“You are a little heartless today, aren’t you?”
“Never,” I say. “There are seventeen under my bed.”
The sirens once had complete power over the world, but now they only rule the seas. Lira, known to the humans above as the Princes’ Bane for her history of ripping the hearts of young Princes from their chests, is the daughter of the Siren Queen, a ruthless and cruel ruler who is determined to turn her daughter into someone precisely as ruthless and cruel as she, feeling nothing more strongly than a fierce loyalty to her mother. Wanting to keep the throne for herself, however, it takes only the smallest sign of disobedience for the Siren Queen to completely punish her daughter. Prince Elian of Midas has spent a great deal of his life sailing the sea, avoiding his throne, and killing sirens. To kill the Princes’ bane has been one of his goals for quite some time now, but it is the death of a neighboring prince and his friend at the hands of this particular siren that alights in him an increased fervor to destroy not only her but the race of sirens altogether. And so, as Lira is punished to have legs instead of fins and lose her siren’s song and only to return after procuring the heart of the siren hunter, she is soon found floating in the water by Prince Elian who has set off to find the one thing that might allow her to usurp her mother.
One of the funny things about my experience with To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Cristo lies in the fact that I genuinely did not like the main characters at the beginning of the novel. But, to Christo’s credit, the writing of this story was exceedingly superb and enticed me to read ahead for a bit longer. And as the plot of the story thickened and I got to know both characters better, I found myself falling in love with what I can only now describe as the darkest little mermaid retelling I could ever have imagined. This book is filled with intriguing characters, one of the most impressive developments of friendship and more than I’ve seen in a while, and a deeply fun, witty, and fulfilling plot that I, personally, couldn’t get enough of.
In retrospect, I am genuinely annoyed at myself for not having read this book sooner.
Perhaps one of the most enjoyable facets of this novel is the fact that we spend much of it very aware of how much both Lira and Elian want to kill one another. Though Elian may not know that Lira is the Princes’ Bane, he certainly knows that he wants her dead. There is an undertone of foreboding throughout the entire book, but you slowly find yourself rooting for both characters, especially as they get to know each other and are hindered by regard and respect when times to fulfill their goals are presented. There’s intrigue and betrayal and a wonderfully exciting and anxiety filled battle peppered through the novel, leaving readers on the edge of their seat throughout much of it.
It’s one of the few books of late that I refused to put down and practically screamed in frustration whenever anyone interrupted me during my reading out of sheer need to know what happens next. If you’ve not opened up Cristo’s To Kill a Kingdom just yet, I would highly suggest that you drop whatever you are currently reading and replace it with this amazing book. Perhaps it will pick up immediately for you and perhaps it will take you a few chapters to fall in love, but there is no questioning that this novel is very deserving of the accolade, amazing.