To Kill a Kingdom

the dark and romantic YA fantasy for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Sarah J Maas

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Pub Date 6 Mar 2018 | Archive Date 11 Oct 2022
Bonnier Zaffre, Hot Key Books

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Dark and romantic YA fantasy for fans of Sarah J Maas - about the siren with a taste for royal blood and the prince who has sworn to destroy her

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?

Dark and romantic YA fantasy for fans of Sarah J Maas - about the siren with a taste for royal blood and the prince who has sworn to destroy her

Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of...

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ISBN 9781471407390
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Featured Reviews

I am sorry to say that I was unable to read or review this book, at the time I lost my job and was unable to read the book and by the time I had got myself into a safer financial/job situation it was late April and the book had already been released. All I can do is apologise for this and wish the author luck in any future endeavours and thank you for giving me this amazing opportunity to read this book early. Once more I truly am sorry.

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I really enjoyed the characters in this book. As I'm the sort of reader to whom character development is more important than the plot, I was initially unsure because both the perspectives weren't instant favourites. However, they did grow on me and I absolutely loved Lira and Elian by the end. I don't particularly like romance in books, but in this one I was shipping the main couple with all of my heart. There is so much believable conflict and angst that hinders their relationship that I found very refreshing to read. Also, the other characters were developed really well too, although I wish we'd seen more of Elian's main crew because I liked their personalities a lot. The Sea Queen, who is Lira's mother and the main antagonist, was absolutely terrifying to read about and I liked that the reader could understand why her ruthlessness was necessary.

What made the book a unique read for me was how unapologetic the characters were and the dark undercurrent to the plot. The story managed to strike the perfect balance between introducing the world and moving the plot forward with some intense action. Another thing that really stood out for me was the sarcastic, cut-like-knives humour that made the dialogue so much fun to read and the character dynamics was also greatly improved because of the banter. The climax was extremely intense and satisfying in every way for me.

Overall, I was extremely pleased with all of the aspects of this book. It works great as a standalone novel and packs so much fabulous world-building, action and excellent character interactions. I was impressed with the quality of the author's debut novel and would definitely pick up any more books she writes in the future. I would highly recommend this to all the YA fantasy fans out there, those who crave for hate-to-love romances and those who enjoy a coating of darkness to the regular siren stories.

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You need this book in your life. It’s spectacular.

The fact that this sounded like it was going to be a sort of evil Little Mermaid retelling had my interest piqued straightaway, and it did not disappoint.
Lira is our villainous Mermaid, or ‘Siren’ as they’re called here. Her mother, the Sea Queen, is our Ursula and she is power and evil personified. And then we have Elian as our Prince-turned-pirate. Every character was unique and memorable, and they had such great chemistry together – not only Lira and Elian but the wonderful banter between Elian’s crew too.

The one reservation I had over this was the almost predictable romance that was going to occur between Lira and Elian. The premise of this was that Lira needed to kill Elian to win her place back in her world and in her mothers favour, and Elian was out to kill Lira to finally end the murderous rein of The Prince’s Bain. It felt almost disappointing that I knew going into this that ultimately they wouldn’t kill each other because they’d fall in love, but actually it was done in such a believable way that it didn’t even ruin it for me.
Lira and Elian have such brilliant chemistry together and they both have such fiery personalities that every exchange was entertaining. I liked the resolution of their romance and how the author avoided all the typical YA cliches. Neither has to give up their life to be with the other, they remain true to themselves – and this is something that there is a dire lack of in YA.

Seriously, I loved every aspect of this book. Evil sirens, swashbuckling pirates, thieves, exciting new lands, magic, sword fights, romance, double-crossing… has everything! Go read it, you won’t be disappointed.

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What a brilliant story!

Like, when is this becoming a movie? It was filled with so much action, magic, pirates, sirens and so much you want from a sea themed book and more. I have been wanting a kind of sea themed book for awhile and this has just became one of my all time favourites.

Princess Lira is a siren. She steals hearts.
Prince Elian doesn't want to be king and loves when he is aboard his ship and he is looking for the Prince's Bane to kill her.

Lira has collected hearts, for every year she lives. But, once she disobeys the queen she does something to her that every siren would hate. She turns her human and tells her she must bring her the heart of the prince or her heart is hers.

Elian brings saves a woman from the ocean but, she isn't what she seems. She promises to help him find the key that will destroy all Sirens.

But, there is something different about this woman. Can he trust her? Can Lira do what she has to do or will she find out some things along the way that will help her change the future of the Sirens and human world forever?

A brilliant story. I love the descriptive writing, the way it just flowed and how it was easy to get into this book and just not stop until the very end. It made me want more even after the story had finished. The characters where so interesting and all had their own little quirks. This story is filled with so much life, a fantastic array of characters, a brilliant plot that has drama, action, romance, sirens, pirates and just everything you want in a book.

If you're looking for a book that will call to you (siren pun) then I can't recommend this book enough. It will capture you from the beginning and not let go. I really enjoyed this book and I can't wait for others to read it and see how brilliant it is.

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Oh my, where do I start… This was one of my recent WoW features, so you can all imagine my thoughts when I was approved on NetGalley.

I think the very first aspect that I need to discuss is Christo’s writing style. Right from the beginning, I felt the writing was quite regal, like it was from an ancient fairy tale, and for this I was able to engage with the story a lot more. Whenever I hear or read the word siren, all I immediately think of is pirates, which I found plenty in here, and my brain can’t help singing pirates’ songs in my head. The story is very engaging, and maybe I am one of the very few, but I never considered Lira a monster. Yes, she is not human, and yes, she takes the hearts of princes, but you can see from the beginning she is not a regular siren. She has a noble heart, which is what gets her the Sea Queen’s punishment.

I truly loved her relationship with Elian, and Lira’s new-found humanity is perhaps what makes her intriguing to Elian’s eyes. Elian, Elian… what can I say about you that wouldn’t make me look like a teenage girl with a huge crush? I loved how beautifully his struggle to contain his true nature was described, it made my heart ache as well. Also, his crew was so amazingly funny, and it was sweet to see how close they are to each other and that they would do anything to protect their own, like a family.

The only thing I didn’t like was that it ended! I was so enthralled by this enchanting tale, and I sincerely hope Christo will deliver more of that!!

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Loved this book, it was really unique and that was unexpected. Would definitely read more from the author.

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~ I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ~

"Technically, I'm a murderer, but I like to think that's one of my better qualities."

Sirens are certainly some badass creatures that need to feature more in the YA fantasy genre; it’s extremely refreshing to witness an author cover a mythical creature that rarely appears within literature, so I certainly need more of that!!

Cynical, cruel and conniving, Lira is the princess of Keto and future ruler of the sirens and the sea. Let me start by saying how much I absolutely adored Lira as a main character. She is introduced to us as a cold, heartless monster, and that only makes me love her more because it was so fascinating to read about someone who takes so much pride in being vicious. Despite her ruthless behaviour, you as a reader begin to root for her, after seeing how she has only been moulded into this coldblooded being as a result of constant torture and torment by her mother, the Sea Queen. Even at the start you can witness a soft side to her, and as you watch her evolve and grow, you love her even more.

A retelling of the Little Mermaid was guaranteed to keep me hooked, no pun intended. It is one of my absolute favourite fairy tales, and this book took aspects of both the Disney depiction and the original story, which I really appreciated as the original is far darker than modern representations and by far more interesting. I mean, yeah, who doesn’t enjoy a cheesy love story where the princess gets her prince? But in all honesty, I’d choose a sinister, action packed tale over that any day.

Elian….where do I begin? Do I start with the fact that he’s a prince who hates his royal responsibilities? Or do I talk about how he’s a rebellious pirate who literally stole my heart? I don’t think it matters, because you should just pick up this book and fall head over heels for him yourself. His humour and uncontrollable nature is just something you can’t resist.

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My Thoughts:
First of all I loved that this was a standalone as I feel that with fantasy genre and books that feature magic we don't often get standalones as they are mostly series or companion novels. The book sets around 2 different characters who are part of 2 very different kingdoms and are both next in line for the ruler of their kingdoms. We have Lira who is part of the sirens and heir to the sea kingdom and then Elian who is a royal prince and a siren Hunter. I thought the characters were well thought out like they each had their ow unique personalities that made their conversations just spark. A part of this book I loved was the Enemies to lovers trope that we see, As if you know me I love anything with a bit of romance in it no matter the trope. The romance was just perfect.
I loved her writing and her world building, you could definitley tell that she did some well earned thinking about this book and didn't just use another authors book for a baseline. It was very diverse and also dealt with some tricky issues like parent/child abuse and manipulation which I felt the author dealt with well.
I gave this book 5 stars and even though I love that its a standalone, I wish there was a sequel.

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This was easily one of the best books I've read this year and definitely lives up to the hype. It's the type of book that keeps you reading until 2am. It's the type of book that you find yourself thinking about when you're not reading it. It's the type of book that leaves you with a book hangover.

