BLOG TOUR | To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo + Book Review

Title: To Kill A Kingdom
Author: Alexandra Christo
Pages: 384 pages
Release Date: March 6th, 2018
Source: ARC from Macmillan
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Rating: 4.5/5 
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?

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2018 is the year of mind-blowing and spectacular Young Adult fantasy books, I just know it! First Everless by Sara Holland blew me away with its unique plot and well-executed world-building and magic system, and then To Kill A Kingdom steals the spotlight with a dark spin on the classic, The Little Mermaid. I wonder what's next...

In the short time that I've been reading avidly as a book blogger, I don't think I've ever actually read a good Young Adult mermaid book. There is a scarcity of really popular YA mermaid books, so I think that the pitch that this book has going for it- "dark Little Mermaid retelling" - is going to help this book sell really well. Not to mention, that the cover is drop dead gorgeous. And thankfully in this case, looks are not deceiving. This book is beautiful both inside and out.

With every chapter, I was enticed to read more and more even if that meant sacrificing sleep. There was no shortage of adventure and intrigue. I don't think the world was so difficult to understand that the author had to fill the reader in that much, but there were a lot of rules that were cleared up in the first 50 pages. I think the only critique is that I wasn't able to get a sense of how far or close the kingdoms were to each other. There might be a map of the world in the hardcover copy, which would really help. What I liked especially was the clear distinction the author drew between mermaids and sirens.  Although mermaids and sirens bow down to the same Sea Queen, they are very different. Our main character Lira is a siren, not a mermaid.

Anyone who is a huge fan of The Little Mermaid (me me me!) will appreciate the small things that the author kept in the novel to keep the authenticity and the classic tale alive, but with dark and deadly twists. It was really intriguing, and I was just honestly blown away by how the author was able to take the infamous classic and make it her own. I won't spoil anything, but she takes really big elements of the classic Little Mermaid story and completely turns them around. It's very unexpected and simply refreshing.

A note to make: there is a lot of verbal and physical abuse from Lira's mother, so please be cautious. Like shit, it gets really intense. Trigger warning for verbal and physical abuse! 

We've got a host of fabulous leading ladies, and of course your occasional prince charming. But Prince Charming be damned, I wanted to take all the strong females in this book and put them in a all-female singing group. Lira, the main character, is a ruthless and ambitious siren. There's Madrid, another fearless female who holds a high rank on the Prince's fleet. Let's not forget Kahlia, Lira's siren cousin.

A lot of people will read the synopsis and simply dub it as a "mermaid book". What people don't expect though, is a pirate adventure filled with mischief, mayhem and a LOTTA romance.

I think one of Christo's biggest challenges with writing this book was to try and set her book apart from all the other Young Adult mermaid novels out there. And she did just that. Her writing is something that can only be experienced by reading this book. She's so descriptive, and she was really able to capture the beauty of the ocean and what it holds.
"With it comes the smell of dawn as the pink-lipped sky barely stays tucked behind the line of the ocean."

"When I open my mouth to sign, the air caramelizes on my tongue."

- quoted from an uncorrected proof of To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
For all you folks that love the trope of hate-to-love romances, you will eat this book up. It was steamy and just...

Take whatever preconceived notion you have of this book and throw it out the window! This 2018 debut is already turning heads with the promise of being a book about "mermaids", and I'm glad to say that it lived up to my expectations and more. It's already out, so don't forget to get your hands on it. 
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