ARC Review: To Kill a Kingdom

To Kill a Kingdom

Title: To Kill a Kingdom

Author: Alexandra Christo

Series: N/A

Publisher: Hot Key Books

Release Date: March 6th 2018


Three Stars

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 unsavoury 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?

– Blurb courtesy of

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

“So many hearts.” Her voice is angelic. “You’ll soon run out of room to bury them all.”
I lick my lips. “Maybe,” I say. “But a princess must have her prince.”

For every year she has been alive Lira has taken a human heart, and as siren royalty only the hearts of human princes will do. She is well known as the Princes’ Bane but when she gets greedy and takes a heart before her time she is punished, and to get back on the good side of the Sea Queen Lira decided to go after the prince who has been hunting her kind. However she is not the only one seeking Prince Elian’s heart and when she kills one of her own kind she is banished to the human world and robbed of her song.

The main things that drew me to this week were the fact that it was recommend for fans of Marissa Meyer and Sarah J. Maas, and that it’s a fairytale inspired book retelling the story of The Little Mermaid. From the beginning I was hooked as we followed Lira, first to help her cousin steal her own heart, and then in a desperate bid to earn her mother’s forgiveness.

“The Princes’ Bane is the greatest monster I’ve ever known, and the only one who’s escaped death once I’ve set my sights on her. I’ve hunted the seas tirelessly, searching for the flaming hair I’ve heard of in so many stories.
I’ve never even seen her.”

Elian has dedicated his life to hunting down sirens and now he is determined to track down the Prince’s Bane and end her life, but when he hears tale of a mythical crystal that can end the life of the Sea Queen, and all sirens, his goal changes. Then he comes across a girl drowning in the middle of the ocean and despite not knowing whether he can trust Lira, who seems human but knows more about sirenkind than anyone else, he is willing to make a deal. As for Lira her goal remains the same, deliver the heart of Prince Elian before the solstice and earn her mother’s forgiveness.

There was a lot at stake for both main characters, and having To Kill a Kingdom told through both Lira’s and Elian’s POV meant we got to see what drove those characters as the story unfolded. As far as standalones go there was a lot packed into this one book; To Kill a Kingdom was fast paced and while I do wish certain aspects had been better developed and given a little more page time I never felt lost as the story unfolded and we explored the world alongside Lira and Elian.

…The Characters

“For the kingdom – for my mother – I am ruthless. And that ruthlessness makes each and every sea creature certain I can reign. Now my mother wants to take that from me. Not just my name, but the faith of the ocean. If I’m not the Princes’ Bane, then I’m nothing.”

Lira has had her whole life moulded by her cruel mother. She’s always hunted princes, believing the potential she can take from them makes their hearts the only one’s worthy of her, and never receiving any kindness from the Sea Queen has turned her into a cold person. Lira knows better than to care about anyone and she is determined to let nothing come between her and her end goal, be it Elian’s heart or taking the eye and its power for herself.

There have been times in other books when I’ve struggled to connect to characters like Lira, but for some reason that wasn’t the case in To Kill a Kingdom. I loved reading her story and seeing the changes her character went through the more time she spent away from her mother, far from the control of the Sea Queen, with Elian and his crew. Lira does care about people, but the harsh lessons her mother taught her have been well learnt, and Lira knows it’s better to shield her heart.

“I like being called Cap. Captain. Anything other than My Liege, My Prince, Your Royal Highness Sir Elian Midas. Whatever it is the devouts like to spit out in between the constant bowing. Cap suits me in a way my title never has. I’m far more pirate than prince, anyway.”

Elian wants nothing more than to spend his life sailing alongside his crew, hunting sirens, but the demands of being a prince keep calling on him. Every time he returns home he feels the weight on his shoulders but he has to face the fact that one day soon he’ll have to give up the sea and take the throne. He makes some hard sacrifices in this book, but he believes it will all be worth it if he can get the crystal. Like Lira Elian is a determined character, and he will stop at nothing to end sirenkind.