Firstly, I love that this is a stand alone fantasy book which seems to be hard to come by these days. The story is well told and wrapped up beautifully. Add on to that the fact that it's a twist on The Little Mermaid and I was delighted before I even began. I say it's a twist because this "mermaid", who looses her siren song rather than voice, doesn't want to be a human and bag a prince, she wants to kill him and take his heart. 

I was hooked from the first page. The opening is one of the best I've read in a while.

"I have a heart for every year I've been alive.
There are seventeen hidden in the sand of my bedroom. Every so often, I claw through the shingle just to check they're still there. Buried deep and bloody. I count each of them, so I can be sure non were stolen in the night. It;s not such an odd fear to have. Hearts are power, and if there;s one thing my kind craves more than the ocean, it's power."

The book flicks between the two perspectives;
Lira: the Siren princess, daughter of the Sea Queen who rules the sea kingdom, Diavos. Lira is also know as The Prince's Bane due to taking princes' hearts. Her mother is an abusive, manipulating tyrant and isn't willing to relinquish her throne any time soon.
Elian: The royal prince set to inherit Midas, the city of gold. He is also a cutthroat sea captain, known as the Siren Hunter due to hunting down and killing sirens.

With some books I loath reading from a particular person's perspective but I enjoyed reading both POV. I particularly loved the banter and the slow burning romance, which is something I don't normally enjoy. 

If you're a fan of anti-heroines, slow-burning romance, strong friendships and banter, this is the book for you!

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I ended up loving this book so much more than I thought I would. The way that it included Sirens was amazing and I recommend this book for anyone looking for a new fantasy

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In this novel, we follow a siren named Lira. Lira is the daughter of the infamous Sea Witch, who must present her mother with the heart of a prince every year until she takes her mother's place on the throne. We also follow Elian, prince of the Midasan Kingdom, pirate, and siren slayer. If that doesn't pique your interest, I don't know what to tell you! After a misunderstanding, the Sea Queen lashes out in anger at Lira, damning her to a human body until she can tear out the beating heart of a human prince while in the form of their sworn enemies. Stripped of her siren song and fins, Lira sets her sights on the pirate prince Elian, and attempts to infiltrate his mission to put an end to all sirens, and bring his heart back to the Sea Queen. But things don't exactly go as planned...

Lira is a ruthless killer, famed for her cold-blooded pursuit of the princes of the hundred kingdoms. Known as the Prince's Bane, Lira is vicious and unstoppable, and vulnerable only to her mother. Lira has never known love or kindness - it isn't the way of the sirens, especially under the rule of the current Sea Queen. Yet Lira's raw hatred of humans, we learn, is a misdirected hatred of her situation. When Lira is transformed into a human, she's disgusted by her form - shamed and humiliated and stripped bare from everything she's ever been. She despises Elian, who holds her captor on his ship after rescuing her until she can devise a plan that will allow her to gain his trust.

Though Lira is no fighter in her human form, she is perfectly mean and menacing through her words. Unafraid of questioning and confronting Elian, she is the perfect opposite of the pirate prince, yet soon learns that their dreams aren't so different. Lira's character development throughout this book was outstanding. The transition from suppressed and murderous slave to what she soon becomes was executed so smoothly and realistically. Her confidence and sense of self and duty, especially in the face of her enemies, was such a unique take on the "Ariel" character (forgive me, I haven't read the original tales yet) and she very quickly became one of my favourite female characters of all time. Lira's morals lie naturally in a grey area after her upbringing and environment, yet she has such a strong heart and can sass just about anyone regardless of her faltering use of human language.

Elian sees himself as an irredeemable killer. He takes no joy in the slaying of sirens, yet he's perfected the art of doing so. Elian has no interest in inheriting his father's throne, and feels more at home on the sea with his pirate crew; hunting sirens, wooing women, and drinking rum. As dangerous and heartless as he believes himself so, Elian cares so deeply about his found-family, and holds no true malice within himself. Despite his pirate lifestyle, Elian isn't selfish or needlessly cruel - he's exceptionally clever and diplomatic and fair. He knows exactly what people want and how they work, and has a talent of using that to his advantage while offering fair trade for the greater good of the kingdoms. Elian is charming and funny, and takes on Lira's venomous remarks with an attitude that she can't help but admire. Though he doesn't trust this mysterious girl who can speak Psáriin, the language of the sirens, he gives her enough space and respect to earn her way into his trust and crew.

The crew of Elian's ship, the Saad, is made up of some very memorable characters. Madrid is a tattooed woman who escaped slavery in another kingdom, and savours her freedom aboard the ship. She's sarcastic, hilarious, and everything I've ever wanted to see in a lady pirate. We also have Kye, Elian's most trusted adviser/bodyguard, and although he stands firmly in the way between Elian and Lira, I couldn't help but respect him and his loyalty to his captain. The crew of the Saad are a family, and as unwilling as she is, Lira soon finds herself a part of that family and proves her worth among their ranks without a second thought.

The Sea Queen is the ultimate enemy in any story. Truly chaotic evil, she's willing to sacrifice everyone around her to keep her power - her daughter, especially. She forces the sirens to go to impossible lengths to prove their lack of humanity, and has no intention of giving up the throne. While in other retellings of The Little Mermaid, I've always been able to identify with the Sea Queen's side and saw the reasoning behind her evil, this wasn't the case in To Kill A Kingdom. This Sea Queen is power-hungry to the point of carelessness, and filled with senseless, unrelenting hate.

The atmosphere throughout this novel was dark, and so very charged. Every setting - including the Diávolos sea that homes the sirens, every kingdom our characters visit along the way, and even on the Saad travelling through the ocean - was vivid and alive. The tone constantly kept pace with each of the dual perspectives, and ran seamlessly as our main characters learned and grew with each experience. Although at the very beginning, I thought the sentence structures were slightly choppy, I soon realised how this served to egg on the fast pacing that flows consistently throughout the novel. The dual first-person perspectives between Lira and Elian worked perfectly for every scene; they mirrored one another, but with unique voices that added an extra depth to their characters. There are no lulls in this storyline - the pace marches forward at lightening speed, and our main characters keep up without rushing any of their own internal conflicts.

The plot of this novel is so clever - I constantly forgot that this was a retelling, and each time a little Easter egg was presented, it was so much fun comparing it to the other takes of this story. Despite being written in first-person perspective, I was constantly guessing what the main characters were planning and what else they were capable of. Both Elian and Lira surprised each other and themselves with what they're willing and able to do, and I enjoyed this aspect of the book so much. This story is unpredictable; everything impossible comes to fruition in such a sort time, and yet there's never a moment where something seems too drastic or doesn't make sense. We have just enough from the original tale, such as the shell necklace, the siren-human transformation, the trident, and the hot prince, and yet so much more to add to the intrigue. For a world with a hundred kingdoms, the world building was shockingly well done - despite each kingdom holding different legends, traditions, languages, and even forms of magic, it was so easily followed. Although I personally would have loved to see a map in this book (for no other reason than I'm trash for fantasy maps), it really wasn't necessary to keep up with navigating this world.

There wasn't a single moment that I faulted the logic, timing, or pacing in this novel, which can be quite rare with stand-alone fantasy novels of this length. The only thing I wish I could have seen more of was the magic/legends of the various kingdoms. From those I learned from this book, there could be hundreds of stories set in this world... and I'd read every last one of them.

As we come to the end of the book, it seemed as though there was lot more to happen in so few pages, and I was worried that we'd be left with a cliffhanger. Thankfully this wasn't the case, and I was kicking myself for doubting a story that showed no evidence to the contrary. The ending of this book was EVERYTHING. That's all I can say without spoiling. Although I wish this wasn't a stand alone simply because I loved the world and the characters so much, the ending wrapped up in such a satisfying way that blew my expectations out of the park. This is the mermaid book I'd been waiting for. While I'll never stop seeking out retellings of this story, I'll never tire of this one in particular.

I gave this book five stars without question, and I'm kicking myself for waiting so long to read it. Please pick this book up from your local bookstore or library if you can, I promise you won't regret it. If you need more convincing:
- Murderous sirens
- Creepy mermaids
- Hot pirate prince
- Funny, mean, bad ass female characters
- Magic
- Ships and shipping ;)
- Did I mention SIRENS?! Who lure men to their deaths with their voices?!
- Pirates

Characters: ★★★★★
Atmosphere: ★★★★★
Writing Style: ★★★★.5
Plot: ★★★★★
Intrigue/Enjoyment: ★★★★★

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This book has a bit of everything
Nightmarish Little mermaid, pirates, adventure and mother with some major issues
Great character who really drive the story forward
Looking forward to more from this author

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I loved the relationship in this book and the characters were some of the more unique ones that I have read in YA recently. The story gripped me from the beginning and I never wanted to put it down,

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I started this book at the beginning of the year, but after only getting 100 pages in, I fell into a summer slump... I picked it back up a week ago and I'm so glad I stuck with it!

It's honestly so gripping and intense, but layered with funny and heartfelt moments. I loved following Lira's inner battle through the story, and how her relationships with all the other characters changed and grew.

