a couple of characters, but not every single one!
Lira could have been amazing, but I’m not convinced (especially after the ending) that Christo knew where she wanted to take her as a character. Internal conflict is normal, but Lira did a complete 180 seemingly out of nowhere.
I’m going to be real and just say that I didn’t like Elian from the start. He wants to be a pirate so badly that it just makes him seem more like a prince who needs to have a heart to heart with his parents to help with some of his issues.
The romance between Lira and Elian could have been something, but there was not much chemistry there to begin with. I thought I missed a part where they realized they had feelings for each other, because it just sort of happened.
Maybe moodiness and snark are drawn to each other, though if that’s the case, the entire ship should have been in love.
Other characters were just there to blindly adore Elian or glare at Lira.
I expected a dark, fun retelling of The Little Mermaid.
I got a lot of snark and unnecessary smirking.