“If Elian is truly hunting the eye, then he’s doing so on the faith of stories. And if a man can hunt them, then he can hear them. All I need is to convince the prince that I’m useful, and he might just let me above deck and away from the shackles of my cage. If I can get close enough, I won’t need my nails to rip out his heart.”

The relationship between Lira and Elian is a slow one to develop. At the start they’re working against one another; Lira seeking Elian’s heart and Elian seeking a way to end Lira’s kind, even if he doesn’t realise she’s anything but human. However they both begrudgingly accept that they need each other. The more time that passes the more their relationship develops, but Lira remains conscious of the fact that she is Elian’s enemy; even if she looks human she is still the Prince’s Bane.

While the individual character development was really well done I didn’t feel the same about the relationships both main characters had. I enjoyed reading about Lira’s bond with her cousin, but Elian’s relationships with his crew and his family didn’t work as well. It was the same with the growing relationship between Elian and Lira. It struck me as very sudden in places, the development started slow but sometimes it went too fast when taking into account who they are as individuals.

…The Setting

“There’s glitter and treasure on every speck of every street. Houses with roofs thatched by gold thread and fanciful lanterns with casings brighter than their light. Even the surface of the water has turned milky yellow, and the air is balmy with the afternoon sun.
It is all too much. Too bright. Too hot. Too opulent.”

On one hand the world building in To Kill a Kingdom was really well written. I loved exploring the worlds and the different countries Elian travelled to on his journey for the crystal, and I enjoyed the myths and the small glimpses we got into the histories of the different kingdoms, both on the land and under the sea. The only downside was that it felt shallow. I mentioned earlier in my review that it felt like there was a lot packed into this one book, and it’s easy to see that when it comes to the world building. Where some of the history and politics, or even the kingdoms themselves, could have been expanded on and better developed there just wasn’t room.

To Kill a Kingdom was a good book, and it’s definitely one I’d recommend if you’re a fan of fairytale retellings. For the most part the character development and world building was good, I’d just hoped for a little more. It was definitely a solid standalone, I loved the way Lira and Elian’s story ended, and it’s nice not having to wait for the next book in the series to find out what will happen next as well.

What did you think of To Kill a Kingdom? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.

All quotes have been taken from an ARC and may differ in the final publication.

45 thoughts on “ARC Review: To Kill a Kingdom

  1. I have this on my TBR, so I skimmed a little bit! It’s a shame that you didn’t enjoy this as much as you probably hoped. It’s definitely disappointing when individual character development is good, but the development of the relationship between the two characters just doesn’t flow as well.
    It’s also shame to see that you felt the world building was a little shallow :-/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah it wasn’t a perfect read for me, but I feel like I may be in the minority with this one because from what I’ve seen every other person who’s read this so far has loved it. Personally I do think To Kill a Kingdom is a good fantasy standalone, and honestly we need more of those in the genre. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think you are as well 😂 I’ve only heard good things so 🤷‍♀️ but that’s ok, we can’t all love the same things! And I think we do as well, the only issue with standalone fantasy is getting that depth of world building without affecting plot and character development as well

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh good luck with the giveaway then, but if you don’t win I’d recommend either honestly. If it sounds like something you want to read right away I’d say buy it. Plenty of people I know seem to have read and really loved this so I may be the exception here. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you, I think the closing date is in March. Ok thank you. I find that with some books I have read too, others liked a book that I didn’t or visa versa; don’t worry you are not an exception there will be other people out there that feel the same as you. I will let you know if I win the giveaway, and if I buy or loan it out of the library and what I think of it. What kind of books do you like to read?😀😃😄