This has really inspired me to get back into my own writing soon, and I will definitely be keeping an eye out for more books by Alexandra Christo 😍

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When I first heard about To Kill A Kingdom I wasn’t sure I wanted to read it. I like fantasy but I prefer it to not be too far-fetched. However, I had heard amazing things from both Becca and Gem so I took a gamble and downloaded it from NetGalley – I am so glad I did!

It’s told from a world with many Kingdoms; some on land and some under the sea. Those on land have been at war with the sea dwellers for many years and have lost many sailers, most noticeably Princes, to Sirens who lure them to their death.

Lira is one such Siren, and next in line to take her mother’s throne. Lira likes to take the heart of a Prince on her Birthday every year and this year would have been no exception – had she not defied her mother. Forced to become human until she meets her mother’s demand, Lira ventures into a world she has only ever seen from the Sea.

The Sea Queen, Lira’s mother, is a vicious monster (read: nastier than Ursula from The Little Mermaid) and although she isn’t a main character she is utterly fascinating. I felt physically tense from any part of the story that involved her. The imagery that surrounds her and her minions is fantastic; it’s dark and vile and makes your skin want to crawl.

Lira herself is such a fantastic character. I hate to watch female leads wither and melt under the male gaze but she doesn’t flinch. She’s incredibly strong, sometimes to her own detriment, but you cannot deny she is a force to be reckoned with. If you’re looking for a book with a kick-ass female lead then your quest ends here, and you won’t be disappointed.

Her male counterpart, Prince (and self-imposed Pirate) Elian is also a refreshing character. Where Lira shows us the perilous underworld, Elian swirls us into the glitz and glamour of the palaces of various Kingdoms. He’s not interested in settling for tradition and instead chooses to live the life of a Siren Hunter with a crew of loyal sailors, trying to rid the seas of vermin he considers them to be.

What I love the most about the two of them together is not that there is gender subversion by role reversal, but they are equally balanced, and I think that is what makes To Kill A Kingdom is a brilliant and visually stimulating book. Everywhere you look there are pirates and monsters and murderers and there is a true sense of traditional Fairytale horror too – do not expect beautiful mermaids or handsome princes. Everything is twisted in it’s own way.

To Kill A Kingdom will sweep you away on a tide of viciousness and never truly let your feet back on to solid ground.

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I'm the type of person that loves to hate a slow burning romance but THIS BOOK, made me love everything about slow burning romances and just this book in general.I honestly adored the way alexandra constructed this book and went between the views of the two characters allowing us to get deep into their thoughts

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Addictive from beginning to end. I couldn’t put it down and need more in this world! Elian and Lira have my heart completely and his was an incredibly unique take on the Little Mermaid tale. I cannot wait to see what the author brings out next!

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Rating: 5/5 Stars
 I received this novel in exchange for an honest review.
 This. Freaking. Book. It's so refreshing to dive into a stand​​-alone fantasy novel that is so rich and rewarding. Granted because of my pregnancy it took me a while to get through, but trust me when I say that is at no fault of the book. To Kill A Kingdom follows Lira, the daughter of the Sea Queen and deadly siren known as the Prince's Bane and Prince Elian, reluctant royalty and renowned pirate. With their fates intertwined we get a profound story about found family and overcoming the scars of trauma with a hate to love romance sprinkled on top.
 As always I'll start with what I loved and end with the weaker points of the novel, although granted there aren't many!
 First lets start with Christo's writing. She's excellent at writing dialogue, and some of the banterous back-and-forths that occur between some of the characters genuinely made me laugh out loud. Christo is also very good at painting very clear descriptions; its obvious she knows how to get the maximum gratification with as few words as possible; if you're familiar with my reviews you'll know I love a good, concise sentence.

 I'll dive further in, by saying that I loved Lira as a main character. She is the perfect example of an unreliable narrator; we open the novel believing as she does that she is a violent, unforgiving and ruthless killer. But as we learn more of her past and her relationship with her mother the Sea Queen, we begin to get a more detailed picture of Lira and how her behaviour is actually a product of being in such a dangerous and abusive environment even though Lira does not directly confront this aspect of herself until quite a way into the novel.
 Elian is an interesting character too, but I didn't quite love him as much as I did Lira. I appreciated the fact that he wasn't a copy and paste love interest, and as I said above his penchant for banter with his pirate crew had me laughing out loud on more than one occasion. On the subject of his crew; I liked Madrid and Torik was also a really funny character however I would have liked a bit more exposition with regards to all of the crews backstory beyond the few brief lines we were given to contextualise where they were from and how they came about joining Elian on his voyages. I think a little more character building on the part of the supporting characters would have really helped build upon my investment in them.

 The plot is very fast paced, so be sure if you pick this up you take your time with it. It feels like the kind of book you could drink up in one sitting and have forgotten all the bits you loved about it because you got through it so quickly. In that regard I'm glad I had no choice but to take my time with it. It's a book that begs to be savoured. In terms of the story, I enjoyed where our characters went though its a shame we didn'y get to see more of the hidden worlds beneath the sea, though I can understand why that was the case. I'm just a sucker for world building so I can't help but exercise an insatiable need for more world building and exposition. Christo is great at avoiding info-dumps though I have to give her credit for that.
 In terms of some of the weaker points, one is to do with formatting in that the e-ARC I received had no distinction between the two narrative points of view so it would occasionally take some time for me to figure out whose head I was hovering in. As I understand it however that issue is not present in the print versions of the book. I think the narrative voices of both Lira and Elian were very similar in some ways, so if I had to give one more significant pointer it would be that there isn't much distinction  between the two voices. That could have been intended however, as both Lira and Elian admit that they are incredibly alike.
 In any case its hardly a reason not to pick up the book, and in fact I encourage you to do so. This novel opened up a well of need I didn't know I had: mermaid/siren novels! Its a truly fantastic read.

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To Kill A Kingdom is the perfect dark, twisted story and I loved it from the very start:

"I have a heart for every year I've been alive. There are seventeen hidden n the sand of my bedroom."

Lira is not your average mermaid. She is a Siren, a stabby mermaid who lives to sing men into the sea so she can rip out their still-beating hearts. Lira is my hero.

Lira's mother is the Sea Queen and she runs a tight operation, so when her daughter defies her "one heart a year" rule, she punishes her by taking her voice and giving her legs, challenging her to bring the Prince's heart without her powers. Lira is known as the Princes Bane; she kills only Princes and has a fearsome reputation.

Elian is a Prince who doesn't want to stay on land; he wants to be at sea hunting the Sirens who plague the seas and bring his friends to their watery deaths.

To Kill a Kingdom tells the story of what happens when these two meet. It is written in dual perspectives in alternating chapters. Both voices are very distinctive and their stories compelling.

Lira is determined to prove herself to the Sea Queen as a worthy successor, but is also having doubts about whether she wants to rule the way her mother has. She talks of her mother's tyranny towards those she has cared about and questions the way she herself has thought:

"thinking it would prove something to my kingdom. But what? That I'm the same as her, valuing death and savagery over mercy? That I'll betray anyone, even those who are loyal to me?"

Lira's story, her fears and doubts kept me on the edge of my seat (quite literally at some points as I was reading this on a train). Not all of Elian's crew trust her, and I was never quite sure that I did either. All the time she is helping Elian to search for the second eye of Keto, the stone that will give the wielder control over all the sea people, I wondered what her motives were. Who is she hunting it for? And when she has the chance to rip out her Prince's heart, will she take it?

If you like dark stories, stabby mermaids and conflicted characters, you will love this book.

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To Kill a Kingdom is one of the most thrilling and exciting reads in the YA Fantasy genre that I have read in a very long time. It took me on an adventure I didn't know I wanted to go on, and it gave me characters I didn't know I needed in my life. I didn't think I'd enjoy this book since pirates and sirens have never really interested me before, but I was hooked to this story from start to finish, and I came out of reading it not yet wanting to leave this world; it was BRILLIANT! Truly a one-of-a-kind story that everyone needs to read if you love action and adventure taking place both on and in the sea.

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Why did I pick it?
Firstly I love mermaids, I’m even openly mocked in my office for the sheer amount of mermaid paraphernalia I own. Now I know this technically isn’t about mermaids, it’s about sirens, it did however seem like a pretty cool twist on a story I knew and loved.

What I loved about it
This book was very different from anything I’ve read recently. Lira is a true anti-hero that you just can’t help rooting for throughout the story. I’m a sucker for a flawed main character, especially one this bad ass.

The fact that Lira must capture the princes heart, as in literally take it, in all it’s gory greatness, was fun and did make me giggle. Alexandra’s humour is clearly as twisted as my own!

Some of the secondary characters really stood out for me, especially some of the female characters. The book is jam packed with sassy and strong female characters that I really wish we had chance to know them better, but alas this is a stand alone story.

What I loathed about it
The story is incredible, I can’t help but love it. The only issue I had was sometimes, when the dialogue got going, especially the quick fire quips between Lira and Elian, I really struggled to tell who was speaking. Sometimes I had to stop and reread sections just to work it out, which when you are in a flow and enjoying the put downs was a little distracting.

