To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

Published on March 15, 2023

octopus tentacles on the surface of the ocean and one tentacle is holding a dagger

Reviewed by Samantha Calderone

“I have a heart for every year I’ve been alive. There are seventeen hidden in the sand of my bedroom.”

While To Kill a Kingdom may have been inspired by The Little Mermaid the sirens in this story have much more heart. Literally.

Lira has grown up under the control of her mother, The Sea Queen, and has only learned one thing, to be as fearsome as she is wicked. Lira, along with the other sirens living in the Sea Queen’s oceans, must kill a human and rip out their heart to present to the Queen each year on their birthday. To not do so, or steal a heart early will result in swift punishment. In an attempt to impress her mother, Lira tries to steal the heart of the Siren Killer, but ends up killing a mermaid in the process. Infuriated by her insubordination, the Sea Queen takes Lira’s ability to sing and turns her into the worst creature imaginable – a human.

Prince Elian has become a pirate in his own right, making a name for himself as the Siren Killer while he attempts to better the world and rid the ocean of sirens. During his quest he comes across Lira, a girl seemingly lost in the ocean, and saves her by bringing her aboard his ship.

Determined to rejoin the ocean and do right by her mother, Lira tries to sway the prince and gain his trust hoping to be able to get close enough to steal his heart while keeping the fact that she is a siren a secret.

While the story contains a fair bit of action, the novel focuses more on the relationship between Lira and Prince Elian. While Lira and Elian may have more differences than commonalities, one thing seems to draw them together, their desire to find their paths. As the two find ways to work together toward a common goal, each are keeping their own secrets that threaten to destroy everything.

To Kill a Kingdom takes the story of The Little Mermaid and twists in into an entirely new tale. Christo weaves a dark fairy tale with moments of familiarity that pay homage to the original story written by Hans Christian Anderson as well as the Disney version.  Christo does a spectacular job of creating a world that readers can clearly visualize, in a way that is hauntingly beautiful.

This book has been trending on BookTok and is a great choice for fans of the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. 


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