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well again good luck, but either way not long until you do find out right? 🙂
        Ha, yeah there are probably other people who felt the same way I did, I feel this time we may be the minority though, fingers crossed you end up loving it though, especially if you do end up buying it rather than just waiting for the library copy.
        Pretty much anything YA fantasy. It’s why this one caught my eye actually! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thank you that is very kind of you. No not long now – I will let you know if I find out anything. I’m sure you are not. Thank you, I will message what I think of it. And I will probably do a book review on it on my blog. But I won’t read it for a while yet. I don’t blame you it is very eye catching. Have you read any of Sarah J Mass’ books?😄

        Liked by 1 person

      4. That’s all right, and yes definitely do. I love hearing what other people think of books and with this one I’m interested in whether other people love it as much as everyone else seems to be or whether they have some reservations like I seem to have.
        Oh I’ve read pretty much all of Sarah J Maas’ books, she’s one of my favourite authors actually. How about you? I’m assuming given you’re interested in this one and you’ve mentioned SJM you’re a fantasy fan like I am! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Yes I am the same. I love hearing what other people think of books I both liked or disliked as not every book you are going to like. For example I’m not a fan of Paper Towns by John Green but everybody loves that book. Have you, do you prefer her ACOTAR series or her Throne of Glass series or do you love them equally? Yes you guessed correctly! I am. I have read all of the ACOTAR series but only the first book in the Throne of Glass series! 😃😀😊

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Oh I haven’t read anything by John Green except The Fault in Our Stars, but I do have Paper Towns on my to-read list.
        I think I probably prefer her ACOTAR series, but it’s a really close thing. I am incredibly excited for the last book in her Throne of Glass series, it’s going to be epic. Ohh, what do you think so far, I wasn’t a huge fan of Throne of Glass but the series got so much better with the second book. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      7. I hope you enjoy Paper Towns – even though I didn’t. Did you like TFIOS? At the moment I prefer ACOTAR series, but it is really close for me too. I enjoyed Throne of Glass and so I can’t wait to carry on with the series. Yes I have heard that the series gets better and becomes really good after book one. Yes even though I am no where near reading the last book it sounds like it is going to be epic!! Which book in the ACOTAR series did you enjoy the most and who is your favourite character? 😃😁😆

        Liked by 1 person

      8. I liked The Fault in Our Stars, but honestly it’s been so long since I picked it up I can’t remember much about it. 🙂
        Maybe once you’ve read more of the Throne of Glass series you’ll be able to tell your sure favourite, or maybe it’ll just be too close to call forever. 😀
        Oh my favourite is definitely A Court of Mist and Fury, and favourite character probably Rhys and Nesta. How about you? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      9. I read years ago too, I enjoyed it. 😃
        Yes maybe that’s very true. 👍🏻
        My favourite is A Court of Mist and Fury too! My favourite characters are Rhys and Freyre! 😊💜💗

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my, I so need this one in my life! I love sirens/mermaids and the fact that Lira is not your typical good little heroine is exciting! I love anti-heroes and unlikable MCs and even when I can’t really connect with their evilness, I still manage to sympathize with them and see where they’re coming from. In my opinion, they’re a lot more interesting to read about. I’m also a big fan of retellings and The Little Mermaid especially, so this is perfect!! Also, the enemies to lovers trope ❤️
    On paper this book sounds terrific, and I had a lot of expectations for it, but the lack of world building and solid relationships at times is a bit disappointing. Maybe I can see past that and really enjoy the book? I hope so!
    Wonderful review, Beth 💕💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In that case this really does sound like the perfect book for you Sophie. If you love sirens and mermaids and anti hero characters then I can’t recommend this one enough. I think as well despite Lyra’s slight evilness I didn’t really have a problem connecting with her character, which was a sign of great writing in my mind! 😀
      Retellings are a weakness of mine, and so are enemies to lovers. (I feel like with every line of your comment I’m more and more convinced this is the perfect book for you.)
      Part of me thinks I may just have been a little too fussy when it comes to the world building. I dunno, if you pick this one up you’ll have to let me know what you think because the majority of people out there are really loving this one.
      Thanks so much Sophie! 😀 ❤