Although not technically a comedy, well clearly not, it’s pretty dark, what with the heart stealing and all. If you have a dark sense of humour like me you may find yourself giggling along in places which I’ll be honest and say was unexpected. I can’t wait to see what Alexandra delivers next!

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Growing up my favorite Disney movie by far was The Little Mermaid. Then I got my hands on the original Andersen fairytale and I was even more in love with the story and the myth of mermaids. After vampires and werewolves, mermaids are my favorite mythical creatures, so whenever a novel that has at its center these magnificent creatures, I get excited and slightly scared because I have high expectations. I can't describe how high my expectations were when I started reading this book, but let me tell you this book managed to exceed them very very easily.

To Kill A Kingdom is basically a Little Mermaid retelling, a combination of both the animated movie and the original fairytale that I really loved, with a lot of darker tones than I thought possible. The mythology of the world created by Christo is very unique and fresh to me, and I really enjoyed discovering it.

To Kill A Kingdom is about Lira and Elian, two unlikely heroes in their own way, on their quest to end the war between humans and sirens. Lira, also known as the Princes' Bane, is a morally ambiguous siren, punished by her mother, the Sea Queen, to live as a human. I didn't know what to make of Lira at first. She goes from being a feared prince-hunter to weak human to worthy heroine as the story progresses and I really loved they way she grew with the plot. I was certain she was going to be a villain until the end, but I'm glad she wasn't. She definitely surprised me in a good way. She had the street-smarts that Ariel lacked, and I loved Lira because of it. She was very strong, very resourceful, very snarky and very unintentionally funny. She amused me a lot and I'm sure she wasn't even trying to be funny most of the time but I did find her funny. Then as the story goes on and her backstory is revealed and she herself remembers it, I discovered this new layer about her and this new side of her that I didn't expect. Lira herself is reminded about that side of hers only after her mother decides to punish her, so it's kind of ironic in a way, that her punishment served to help her discover her humanity, instead of getting rid of it like her mother was hoping.

Elian is definitely my favorite YA hero so far. He is the firstborn son of a king, which means that he is the first in line to become king, yet he doesn't want to be one. I think if he could have it his way, he wouldn't even be a prince. He definitely loves being a pirate and a siren killer a lot more than he likes being a prince. This dichotomy is seen all throughout the book, because there are situations in which his royal status comes in handy in getting him and his crew in and out of certain places and situations. But despite that, the members of his crew treat him like an equal and they are loyal to him because of what he does for them and because he protects and loves each and every one of them, not because he has status over them. He doesn't flaunt the fact that he comes from a royal family and I loved that about him. In fact on more than one occasion he tries to make everyone forget that he is royalty.

Aside from sirens, mermaids and magic, there's a really interesting theme of ones true identity in this book. There's Lira, with her questioning whether she's evil or good, there's Elian struggling between his royal status and his desire to be a pirate and be free of the confines and limitations that living on land has, and there's also the age-old good vs evil battle. I liked that about the book, and I welcomed every instance in which the identity of the players was put to question or was explored.

The plot is pretty evenly paced, and there's no such thing as insta-love in this book, which made me very very happy. The story is told from both Elian and Lira's POVs, so we get to see the story unfolding from both the siren-hunter and the prince-killer perspectives. I enjoyed that a lot. I was also surprised by how well this book works as a standalone. I wasn't expecting that, but there's so much detail, so much depth, so much complexity in this one book, that it is almost more detailed and more powerful than a trilogy or a duology or a series. I wouldn't be myself if I didn't say that I wanted a sequel. Maybe not with Lira and Elian at the center, maybe they could be secondary characters, and I definitely have a few ideas on who might be the main characters for a sequel, so I'll keep wishing and crossing my fingers that a sequel will be a thing.

All in all, I definitely enjoyed this book and I fell in love with Christo's writing style. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves fantasy and mermaids.

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o Kill a Kingdom is so good that I made a stranger I had known for one day buy it and get it signed by Alexandra Christo at YALC. I am not even kidding. I loved it so much. It’s a super dark retelling that has sirens, and mermaids and mermen. It has the sea queen who’s all tentacled up. Plus a prince pirate who’s just as bad-ass as the siren who’s story is being told.

The book instantly gripped me from the opening as it explains the differences between mermaids and sirens. Those beautiful creatures you think you know are actually sirens and are deadly. The mermaids on the other hand are ugly decaying things that are also quite deadly. This is a tale used to make you beware the waters.

Throughout the book we venture both above and below the waterline, and visit many kingdoms along the way. Each place has it’s own culture, personality and descriptions. All of which are wonderfully written and pull you straight into this universe. There is backstories and histories for each place, which are interwoven to the story perfectly. Plus there’s always a sense of wonder as you’re visiting these new places.

Literally the only negative I could possibly think of was that Lira was sometimes overdramatic and annoying. But because all of the characters are written so well it’s pulled off and was not off-putting at all. Each character has their very own distinct personality, plus a whole load of backstory. This includes the supporting characters and not just the main ones as well which is always a bonus.

+ Wonderful opening

+ Great characters

+ World Building

– Overdramatic Lira

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I have only really recently started reading fantasy books and I quite enjoyed reading this one. Loved the plot and the characters and the world the author has created is great...

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With so much hype around this book I was so happy when netgalley and the publisher granted my request for an arc!

My first thought after finishing this is "why is this a standalone" I need more from this world and characters and would pick up anything else the author published in it.

This is a take on the little mermaid but much darker and with a few added twists that keep you reading until the last page.

Lira is the kind of character I live for, a strong and brave female lead who overcomes being emotionally and physically abused by her mother. She is such a great character and you bond with her easily which makes you more invested in her outcome.

Overall a great read I would highly recommend!

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'You can't win a war... someone else just loses '

Genuinely, this may be the best fantasy debut I've ever read? I don't think I could have loved it more.

Everything about this is brilliant, the plot is constantly moving and interesting, the two POVs are excellent (I love them both so much), the writing style is brilliant, it's funny, it has a genuinely believable hate to love romance (I usually hate this trope so much so for me to love it says a lot) and the banter between all of the characters is right up my street.

I would die for Lira and Elian. I adore both of them independently and together. They're both well woven, complex characters. I loved their narration and their banter. Their relationship really blossoms through this and it's a lovely thing to see, especially in fantasy where romance is often intensely cheesy.

The Sea Queen is a brilliant villain, she's sinister and awful without falling into the trap of just being evil. She does horrendous things and totally misunderstands her daughter along with the world in general.

What an absolutely amazing debut, I only wish my stupid slump hadn't stopped me getting to it sooner/reading it faster after I started.

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This is the retelling of The Little Mermaid that we needed. I loved it from the start. Lira was the best siren that I've ever seen. I loved how much of a monster she was. It made sure that you knew how different it would be from the original story right from the very beginning.

I also liked watching Lira change. The way she became more human the more time she spent with the crew. For someone that is so feral to begin with, I found it fascinating to watch. I loved Elian and his crew as well. They were exactly what I always want from books of this kind. I loved their humour. I loved their camaraderie.

Though maybe a tiny bit predictable in regards to the romance, it really was a lovely fresh take on The Little Mermaid and a story that I have been needing in my life for so long.

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As soon as I read the first chapter I had my fingers crossed that this was going to be good, I needed it to be good after reading so many mediocre 3 star reads these past few months and I wasn’t disappointed, this book delivered and was so good, one of my favourite books of 2018 currently.

Lira is our MC who is a Siren, she is the daughter of the sea queen and Lira is amazing she is brutal, fierce and strong and I just loved her. Elian is the second main character and I absolutely loved him as well. I mean come on, a Siren killer and a Siren??? I was here for that romance, yes it was everything, I love hate to love relationships as well and this is a perfect example of that so I was in my element 😊

“Night quilts the sky with stars sewn like the uneven stitching of my jacket.”

The banter between the two was hilarious, and I loved the chemistry between the two of them, there was no insta love and the romance was written really well towards the end, I was 100% okay with the relationship it was everything I wanted.

The secondary characters are amazing, Elian’s crew are all amazing and the sea queen is such a good villain, I mean she is pretty terrifying when she wants to be and I did look forward to scenes that she was in to see what brutally evil thing she was going to do next.

“And the ocean, calling out to us both. A song of freedom and longing.”

This book had fantastic world building, the cultures and the world of the sirens blending together so well and I could easily imagine the world in my head as we followed the characters on their journey, it had great pacing and I found myself having to read it slowly as I didn’t want this book to end!

I haven’t read a book about siren’s before but the plot in this book is amazing, I can’t fangirl about this book enough, it was amazing and I highly recommend you pick this up if you haven’t already, it’s a stand alone as well which I love as there aren’t many YA fantasy stand alones 😊

thank you to netgalley and the publisher for an arc

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Alexandra Christo’s writing is wonderfully immersive. She describes settings and people and creatures in such vibrant ways that it is really easy to imagine what these places and people look like. She is also good at getting the emotion across. Part of the story involves the main character, Lira, growing into who she really is rather than the person she has been perceived to be, even by herself, and you could really see those moments of indecision and realisation as the book went on.

