Review | a dark and romantic retelling | To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

“In my heart, I’m as wild as the ocean that raised me”

 

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Edition: Hardcover

Publishing Date: March 6,2018

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retellings, Romance

ISBN: 1250112680 (ISBN13: 9781250112682)

Goodreads Rating: 4.07

My Rating: 4.30

S Y N O P S I S

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?

 

★★★★☆

R E V I E W

“Homes are hard to find.”

 

I don’t know where to start.

At first this just seemed to be some dark little mermaid retelling, but then it became more than that ?!?!

The story telling was so enchanting and dark at the same time. It got a bit startled at first because of some of the gruesome details but then at the same time it got me dreaming of how things would be in a kingdom of sirens.

I’m so speechless. I do not want to raise anyone’s expectations because this is already hyped enough as it is, but it did blow me away.

 

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I also achieved some realizations here between Lira and Elian’s dynamic (LOVE them btw). These two are already so beautiful as individuals but put them together and they can change the world. A prince of the land and the princess of the ocean. This is exactly like the little mermaid story that we never had.

It also came to me that one of the reasons they understand each other so much is that they KNOW the weight that comes with being royalty. It was mentioned numerous times in the book but think about it, who else can really understand a prince of land that belongs in the ocean than the princess of the ocean? And who else to understand a princess who only wants to please her mother than the prince whose father has never understood his need to belong in the ocean?

 

Speaking of which, I love both of their characters because they were both shown as fierce characters, the fiercest of each of their own kinds even. But even though they were presented as such, it was also very clearly written that they each have their own weaknesses, and how they aren’t invincible.

As this is a magical fantasy book, I expected a bit more show of the magic element. This is one of the biggest reasons as to why I did not give this book 5 stars. The only times the magic aspect was when the sea witch would use it and even then, it wasn’t even that much. It was poor use of all the magic that is (could have been) present in the world.

But anyhow, I melted with their romance and their dynamic.

UGH! I want a prince.

 

“Everything is murkier now. And Elian made it that way in a single second.
In an action as easy as breathing: He smiled.”

I am saying again that there are some more things that I wanted to see in this story, since I have very high standards when it comes to fantasy, but then this is written as a standalone and is not a series which I already appreciate on its own. I personally find it very rare for authors to be able to create a good fantasy standalone since there is a lot of world building involved. So for a standlone, this has passed my expectations.

 

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I gave this book 4 stars because of the world it conjured up in my head and the way that it was not exactly one vibe the whole book. It was pretty diverse when it comes to the mood of the story that one description is not enough.

It is not just dark, not just romantic, not just fantasy. It’s like all three with a twist. Which was amazing. It shows true loyalty and friendship, how it cannot just be taken with magic.

It can make you feel that dreamy, floating, kind of love. It makes you feel what it wants you to feel. Which is always what I am looking for in books.

A good book is supposed to affect you in some sort of way.

 

“They celebrate love as though it’s power, even though it has killed far more humans than I ever have.”

This is literally the break down of how I would describe what the book was talking about in sections (I told you that it was not one vibe throughout the book) and what it made me feel (this is in the order of how you would read it):

 

SECTION 1: Dark, Mysterious, What does it mean to be royalty

I was like, “if this is suppose to be some kind of little mermaid retelling, is it suppose to be this dark?”

there were so many discussions between our two main characters on the demands of royalty and price that has to be paid to rule a kingdom. This was just an essential part of the book for me because it showed that even our all powerful, fierce MCs, have just as much going on in their minds and hearts as anyone else.

they weren’t written out to be invincible.

 

SECTION 2: Magic, Family, Friendship, Family

This was very different from the first part and I was thrown off at first. In the end I embraced it and, oh, IT WAS BEAUTIFUL.

This section was the lighter side of the book but was still able to create just as much of an impact. The fact that these four topics were very evident throughout the whole of the book but focused more on the middle. . . I thought that it was a good choice for the author to pace the book as he did.

 

SECTION 3: the Dream of what could be

I was shook when they started mentioning about dreams and dreaming of what the world could be. I never expected the book to go down that path because it started with a pretty dark tone.

But did it give the book the balance it needed to earn the 5 stars that so many readers have been praising it with.

I don’t think anything I write will be able to explain just how one would feel when reading this section of the book. It was a very different tone change and I think the author had to do this since it was a standalone. Which is fairly short for a fantasy novel.

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I needed to do that short list because I think it is one of the most accurate ways I could have expressed just how much my feelings for this book changed as I went on reading.

I wanna keep this dream and fantasy of a story. It was romantic just as it was magical just as it was dark. It really is perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Sarah J. Maas. This book could have been told in a trilogy of some sort if the author wanted it to last that long, but it was perfect as a single story and I am happy that she did not drag it because if it were to have been longer than a single book, I’m afraid that it might be pushing the plot and the story as well.

 

Thank you for getting this far into my review. The meaning of this book grows more for me each second it stays with me from the moment I finished reading it.

 

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