My rating in stars: 4,5 stars
My rating in words: LOVED IT!
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
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?
MY THOUGHTS (SPOILER-FREE):
“I’ve made a mistake. It started with a prince, as most stories do. Once I felt the thrum of his heart beneath my fingers, I couldn’t forget it.”
Where do I begin? To Kill A Kingdom immediately jumped to the top of my TBR list when I heard the following:
It’s a Little Mermaid retelling with a twist. The mermaid (well, siren really) kills princes. And the prince is a siren hunter. Yep, there it is.
It has a hate-to-love romance
That’s all. Those two little things were all I needed to be absolutely sold on this book.
And you know what? It actually lived up to its hype. It may have even surpassed it. I adored every single minute of this book and it definitely took its place among my 2018 favorites, that’s for sure. Because it took those two things that had me excited in advance and made them better than I even imagined it.
Yes, this book has a killer plot. I mean, just reading the blurb will tell you that. But did you know that the plot is as great as it is because of the amazing characters in it? The characters could have easily been your typical one-dimensional villains and heroes. But they’re so much more than that.
Lira is called “the Prince’s Bane”, because every year she rips out another prince’s heart to add to her collection. Any heart would do, but she has actually really does have a thing for princes. She’s a vicious siren, daughter of the Sea Queen and heir to the throne. Except her mother is abusive and wants to keep her absolute power. And maybe Lira does have a soft spot. Maybe she wasn’t always the vicious killer she is today. Except her mother made sure she turned out vicious and cruel and a threat to humans.
Elian is a prince. Except, he has no desire to ever rule or even to be princely in any way. Though his family expects him to do just that and he is burdened by their heavy expectations, he’d much rather fullfill his real mission in life: hunt down and kill the Prince’s Bane and save mankind from murderous sirens. He is clever, charming, great at scheming, has a pirate’s soul and he lives for the sea, his ship and his crew (who are another important part of what makes this book so great. The loyalty and friendship between these characters easily tugged on my heartstrings.)
And yes, this book has a hate-to-love romance, so that’s great if it’s a trope you already love. But did you know that the romance also has the best, most delicious and realistic slow burn? And that it is made even more enjoyable because there is so much witty banter?
Because really, just cue these two characters who are already individually so well developed, interesting and multi-dimensional and then throw them together. And yes, it gets even better. When Lira’s mother takes away her song and turns her into a human with a mission to take Elian’s heart, things are definitely heating up. Don’t worry, there is no instalove. Remember, these two characters are eachothers’ sworn enemies. But maybe, just maybe, they slowly discover that they may have more in common than they think.
And really, on top of all that, I have just got to mention the worldbuilding, because it is amazing. And with worldbuilding, I mean both the world above the sea as the world below the sea. Above the sea we are introduced to several intriguing kingdoms, each with a history and culture of their own. And below the sea we have so much fun sea lore with all the different sea creatures and their history. This whole world was just so well written and thought through that I’m almost sorry it’s a standalone and we don’t have a chance to discover even more.
Overall, I definitely recommend To Kill A Kingdom if you are in the mood for a killer little mermaid retelling, a glorious slow burn hate to love romance, witty banter, well developed morally grey characters and/or amazing worldbuilding.
“Technically, I’m a murderer, but I like to think that’s one of my better qualities.”
“They celebrate love as though it’s power, even though it has killed far more humans than I ever have.”
“In my heart, I’m as wild as the ocean that raised me.”
“He has eyes like vast pools and a jaw made from shipwrecks and broken coral. Every movement he makes is as quick and fluid as a tidal wave. He belongs to the ocean. He is made from it, as much as I am.”
“Hearts are power, and if there’s one thing my kind craves more than the ocean, it’s power.”
“It’s the princes who hold the allure. In their youth. In the allegiance of their people. In the promise of the leader they could one day become. They are the next generation of rules, and by killing them, I kill the future. Just as my mother taught me.”
“In the pits of our souls – if I amuse myself with the notion that I have a soul – Elian and I aren’t so different. Two kingdoms that come with responsibilities we each have trouble bearing. Him, the shackles of being pinned to one land and one life. Me, trapped in the confines of my mother’s murderous legacy. And the ocean, calling out to us both. A song of freedom and longing.”