Who doesn’t love an excellent retelling? Especially one of The Little Mermaid where Ariel is definitely not your average damsel in distress…
To Kill a Kingdom is the debut novel by Alexandra Christo, published by Hot Key Books in the UK on 6th March and available for pre-order here
And wow, what a debut! I devoured it in just over a day, it’s a fast paced, adventure fuelled story about a siren princess whose mother is the Sea Queen and a prince from the kingdom of Midas, who just happens to detest sirens. Elias is the captain of a rag-tag band of loyal pirates who sail the seas to rid the world of the deadly sirens lurking in the deep. He’s very good at capturing and killing them, but Lira, the siren princess is equally good at stealing the hearts of princes. Known as the Princes Bane, she has taken a heart for every year she has lived, singing her bewitching song to entice the princes from the safety of their ships before dragging them down to the depths of the ocean below.
And as a prince, Elias is next on Lira’s list. But when she fails to take his heart, her mother, the Sea Queen decides to teach her a lesson. We follow Elias and Lira as she first weedles her way into his crew, then sails away with him.
The sirens are cruel, barbaric and the language Christo uses to describe the way they kill and the way the Sea Queen doles out her punishments is harsh and haunting. This isn’t a Disneyfied ocean, this is a world of tearing nails, fangs and breaking bones.
I loved the world created in To Kill a Kingdom, the glimpses of the hundred kingdoms, the royals and what drives them. The Sea Queen is one of those villains that is delightfully evil through and through and Lira has the morally ambiguous quality of a true modern age heroine, out to conquer the world.
Read this if you’re curious about sirens, like your YA with a slice of darkness and love exploring new worlds awash with deadly villains and treacherous heroes.
Thank you to Hot Key Books for the chance to read this wonderful book!