Christo wrote the book from two points of the view – our siren, Lira, and our prince, Elian. The point of view shifts wasn’t obvious at first since there was no indication before the chapter started nor was there any pattern to it, so you mostly noticed shifts through setting changes, but as the book continued on, the distinct voices of these characters became stronger and telling them apart was a lot easier.

The two points of view really worked in this book as both characters come from two drastically different backgrounds, both having to come to different realisations, that if it had only focused on the mind of one character over the other the story would have been a lot weaker.

The character of Lira was strong, brutal and downright badass at times. Her character development across the book was great as she overcame her prejudices and what she thought she always wanted. It felt real and genuine and in terms of stepping out from her mother’s oppressing shadow, she was quite relatable.

I loved Elian character. Maybe it’s the idea of the pirate prince but his personal conflicts were so interesting to read about. There was so much he had to deal with on a personal level in the course of this book that it just made me want things to work out for him, as a pirate, as a prince, as Lira’s future consort. I would definitely want another book just based on Elian’s exploits as a pirate, both before the events of the book and after – especially because this would mean I get to read even more about Kye and Madrid.

As for the relationship between Lira and Elian, it has what every relationship needs – chemistry. They fit so well together in terms of experiences, wants for themselves and having to deal with the weight of other people’s expectations. Their banter was sarcastic and humorous. Neither bowed to the other because they cared about each other, they were aware of their own strengths as well as each other, which is what made them strong enough to defeat the big, bad Siren Queen.

Downfalls of the book are limited – I can only think of two. The fight scene towards the end of the book was quite drawn out, difficult to pinpoint in places, which meant the climactic scene was, at times, layered with confusion. There was also a limited amount of world building in comparison to the amount of history that the story actually hinted at. It was like just the brushing of a surface so you get just enough information, but the teasing hints just make you want to find out more and, since the foundation of a few plot points is this worldbuilding, it would have been nice to read, however, I am aware this could have slowed the book down drastically.

Overall, To Kill A Kingdom was a wildly entertaining book with fantastic characters. I want more of the world and more of the characters. I enjoyed Alexrando Christo’s writing style, and I can’t wait to read her future work!

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I really enjoyed this book so much. The writing, the characters, the settings and the world. So much about this book warms my heart and I can't believe this is the authors' debut. I am certainly looking forward to reading more from her.

Elias and the crew were a joy to read and maybe I would be love to know more about them. Regardless, a fantastic debut that I thoroughly enjoyed.

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Happy sighs. This is how a fairytale retelling should be done.

Regular readers might remember that last month I read (and was disappointed with) Leife Shallcross's The Beast's Heart, a Beauty and The Beast retelling that had very little novelty to it. In stark contrast to that novel, To Kill A Kingdom is barely a retelling. Instead, it's a mermaid story that evokes Disney's The Little Mermaid at specific points that allow the film to add depth to the book's narrative, rather than making the book seem thin by comparison.

I specify Disney's version, because there were moments that felt to me like they were deliberately drawing on specific scenes from the animated film: the Sea Queen in this book looks just like Ursula, with her dark tentacles, and there's a moment when she stirs up a storm that seemed to be drawn directly from the film, but the twist is that in this book, the Sea Queen is the mother of the protagonist (Lira). There's also a wonderful scene at the beginning of the book where Lira is leaning over Elian (the prince) on a beach, much like the scene in the film where Ariel has just saved Eric, but the twist is that Lira is trying to kill Elian, not save him. The parallels and contrasts were really enjoyable.

In fact, the writing throughout the book was very strong and allowed the author to create a rich world. The romance was particularly successful, and I believed the banter between the two protagonists 100%. It was excellent. It was also lovely to read a standalone YA, after reading several series debuts for which the second books aren't even out yet (frustration!).

The good:

I adored Lira. She was an excellent protagonist: strong and rebellious, whilst still being totally believable. I loved watching her struggle with her transformation from a physically powerful siren into a weak human girl. The author crafted her gradual adaptation very well.

The bad:

There were some slightly odd phrases that I found incongruous and clunky - words seemed to be used for their pretty phrasing rather than their meaning, and in some circumstances they didn't mean what I think the author wanted them to mean.

Also, if I'm going to be mythologically pedantic (and I am): sirens aren't mermaids. Sirens are half woman, half bird.

The ugly:

There were a few typos and formatting errors in my advance review copy, but this was an ARC, so those errors should be corrected before publication (I hope!).

I also found the point-of-view changes from chapter to chapter very difficult to follow (they are not reliably sequenced), and was sometimes two paragraphs in before I realised which character was speaking. I mention this here because I suspect this problem may have been solved in the final version of the book by giving the chapters appropriate character name headings.

The quote:

" 'Just so you know,' I say to Lira, 'if you're lying, I might kill you.'
Lira tips her chin up, eyes defiant and too blue for me to look at her straight. At first I'm not sure if she's going to say anything back, but then she licks her lips and I know it's because she can taste the sweetness of whatever insult she's about to throw.
'Maybe,' she says as the light whimpers against her skin, 'I might just kill you first.'"

The Gin Book Club received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley.

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To Kill a Kingdom is the story of a siren princess who collects royal hearts, and a human prince who sails the seas hunting sirens. Each other’s worst enemy, they are determined to hunt and kill one another. Transformed into a human, Lira finds herself aboard Prince Elian’s pirate ship, her true identity a secret. Loyalties and prejudices are tested as they journey together in search of gem which could end the war between sirens and humans, each seeking the gem for themselves.
The story has a brutal beginning and it took a while to warm to the cold-hearted Lira, but as she spent more time around humans, her complexity was slowly revealed. I loved the chemistry between Lira and Elian, both strong characters faced with huge responsibilities, trying to fight for their place in the world. I also really enjoyed some of the secondary characters such as Elian’s loyal shipmates and royals from other kingdoms.
The world of the story is vividly created and interesting, containing human cities with strong identities. The mythology created around the sirens and their fellow underwater citizens, the mermaids, is very imaginative. I’ve always been fascinated by mermaids, and this story contained a fresh take on underwater beings, with vibrant descriptions of these captivating creatures.
I thought the book was well-paced with plenty of action. The story is told from the alternating first person narration of Lira and Elian. Because it wasn’t always one chapter per narrator, this was occasionally confusing and sometimes took me a few sentences to establish which character was the narrator. However, the two viewpoints was a great way to tell the story of these two contrasting characters.
I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys fantasy stories full of love, betrayal and adventure.

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I received the eArc of this book a couple of days before it released and started reading right the moment I got it. The first couple of chapter were so amazing that I decided I put down this book and get the final copy of the book when it's released. I'm so hooked up on this story I can't even tell, the world is amazing and I overall enjoy the whole concept of the book.

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To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo was an amazing standalone! The book had me reading well into the night, I just couldn't but it down. The story had so much action and a subtle love story. However, if you are a person who wants to read a romance novel, this is not the book for you. There are clear connections I could make to link it to My Little Mermaid but the novel was original enough to enjoy a totally new story. The story had great charcter development, especually for Lira, and the world ws very interesting. I one thing I found confusing was the differect chracter POVs. I had to read at least a paragrah to understbd who was speaking but other than that, an amazing book overall. Definatly going to buy a hard copy to have on my bookselves.
Also, a special thank you to the author/ publisher that allowed me to read an arc of this book.
Samira H

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(I received a copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review)

First of all I love this book cover and the actual story is just as good. This book followed two main characters, Lira and Elian. Lira is a siren and Elian is a prince who hunts sirens and we read from both of their perspectives as their worlds inevitably collide.

I was really impressed with this one. After hearing good things about this book I was interested to give it a read myself and straight away I was sucked into the story and read the whole thing in one sitting which I haven’t done in a while. Having been in a bit of a reading slump I was glad that this book was fast paced and well written making it a quick but enjoyable read.

I loved all of the characters in this world and am struggling to pick just one favourite as they are all so complex and well developed. I also liked the interaction between our two main characters who were both witty and unpredictable.

Overall I really enjoyed this book as everything from the characters to the writing and plot were all well done. My only complaint is that I felt the ending was a little rushed and a bit too convenient. This reads as a stand alone but I would definitely read a sequel if one came out and hope to read more from this author too.

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This book was nothing short of amazing the way the author put in so much detail and thought in to knitting this story together along with the characters backgrounds and personality's , every part of this book is breath taking I never been one for mermaid / pirate books but this one has changed that for me if your looking for a story built on myths and beauty / action/romance and everything you can hope for in a book then read this one you wont be disappointed

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This was such a nice surprise!

I was given an e-arc of this novel on Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review, and I'm pleasantly surprised that I absolutely loved this book! I'm surprised because, I'm not usually a fan of retellings, especially of fairy tales. 

A lot of what retellings do is make cute fairy tales more deadly, bloody, and violent. But what these retellings forget is that Disney films are already retellings, and most fairy tales are already pretty dark and brutal. So, while I haven't read The Little Mermaid or watched The Little Mermaid, I thought that might be an advantage. I had an idea of how the story goes, but it wouldn't be glaringly obvious if the story went in a different direction, because I don't know the original. 