  3. Oh that was a lovely review, Beth! I have been hearing great things about To Kill a Kingdom, but you are definitely one of the people I trust the most, when it comes to fantasy recs. I’m glad to hear you overall enjoyed it and I love that it’s a the little mermaid retelling, I have yet to read a book like that – I think. I’m just a bit sad about the world-building and the relationships that felt a bit rushed, at times :/ I think I might try and read this one someday, but… I’m in no rush, haha 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Marie. 🙂 ❤️ See before I picked up this book I hadn’t heard much about it at all, but now I’ve seen a few people reading it and the general idea is what people have really enjoyed it! 🙂
      Hopefully it will be a fantasy book you enjoy then. Yeah I may be asking a little too much when it comes to world building in a fantasy standalone, but either way I’ve said this book is definitely proof you can write a solid fantasy standalone and I stand by that. 😀
      I’m sure you will enjoy this one Marie, as far as fairytale retellings go To Kill a Kingdom is one of the better ones I’ve read that’s for sure. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Shame it was a struggle to connect with the characters at times. And it’s a pity that while the characters developed quite well, the relationship didn’t as much. Good to know that it’s a solid standalone though and I am always curious about fairytale retellings. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There were a few downsides but overall it was a really enjoyable book, and it’s possible I’m just being a little too fussy when it comes to the characters and their relationships. 🙂 Either way I think this book is proof you can write a solid fantasy standalone, and if you enjoy fairytale retellings it’s one I’d recommend for sure!
      Thanks so much. 🙂 ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I am currently in the middle of a buddy read & saw your review go up so I skimmed through it cause I just had to know your thoughts 😂 I’m worried now. I think I’ll only be content with it being a stand-alone if it wraps up well…I’m worried now 😂 I can’t wait to come back to your review at the end of the week 💜💜💜


    1. Ohh, in that case I hope you’re enjoying your buddy read so far. Where are you up to in the book, and are you enjoying it so far? I get what you mean but personally I do think the ending of To Kill a Kingdom wrapped up the story well, in my mind this book is proof you can write a good fantasy standalone book. 🙂
      I really hope you enjoy it, you’ll have to let me know when you have finished reading what you thought, and thanks Lilly! 🙂 ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am currently up to chapter 25 aka 55% in. So far I am REALLY enjoying it and so are the other ladies in the buddy read. I’m going to read a big chunk of it tonight but so far, I’m a bit fearful of how Sea Witch will fare later in this year considering I’m enjoying this one so much 👀 I will definitely come back for a chat once I’m done 😊💕

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ohh, that’s definitely good to hear. I really loved the ending so I’m sure you will as well (it was certainly action-packed!)
        I’ve heard of Sea Witch, I definitely need to add that one to my to-read list, and in my mind you can never have too many fairytale retellings! 😀
        Great, I’ll look forwards to that for sure. 🙂


  6. I am glad this is a standalone, does this make sense? I just feel like, especially in this genre, you mostly get series when there really is no need to go into length sometimes. I love retellings, so this has definitely caught my attention. I am still pretty wrapped up in my backlisted books, but I miiight give this a try. I am still a little bit on the fence, but great review! I got a much better feel for the story now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely get what you mean. I was pleased when I found out this was a standalone just because I didn’t have to wait for the next book in the series, and it made for a nice chance to read the end of the story at the end of one book as well you know? Either way I think this book is proof you can write a good standalone fantasy novel! 🙂
      It’s a good story, and I’d definitely recommend it if you love retellings as well Kat, but good luck with getting through your blacklisted books first. I have plenty of those myself! 😀
      Thanks. 🙂 ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I am only allowed one new book per month maximum hahaha and mostly I pre-order something and it doesn’t get here anyway, so I have plenty of time to read the books I am supposed to. It’s been good on my wallet as well to be honest.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh wow that would be an impossible goal for me (then again I haven’t actually brought that many book this month!) Still sounds like a good plan, and if it’s helping you get through some of the books you already own well all the better right? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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