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To Kill a Kingdom Hardcover – March 6, 2018
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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"Arrogant and often merciless, Lira and Elian are not totally likable, especially in their careless disregard for life, human or otherwise, but there’s an appealing prickliness to their confidence, magnified by their quippy dialogue. As narrators, Lira and Elian have distinct voices, but for all their swagger, both characters are struggling under the expectations of their parents and in their role in war that started long before they were even born. The world building is deft, and the spectacular ending is a happy one for Lira and Elian, but it will leave readers blissfully wanting more."―The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"With well-crafted fight scenes and vivid descriptions, Christo has created a world of beauty and monstrosity that will draw readers in."―Publishers Weekly
"Stellar world building and nonstop action will keep readers hooked on this twisted reimagining of “The Little Mermaid."―Booklist Online
"Fantasy fans will like the idea of sirens and piratelike princes as the characters who are imaginative and well developed."―School Library Journal
"Readers who enjoy dark fairy tales of The Little Mermaid persuasion will sink into this bloody tale with pleasure."--RT Book Reviews
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). To Kill a Kingdom is her first novel.
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And I can safely say that there is no better feeling than picking up an ARC that is not exceptionally hyped, and that you’re not expecting anything from really, and you come out absolutely loving it. This was perfection and one of the best reading experiences I’ve had all year. I can’t wait for you all to love this book, too, come March 6th.
“I have a heart for every year I’ve been alive.”
This is a magical standalone that surrounds two very different people that are both next in line for two very different crowns:
➽ Lira - AKA: Prince’s Bane, the most feared siren of all time. She has a collection of seventeen royal hearts. She is also the daughter of Sea Queen, who rules the sea kingdom, Diavolos. Yet, the Sea Queen is abusive, a manipulator, a tyrant, and not willing to relinquish her throne anytime soon for Lira.
➽ Elian - AKA: Siren Hunter. He is a royal prince, but also a cutthroat sea captain who sees the world on his ship, The Saad, with his crew. His family rules Midas, the city of gold, and they want nothing more than for him to give up his pirate life and to finally be king. Also, Elian and his entire family are brown-skinned.
“Two kingdoms that come with responsibilities we each have trouble bearing. Him, the shackles of being pinned to one land and one life. Me, trapped in the confines of my mother’s murderous legacy. And the ocean, calling out to us both. A song of freedom and longing.”
In this world, humans fear the sirens that lurk below the water. And under the ocean, sirens are forced to bring back a human heart during the month of their birth and present it for all to see. But our dear Lira has taken to only the hearts of royals. This story is very loosely inspired by The Little Mermaid, therefore, I’m sure you guys can somewhat guess how these two’s paths cross. But after Lira upsets her mother, the Sea Queen wants to find a new way to ridicule and humiliate her, so what better way than to force her to steal the most royal heart of all, but also forcing her to do this task as a human, and while no longer having her siren voice to lure humans towards her.
And what kind of prince in waiting would Elian be if he let this damsel in distress drown in the water? I mean, until he rescues Lira and realizes how much of a damsel in distress she really isn’t. You all, this was some of the best banter I’ve ever read in any book, ever. And you guys know that hate to love romance is the trope that I love more than any other. And this angst? Perfection. These two might honestly end up being my favorite partnership of 2018. From actually laughing out loud, to swooning, to crying, to everything I felt for these two, and all I want is more.
I was astounded by the worldbuilding and how seamlessly it was crafted and presented. Honestly, this entire story’s imagery was so impressive. The last battle was so visually breathtaking, I feel speechless. The last few chapters were perfection, and I feel so honored that I was able to even experience them. Me and Jules both were absolutely astonished by that last battle and how visually pleasing it was to the mind. I honestly could picture this being a movie immediately.
And this book tackles some pretty serious topics, too. We see parental/adult abuse, manipulation, and gaslighting in this book a lot. Kids only want to be loved, especially from their parents, and it takes a lot to realize that sometimes the people who are supposed to protect you and unconditionally love you just blatantly don’t.
“Love is a word we scarcely hear in the ocean. It exists only in my song and on lips of the princes I’ve killed. And I have never heard it from my mother’s mouth.”
And there is such an important and constant theme of how a new generation can change the world. Which is a message that everyone in The United States should be behind right now. As I’m typing this review, high school kids are changing our world, because the baby boomer generation that’s in office currently think it’s more important to protect assault rifles over innocent kid’s lives. Seriously, these teens, who this book is marketed for, won’t be teens for long. They will be voting, they will activists, and they will be changing the damn world for the better. Do you know how powerful it is for them to have books like this? With themes like this? Seriously, this was probably my favorite thing in this book where there was so much to easily love.
This story also beautiful emphasizes the importance of found families. Blood is nothing more than blood. The people who choose to unconditionally love you, support you, protect you, those people are your family. Madrid, Kye, Torik, Kahlia, I fell in love with all of the side characters. And this book beautifully depicts how important it is for you to choose who is worthy of your time and love.
“How strange that instead of taking his heart, I’m hoping he takes mine.”
Overall, this was honestly just a joy to read. The writing was lyrical and beautiful. The world building was fantastic and so impressive, especially for a standalone. The romance was absolutely perfect. Also, my Odyssey loving heart will read any and all books about sirens luring men to their death. I loved being on this adventure and journey alongside Lira and Elian. I absolutely cannot wait to see what Alexandra Christo does next, and this debut novel of hers is one of the best debut novels I’ve ever read.
Now the review!
I always like to come across a book that is not the normal-normal of the genre. You know what I mean. Automatically I am going to rate a book higher when the author takes a risk or challenge and chooses a subject matter that might not be rosy to begin with and well, Lira is a siren, who kills ruthlessly. I mean, who would choose a ruthless, otherworld monster as the heroine of a YA novel that needs a happy ending? Laughing. And it's not watered down or shallow. It's for real. This siren can kill you in a heartbeat. Well, no pun intended, but the girl does love her "hearts."
The hero, who is one of the best heroes I've read in YA in a long time, is Prince Elian, the pirate wannabe who is fated to kill sirens and does it so well. And as the title tells, he's not just out to kill a siren, he's out to To A Kingdom, the whole world of the Sea Queen and her brood.
There is a lot of beautiful writing in this book. Hundreds of lines that could be used for quotes and it's not just pretty language, it's philosophy. I love a particular scene leading toward the resolution of the book at Chapter 25 when Lira looks in the mirror and sees her human self, and in the reflection of the mirror stands Elian looking at her. There's a powerful subtext there. The characters in many ways are mirrors of each other. It's the moment where things change and the story and characters arc. It might seem like nothing but it's everything and I know it. From all these years of reading, I see THAT this is the moment for me as a reader, too, when I realize how much depth this book has.
If truth be told, the beginning was a little rough for this reader. These sirens are so ruthless, the world of the Sea Queen so dark and gothic and brutal, I thought, I might not like Lira, but then I loved her, as I had always loved Elian who is a hero to die for, not a bad boy, but a seriously good boy with a killer instinct.
Complex characters, edgy, who are really liminal beings that belong no where and so by duty and love, they fashion a world where they can live and be together. Lessons are learned, hearts are broken and mended. Sacrifices are made. It's messy and I loved it. All of it.
Highly recommended. Just read it, and watch these two characters talk to each other. That dialogue is a love story, itself.
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“I have a heart for every year I’ve been alive.Read more