But I feel like I should read the original tale because this was great!

I'm a lover of anti-heroines, we all know this, and since I've seen snippets of The Little Mermaid, I know Ariel is not the type of character that comes to mind when I think anti-heroine, but Lira is, for most of the book, a complete anti-heroine, and I love my bloodthirsty siren daughter. I loved the similarities between the lives of Lira and Elian and how they worked to defeat the evils of their own lives while still being morally grey characters. 

I loved the setting, both in the ocean and on land, especially each 'kingdom' and how creative each were. Some were clearly modelled of real societies, but there was one that valued love and affection and it looked like a giant Valentine's Day card - which was sometimes hard to picture, but I still enjoyed it! 

I'm also just so thankful that this wasn't instalove, or even just had passages that were jarring. Budding YA romances love to have sentences that clearly indicate feelings really obviously like 'we were arguing but I was staring at his big, burly muscles' when they barely each other! So I liked that this book wasn't solely built on two main characters falling in love, but still had room to make it more authentic.

To Kill A Kingdom is a standalone, which I was surprised about, but it still ended beautifully. I think if this isn't a standalone, then that might cause a few problems - this story definitely ended on the last page of this book.

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Book Description
Dark and romantic YA fantasy for fans of Sarah J Maas - about the siren with a taste for royal blood and the prince who has sworn to destroy her.

From the Inside Flap
Dark and romantic YA fantasy for fans of Sarah J Maas - about the siren with a taste for royal blood and the prince who has sworn to destroy her. 

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?

About the Author
Alexandra Christo decided to write books when she was four and her teacher told her she couldn't be a fairy. She has a BA in Creative Writing and works as a copywriter in London, both of which make her sound more grown up than she feels. When she's not busy making up stories, she can be found buying far too many cushions and organizing food crawls all over the city. 

Alexandra currently lives in Hertfordshire with an abundance of cacti (because they're the only plants she can keep alive).

I recieved a copy of this book from netgalley.

This was not what I expected of this story. As I don't usually read books that have mermaids in them (they just remind me of the little mermaid) Except in this book they're called Sirens (which is the first time I heard them being called that) and are murderous little mermaids who rip out peoples hearts.

There are two main characters in this book. Liren a princess mermaid (her mother the Queen is even more evil than her daughter. Liren only kills royalty mainly Princes and puts their hearts in a jar under her bed with her collection. 

Then there also is a Prince called Elian who is also a pirate (even though his parents don't like it) and enjoys killing sirens and he's really good at doing it. 

Liren has a disagreement with her mother (I'm writing it so I don't spoil it for anyone) the Queen then turns Liren into a human. She's been ordered to kill the prince as a human and without her siren powers it's going to be difficult.

Elian returns home to his parents and family. His parents want him to stay and do what royals duties (whatever that is 😂) but Elian only feels at home when he's out on the ocean chasing sirens.

The book is amazing I can't say that enough. The world building has been been written amazingly. Has a superb plot and the characters are brilliantly written. The author has done a fantastic job of writing this book. If you like Princes,Princesses,Sirens,Pirates,Fight scenes and the banter is brilliant. 

I literally can't write anymore as I will spoil the book. Please go and read it. Even check on netgalley and request it if it's still there.

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To Kill A Kingdom was on my list of most anticipated books of 2018 so when I was approved to read an early review copy I was over the moon (thank you BZ, you rock). I find it incredibly hard to believe that this is a debut, it really is that good! Touted as a retelling of The Little Mermaid, I knew then that this was something I had to read as I adore retellings and anything fairy tale esque.

The book is paced well, the characters have some depth and lots of likeable qualities to them, and Christo is a master worldbuilder even in this, her first published book. The story concept is sound and planned out in detail, right down to the slow burn of the romance, and the twists and turns in the plot. I cannot find the words to do justice to the beauty in her writing - I urge you to read it if you enjoy - fantastic settings, masterful storytelling ability, a fun read with dark undertones. This is definitely one of those titles that you appreciate more the less you know about it so with that in mind I will try and keep the important aspects under wraps.

I did know this was a standalone fantasy novel when I acquired it but I can't help but feel sad that this won't continue as a series. It definitely could carry on as from what I have heard from friends they also would have liked it to be extended.

I really loved this, everything comes together and works perfectly for me. I look forward to reading anything Alexandra Christo writes in the future, it can only get better and that is a crazy thought as this is amazing as it is.

I would like to thank Alexandra Christo, Bonnier Zaffre & NetGalley for the opportunity to read an ARC in exchange for an honest and impartial review.

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This book is actually incredible! I can't believe it's a debut!

The story was so fast paced and I had to pull myself away because it just kept getting so good and I had to pace myself. The characters were really likeable and I loved Lira's character arc. I loved the storyline and I just wish there was more! I could read about this world all day, the worldbuilding was great and I felt like it was really thought out and worked really well.

Easy 5*'s, I can't wait to see what else the author puts out, and tbh one of the best books I've read so far this year!

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A brutally fast-paced retelling of an alternative Little Mermaid featuring an ongoing war between humans and sirens. The world building is incredible and I loved reading about all the different backgrounds of not only the MCs and the crew but also the individual countries. The action never let up and each plot point was calculated with expert detail. I can;t wait to see what Alexandra writes next!

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Retellings of The Little Mermaid are far and few between, I have found, which is why I was so delighted to read this book and come out loving it! It felt like the most wonderful blend of Hans Anderson's original and the Disney animation, with a deliciously dark twist surrounding it.

First things first, our 'little mermaid' is actually a Siren in this book. A change I wasn't completely sold on at the outset, but quickly realised it was a fantastic idea on author Alexandra Christo's part. Lira is the daughter of the Sea Queen and next in line for the throne. Her mother has trained her to be deadly and ruthless, not just to humans, but to her own kind. (Killing Crestell, anyone??) The only person Lira lets herself feel anything bar hatred towards is her cousin Kahlia, who is the only living thing that resembles a friend.

But our story doesn't just focus on Lira, this book is split between her point of view and that of Elian, the prince. Part time prince really. Elian also has a renowned reputation for being a pirate, known as the Siren Killer. How awesome is that for a twist?!

A full review that includes some of thethings that I really and truly loved about this book can be found on my Goodreads page:

Many thanks to Hot Key Books and Netgalley for giving me a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

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A beautiful retelling written so wonderfully I was hooked the entire way through. I loved Lira and everything about the world of the sirens!

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This book was absolutely fantastic! Once I started reading it, I just couldn't put it back down again.

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I absolutely loved this book! If you like pirates, and sirens, (and mermaids) plus an action packed adventure then this is the book for you! Check out my full review using the link to my blog!

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Verdict: A killer little mermaid retelling.

Lira is a murderous siren known as the Prince's Bane, for each year she steals the heart of a promised ruler to add to her collection. Her horrid mother, the sea queen, enjoys tormenting her, and thinks that the mercy Lira shows her victims makes her unfit to rule the sea.

Prince Elian is a siren killer. He travels the seas with a band of misfits - similar to a pirate, minus the plunder, pillaging, and general illegal behaviour - but one day must return to rule Midas. He finds his impending duties suffocating, but when he hears whispers of a relic that could kill the sea queen herself, he barters his freedom away to find its location.

When Lira washes aboard Elian’s ship with legs instead of fins, the pair are thrown together in a quest to find the second eye of Keto, a powerful crystal strong enough to kill the sea queen.

So it’s a little mermaid with a dark twist, with the myth of Midas worked into Elian’s kingdom.

Everything about this book is simple yet strong, from the smooth yet beautiful prose, the small cast of well-fleshed characters, and the clear concept: find the eye of Keto, kill the sea queen. The overarching plot is fairly predictable as soon as the pieces are set up, but the journey is laced with surprises, and there’s plenty of action, romance, and magic to enjoy throughout.

The dual POV works well for this tale, because both characters are compelling to read about. Elian is heroic, charming, and good with a sword, a leader by example and someone who enjoys humour. Lira is a brilliant anti-hero, a murderer but not at heart. She plots the kill the prince to steal the crystal, and that keeps the tension throughout.

I did struggle to keep up with the logistics in the water action scenes. There’s more focus on the atmosphere of the action than the details, so I chose to go with the flow on this one.

Another weakness of the story is the promise of a anti-hero POV at the start which couldn’t be maintained throughout, or perhaps the timeline of the whole transition. Lira’s character arc and Elian’s ability to forgive are rushed - considering how fresh some of Lira’s kills were - but for the sake of an awesome story, the emotional journey has been accelerated. With the length and pace of the book, I think this sacrifice isn’t detrimental but it is noticeable.

On an editorial note, I would recommend adding the narrator's name to the beginning of each chapter. While the two main characters are very different, their narration style overlaps heavily. It seems like a simple addition that doesn't do any harm but could possibly do good.

Source: With thanks to the publishers via

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"Love and madness are two stars in the same sky. You cannot build a roof to keep out last year’s rain."
Alexandra Christo, To Kill a Kingdom

My Rating: 5 Stars
Genre : Fantasy ,Young Adult .
Published on : March 2018
My thoughts: I am a huge fan of Disney Retelling and to think that Little Mermaid retelling has been done so I had to grab the book. To kill A Kingdom is a fantastic retelling of the of the Disney Classics. I loved the book so much that I read it in a day. And I totally loved the characters ,story line, pacing and everything.
"In my heart, I’m as wild as the ocean that raised me."
Alexandra Christo, To Kill a Kingdom
Well to begin with, the plot corresponds a lot to the that of Little Mermaid. But of course with lots of twists and turn with belief in prophecies and adventure. This book is so much filled with adventure and pirates. The world is fantasy one with amazing characters. I loved the characters because they were so well written and endearing, especially Lira and Elian.
The characters if I talk about Lira, is a Siren who hunts a Prince on each of her Birthday. She is also referred as Princes' Bane and next In line to become Sea Queen . But by showing her humanity she was expelled from the kingdom and turned into a human by her mother ,Sea Queen and the condition to return is to bring Prince Elian's heart.
Lira is a brave ,bold character who listens to her heart in the book.
The pirate Prince Elian who hunts Sirens in the ocean is swoon worthy, benevolent, heroic and a really nice character. I totally loved loved his character . The brave adventurous Prince has taken my heart as well ;) . I loved the world also. There were so many different kingdoms, myths and legends present throughout the book and it was very fascinating.
The romance between them is the cherry on the Cake . OMG !!!
The adventure part of finding Second Eye of Keto is also very fun on aboard of the Ship Saad.
I totally loved the book and recommend it to everyone..
"How strange that instead of taking his heart, I'm hoping he takes mine."
Alexandra Christo, To Kill a Kingdom
I would definitely be keen to read more from the author, because I really loved this one and it managed to grip me in a way only really good books do.

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I was obsessed with The Little Mermaid as a child, we even have a picture of me dressed as Ariel sitting by my Grandma‘ s tropical fish tank when I was about six or seven. It will never see the light of day on the internet, but it’s a thing. As someone who has always been a weak swimmer and is afraid of large bodies of water, yet who is fascinated by the ocean and all that lives within, the idea of being able to swim, breathe and live beneath the waves was incredible to me. To Kill a Kingdom has all the appeal of my childhood mermaid dreams combined with the darkness and classic mythological roots I’ve come to enjoy in my books as an adult. Fairy tales are meant to be scary, and this one certainly lives up to that.

A sort of re-exploration of the classic Little Mermaid tale with a gothic twist, To Kill a Kingdom chooses instead of the traditionally ethereal mermaids to focus on a creature from ancient myths and sailor’s nightmares – the siren. Celebrating their birthday each year by luring a human into the ocean, ripping out their heart and burying it beneath the sand where they live, these creatures are far from the type who would sing about love and brush their hair with forks. If they sing, you’d better hope you can’t hear them or not only will you die, you’ll be glad to do it. There are also mermaids in this tale, but you won’t find them reclining on a warm rock in a bay and you certain won’t want to kiss them.

Known as the Prince’s Bane, Lira has taken the heart of a human prince for every year she has lived and soon will inherit the kingdom of the Keto from her tyrannical mother. Punished for her misdeeds with a pair of legs and a quest for revenge, she seeks the heart of the man she blames for her misfortune. Elian, prince of Midas, does not want to rule. A pirate at heart, he has gained himself a reputation as a siren killer on the open ocean and earned the trust of a loyal, and hilarious, crew of misfits. I loved how this book took inspiration from classic mythology, with the sirens being dangerous creatures whose goal is not love but pure, joyful murder and the land of Midas with its royal family whose blood is supposedly pure molten gold. As well as this, there seem to be a few loving nods to the Disney movie. The character who condemns Lira to a life of humanity on land has tentacles, and the characters that spark her idea to go after Prince Elian have eel-like tails. This may not have been intentional, but I like to think it was a nod to Ursula and her slimy henchmen.

Now you know I’m a fan of world building, and Christo does a superb job with this. The kingdoms of the novel are wonderfully unique and beautifully named. From the Kingdom of Keto far beneath the Diávolos Sea where lurks the Siren Queen, a fearsome sorceress whose power controls the oceans to the land of Eidýllio with its lonely monarch, unable to touch the skin of men without driving them mad with love, each kingdom is characterised through distinctive traits, customs and people. Midas, for example, is literally covered in gold which I can imagine isn’t great fun on sunny days. The book even introduces us a little to Psáriin, the language of the sirens, and I’m one of those nerds who loves a fictional language so this was a big plus for me. On top of this the description is stunning. Characters, races, locations, all are beautifully captured and easy to picture

There is a love story in this novel, as one might expect, but it is excellently done. I loved Lira and Elian, with their witty wordplay and exceptionally different world views, and I found myself actively rooting for them. The pacing of it was excellent, showing both the growth of the relationship between them and Lira’s shift from remorseless human-killer to someone genuinely sympathetic and changed. It was realistic, and not too rushed, and readers experienced alongside her the jarring gap between what she discovers to be right and what she must do to save herself and others. Thematically, To Kill a Kingdom deals heavily with the difference between tyranny and loyalty that is earned, and not demanded. Slavery and freedom of various types and forms litter the book, from the slavers who literally kidnap children and train them to be killers to the Siren Queen’s magical hold on those in her kingdom whose lives hang in the balance at the slightest of mistakes. For some, freedom is the ability to choose who to be and where to go, for others it is the literal escape from shackles and it can even be found in political marriages of convenience if you look closely enough. (One of these is between two women, which is not only normalised but makes total sense for both involved, it’s awesome).

Overall I thought this book was superb, and I desperately wanted more of it. Christo is definitely an author I’ll look out for in future, and I’ll almost certainly reread the book at some stage. If you’re a fan of mythology, mermaids and fantasy this is a recommendation from me: read To Kill a Kingdom, you won’t regret it.

A copy of To Kill a Kingdom was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review

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Okay wow, just wow. Where do I begin!

To kill a kingdom is a slight retelling of the little mermaid, I say slight retelling because while you can see all the nods to the little mermaid in it this was just so much more fantastic and adventurous! I never knew how much I wanted a dark and adventurous retelling of The Little Mermaid until now! I cannot wait to see what other treasures Alexandra Christo has in store for us!

The story follows two different POVs, Princess Lira's - a siren known as the ruthless Princess Bane who rips out the heart of only princes and Prince Elian - A Pirate Prince who along with his crew sails the seas aboard his ship the saad hunting sirens.

This is definitely a book that I wasn't expecting! It is such a fantastic addition to the YA fantasy genre with huge amounts of pirates and swashbuckling adventure, it's also bursting with an array of characters that you just have to root for also the character growth in this is just so fantastic and spellbinding to read/watch.

This book for me was a perfect reading adventure, full of peril, hard choices and a slow burning romance. A book I would highly recommend!

Thank you kindly to the publishers for a review copy via netgalley in exchange for an honest review

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To Kill A Kingdom has made its way into the book blogging community a couple months before its release and has known a LOT of hype, too. A loose retelling of the Little Mermaid, a hate-to-love relationship… I had to say, this had already tons of points to win my heart, but to be honest, I didn’t expect to love it this much? I’m not sure why I felt that way, but boy, I’m glad I did love this.


Right from the first pages, To Kill A Kingdom takes you into an incredibly vivid, dark and crazy-well built world. This is a retelling of The Little Mermaid, but there is so much more to it than that. First of all, it’s a loose retelling. Second of all, it has sirens, pirates, mermen, mermaids and so on. Third of all, and what probably impressed me most of it all: the world-building is actually so lush and colorful outside of the ocean and I absolutely loved it. Every place we visited on the characters’ journey was detailed, without taking over the narration or boring us ever, painted with beautiful, gold colors and making us get a taste of the food cooking on market stands. I loved the thought that went into world-building, making this book really stand out and alive.


Yet, aside from the world-building, the characters were also bursting with life and making me have all the emotions. Unapologetic, bold, incredibly fun and unique, I absolutely LOVED Lira’s character. She was strong, yet flawed and if, at the beginning, she was fierce and quite mean, I loved seeing her grow, change, get in touch with her feelings and humanity overall and I absolutely loved her evolution. Our prince / pirate (okay, sailor, that’s for you, Kat) Elian, was quite great as well and I just loved every single interaction our two main characters had.
Yes, this is an enemy-to-lovers kind of story (and this is not a spoiler, I mean, you can guess this right from the start). The relationship felt well-handled as I felt the characters’ feelings change as they got to know each other, let down their barriers and everything else. I HAD FEELINGS about them, okay. Basically that’s it.
The side characters were also quite amazing – I really appreciated the crew and how we managed to get to know glimpses of their past through the narration and how they joined Elian on his adventure. Kye was adorable okay he was my favorite.


To Kill a Kingdom was a fast-paced, want-to-devour-it-all kind of story, really and I totally get why my buddy-reader couldn’t wait for me, sometimes. It was quite dark at times there were moments that made me gasp that I did not see coming and the writing was also very beautiful, compelling without being overly complicated. I just found that this book was sort of an addictive read.


With a beautiful world-building, A+ character interactions and development and amazing action scenes, To Kill A Kingdom certainly deserves all of the hype, if you ask me. I’m not putting the 5-stars entirely, because I remain a small bean and it was really dark , hearts-taken-out-of-chests moments and I am a marshmallow. But I’d heavily recommend it to anyone loving retellings, great world-buildings, hate-to-love relationships and just read the damn book already.

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Oh my days, I totally loved this book! I just finished reading it today and what a journey this novel has been! Perfect blend of characters, plot and good writing. It is one of the best retellings I've read lately! 

“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.”


Lira and Elian, the main characters of this story, both have a clear understanding of duty and what their roles within their respective kingdoms should look like, each chasing a goal regardless of how difficult it may be. I really loved them as individual characters and thought that their journey of discovery was really well fleshed out. I really enjoyed their banter and sparring, the tension between them felt natural, authentic. But is it all as black and white as they believe? How does truth really look like and what would that mean for them? 

The most notorious members of the Saab were a very fun and interesting bunch to hang out with. We get to know them well enough to like them and root for them, but not too much to overshadow the main characters or take away from the plot, so I really liked the balance in that. I thought that these characters were individualised enough to merit being mentioned with the main characters and all had strengths and weaknesses that added to the plot and to the main characters development! If there was something that I wanted explored more, was perhaps the Queen herself, however it is explained that once a siren becomes a Queen, things change, so I wasn't very bothered about that, really (don't wanna say to much and spoil things).


The story at it's core is a retelling of Little mermaid, but a lot darker and sinister. To be honest I do not remember much of the Little mermaid, just the fierceness of her hair and just an overall idea of the plot line, but absolutely loved the direction in which this story went and kept me guessing every step of the way. I had a general idea what would happen in the end, but I was totally in loved with the story and was at the edge of my seat. 

What I liked as well is that we get some political intrigue, as well as travelling to other kingdoms and meet other races and explore part of those worlds which I really found fascinating. The pacing as well was really well done, not too slow, not to fast... although the ending was sweet torture! I don't know how I managed to pace myself and read properly, and not rush to the end!


The writing was really good, especially the dialogue between the characters. There was a lot of banter and messing around which went well in hand with the pirate mood (if there is such a thing!) of the story. I thought the descriptions of the other kingdoms were very creative and interesting, painting a lush enough atmosphere without slowing down the plot. I would love more stories set out in these worlds actually! I also really liked that the sirens although they were beautiful, they were also terrifying and powerful creatures not only by virtue of their song, but also their strength. The mermaids and meremen were an interesting addition to the story and I found fascinating their differences as I would normally don't see any difference between the sirens and mermaids. 

This is about the writing, there are little gems scattered throughout the story that elevate it to another level and show different layers of the characters and plot. 


I really loved this story! Totally enjoyed it and I would recommend it! This book will go high up on my list of favourite ones!

What I enjoyed the most, was how this story made me feel! I wanted to be there, on a ship navigating the seas, wanting to throw myself into the sea and feel the coolness of the weaves on my skin. The seas did feel alive when reading this!

Happy Reading


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This book is so good! It is about Lira a siren princess, who literally has ripped the hearts from princes chest. When she disobeys her mother, the Sea Queen punishes Lira by turning her into a human. Floating out on the sea with her new pair of legs, Lira is picked up by Prince Elian's ship and the story unfolds. The writing was great and the characters were also amazing with a very slow burn romance. Overall I would highly recommend.

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To Kill a Kingdom Flooded My Senses

*Received this book off Netgalley in exchange for an honest review- but the gushing you’re about to see is all me*

Like a lot of my ARC reviews at the moment, this is a little overdue- but there’s a good reason for it! Namely, I’m floundering about, struggling to find the words for how good this was. Because how on earth do you fully express your love for books that truly capture your heart?

I knew from the first line that I was falling under its spell. From the opening, I was sucked in to the evocative world under the sea Christo had created. Vividly depicted and with a striking tone, I realised straightaway that this was my kind of book. The writing was a showstopper from the start, making me chuckle darkly all the way through and catch my breath at every gorgeous turn of phrase.

Above all, the characterisation was struck through the powerful voices of the two leads. They gripped me, like sirens, dragging me down into the depths. I adored both of the main characters and soon recognised the brilliance of the dual perspectives. Lira was clever and deadly; Prince Elian, for all his sharp edges, was a sweetheart. Their back and forth banter blew me away and I nearly keeled over from how adorable their budding relationship was.

As a retelling of the Little Mermaid (incidentally one of my faves by my favourite fairy tale writer) I had both high expectations for this and also hoped for little more than a fun romp… this completely blasted those presuppositions out of the water. The plot was so much more twisted and surprising than I ever would have thought. It had a wicked premise, was all the more romantic and the evil sea witch was, well, PURE EVIL. Plus it had more pirates (yay pirates!)

pirate orangutan

One last way this slayed me was with its mesmerising world building. Both above and below the surface, it was detailed and intricately drawn. I don’t normally find asides interesting, but here they were fascinating. All the snippets of information had me hungering for more. I also appreciated the storytelling theme, like the hidden nuggets pointing to the Midas myth and the textured references to the original story. I especially liked the underlying musical theme, which reminded me of the Disney version. Obviously, this was thanks to the very tight, magnificent writing.

Rating: 5/5 bananas

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*arc received in exchange for a free review*

I loved this re-telling. It kept me guessing until the end and I loved it. The sarcasm, the witty banter and all the characters and their growth. Do yourself a favour and read it!!

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Another late nighter. This was one I really wanted to read and I was psyched when I got it. Nothing starts a story off better than I collect hearts. A vicious siren and a prince who prefers being a pirate. For me this story had everything and I was hooked from the start (probably going to be sleeping at my desk tomorrow).

I adored both Lira and Elian, the dynamics of their relationship had me grinning from ear to ear, it was just so fluid, you could picture them flirting in a kiss or kill way. The support characters Kye and his partner complimented them so well.

From beginning to end the story stayed strong. Last laugh would be at the beginning of the acknowledgments. I’m a little upset it’s over and will definitely buy the book to read again. Well worth the read.

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A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

★★★★★ 4.5/5

I don’t know where to start, from how this is a book I’ve been waiting absolutely forever for and didn’t realise it, to how it did not for one second let me down?

Lira is a siren and the Sea Queen’s daughter, raised to be a ruthless and cold killer, given the name Prince’s Bane for the hearts of the human prince’s she takes, she wants nothing more than to please her mother.

Prince Elian of Midasan wants nothing more than to travel the seas and kill sirens, known as the Siren Hunter, ridding the seas of the monsters is what calls to him, rather than taking the throne waiting for him back home.

When Lira disobeys her mother and is turned into a human by her as a cruel punishment, Lira has to bring back Elian’s heart or face her mother’s wrath. Knowing what she must do and finding a way to do it, Lira must hide who she truly is and gain Elian and his crew’s trust, using their new adventure to her gain and discovering more about the humans she despises.

The Little Mermaid was always my favourite (alongside Cinderella) as a kid, and to read a well done retelling, you have no idea how loud I squealed. It had everything. A siren who was ruthless, a prince who refused to settle, a crew who were loyal and believed in their captain, and a good storyline that didn’t drag. What more could you ask for?

Definitely one for my favourites shelf, and one I bought so I have a physical copy because I loved it so much. This is definitely a favourite of 2018 and no doubt it’ll remain securely in my top five by the end of the year.

Did I like the book? Yes

Did I love it? Yes

Would I recommend it? Yes! If sirens, pirates, betrayal and good old retellings are your favourite, read it.

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If you know me, you would know that I am an absolute sucker for Fairy tale retellings.

This wonderful book is the retelling of the little mermaid, but instead of mermaids, our main girl is a Siren. I really enjoyed reading this book and I am very glad it is not following that dreadful trilogy trend

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Sort of a backwards Little Mermaid, but our protagonist is a siren, more villain than hero and want's to take the prince's heart literally, cause humans are prey. With a prince that's a pirate, a "mermaid" that's a killer and a relentlessly evil "Ursula", it is deliciously dark and beyond inventive. A love story? No, this is a hate (?) story.

With the POVs of characters destined to be enemies, I really enjoy it when they are the kind you are not "supposed" to root for, but you do. I think the story makes it difficult to pick just one side. Also the antagonism between the charming, brave Elian, and the spiteful and still deadly as a human Lira, is fun. Each POV is equally alluring, each protagonist's will seemingly unbending, but end up more malleable & unpredictable than anticipated. Especially in a situation that seems to have turned impossible.

The writing is best described by a phrase from the book:"Zaps like lightning that shoots through my veins" Embracing a lyrical feel as it instigates danger, adventure & so many twists, that you just can't put it down.

Being Greek, I smiled with the cunning use of words from my language as countries, the siren language Psariin etc.

A tale that reminds you to be true to yourself, even if what that truth is may surprise you!

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Prince Elian is a warrior, a pirate who feels more at home at sea than in the r