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To Kill a Kingdom Hardcover – March 6, 2018
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From School Library Journal
"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
- Publisher : Feiwel & Friends (March 6, 2018)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 352 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1250112680
- ISBN-13 : 978-1250112682
- Reading age : 13 - 18 years
- Lexile measure : HL790L
- Grade level : 10 - 12
- Item Weight : 14.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.88 x 1.25 x 8.59 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #41,472 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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And I’m using the word VERY in every sentence cause I’m feeling -here it comes- very indignant.
Just very briefly I would like to say that the whole book felt like a shoujo manga. Anyone familiar with those Japanese comic books in that specific genre? Yes.
You know how in those shoujo mangas the lines and details on their faces are very vague and they somewhat all look the same? The background is drawn minimally or not drawn at all?
It felt the same with this book. Very immature. Very cartoonish. Very void plot wise.
The characters are all the same if anything, very bland, very normal, trying so hard emit any badassery that feels unnatural and extremely forced. The entire crew felt like something that came out of One Piece excluding any background/ real depth for us to care for them.
And all Elian (the male antagonist) does is keep on bragging on how powerful, amazing, free, close, yada yada yada they are but I see NONE of the described! And IF, by any chance, the dialogue among these “crew” members written in text is a sneak peek of their bond then, spare no more, I’m not interested at all.
And the author clearly has no idea what being a pirate means.
Or a royalty.
Or a siren.
Or a character with dimensions and being composed of layers and layers like an onion (see what I did there?)
Or any of the sort.
And why is Elian SO opposed to being a king? I don’t get it. There isn’t any valid reason except him being a spoiled brat. Why start a pirate line? Why? What happened that scarred him so bad for him to find sanctuary in such barbarous concept that is Pirates? (not applied on his “crew”). And HOW did it all start? When? W-w-w-w———
And why is Lira very submissive to her mother like that? Yes she’s awful, but why is her mother just awful? Is there no deeper dark scene of her being remotely fearful that Lira submits in such fright and blindly follows? I wanted a (very) gruesome scene not a trail of Little Mermaid’s Sebastian orchestra’s members being devoured by the tentacle lady as she summons her daughter.
Let’s not get into the writing... I mean, it had SOME phrases that felt nice. Some. But the metaphors were just crushing the fantasy.
“- It feels like silk. Maybe because it is silk.” ?????????????????????????
I mean, what are we supposed to conclude from that? That the character is stupid or that they have never felt or owned a silk cloth before?
And the banter between the two main characters? It made me weep. Legit tears. And my eyes rolled 360 degrees horizontally and vertically (don’t Algebratise/Physics me).
Bottom line: the actual problem of this book is that the content claims to be so many things, the characters label themselves as many things but there’re no evidence, no proof, no details, just statements, and statements, and oh, more repeated statements.
I used to love reading shoujo just to waste time when I’m heavily pressured. Fast forward- Being a mother that is highly stressed again; I thought I’d pick up a good YA book.
Guess I was wrong.
Overall? Not recommended.
P.S. I have no idea how to manipulate the fonts in italic and in bold.
Princess Lira is the MC of this story, and she is a siren. More specifically, she's the daughter of the Sea Queen. Her life has been brutal and she has spent her childhood gaining a reputation as a prince killer. When her mother turns her into a human, Lira is forced to live as one of them in order to get close enough to kill Prince Elian.
I loved both these characters so much! In fact, I loved them all. Lira is brutal and strong and amazing and I loved her. I also loved Prince Elian, who was completely not who Lira (or I) expected him to be. I adored the chemistry between these two characters and loved watching them not trusting each other. I love the enemies to lovers trope so much and, although it goes wrong so often, Alexandra Christo wrote it perfectly! Thankfully, no instalove in sight and the romance is written convincingly, even though you know what's going to happen from page one.
One of the things that makes To Kill a Kingdom so great is the incredible cast of secondary characters. The Sea Queen was honestly kind of terrifying in a way that not many villains achieve and I loved it every time the threat of her was near. I thought Elian's crew and Lira's cousin were all well fleshed out, important side characters and I loved them all!
The world building was also fantastic, blending multiple cultures and mythologies seamlessly. I felt like I could picture each new setting in my mind and, following the characters on their journey, I could almost imagine I was with them! The pacing is also great, not at all too slow. It was just enough to keep me interested with some totally crazy action thrown in here and there.
This brings me to the absolutely amazing plot of To Kill a Kingdom! Confession: I've never read a siren story that I really enjoyed. To Kill a Kingdom did sirens the right way. They are fierce and terrifying. I loved following Lira from that undersea world into one that was totally unfamiliar and watching her go from a girl on a murderous mission to one completely different was thrilling! There were real stakes and urgency and I feel like I'm started into fangirl territory.
To Kill a Kingdom was the biggest surprise I've had this year! I was surprised when it showed up in my mailbox and I was surprised when I absolutely loved it! Although I thought it had an absolutely perfect ending, I am a little sad that there won't be a part two. Alexandra Christo has definitely won a space on my autobuy authors list! Whether you're a fan of sirens and mermaids or not, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of this book!
Top reviews from other countries
I really wanted to love this because of all the hype surrounding it and I was so freaking excited about the fact that there would be Sirens in it. From the very first chapter I was hooked, I loved Lira straight away. Alexandra Christo created such an ominous tone in that opening chapter and I just wanted more and more. Lira was so menacing and just as beautifully calculating, and nonchalant as I've always felt Sirens would be. I wish we'd seen more of this, because it was stunning to read.
I don't want to dwell on that first chapter for ever, but I honestly think it's the best part of the whole book! I won't forget the excitement I felt reading it and so the disappointment that followed was even more devastating. Lira's chapters throughout the book were by far my favourite and so it's no surprise, that the book started to become less interesting to me with the introduction of Prince Elian's chapters. I just didn't care for them and found myself increasingly losing interest, but then Lira's chapter would follow and my faith would be restored.
It wasn't that the prince's chapters were badly written, I just didn't take to him as a character. He actually really annoyed me, which was a shock, as a character rarely annoys me to the point where I'm grudgingly reading their chapters. If I had to pinpoint why he bothered me so much, it would probably be his arrogance. I've never come across a character who was so arrogant, and provided me with no evidence as to why they should feel this way.
Elian repeatedly boasted about how deadly he was and how "It would be suicide" to go after his crew, but there was no reflection of this...like at all. Him and his crew barely fought throughout the whole book, there's a part where there's a fight but we don't get to know any proper details. The arrogance of the Prince I think was the most unforgiving aspect of this book and I believe that, for me at least, his character was this books downfall, because I really enjoyed Lira. Besides Lira there were other characters that I was fond of and desperately wanted more of. I would of liked to see more of the other royal families as they were very intriguing, especially the Pagos family, they were a definite highlight for me. Madrid, Torik and Kahlia were all characters that I would of been happy for more of.
One character I didn't appreciate at all was Kye, he was so irritating to me. I can't even write too much about him without getting annoyed. His dialogue seemed to only consist of saying how he's going to protect Elian and I just wanted to scream "I know" every time he did. I get loyalty and caring about someone, but that guy needed to chill out. The author was also so repetitive with making sure we knew just how 'loyal' Elian's crew is to him and it was exasperating, again "I know" echoed in the back of my mind. I'm not sure I even get why they're so loyal and ready to die for him...another issue with this 'crew' is that I don't think that they ever did anything very pirate like other than being on a ship.
Surprisingly the plot wasn't an issue for me, I think that it was quite clear throughout. But to aid the plot, some very obvious warning signs were ignored by one of the characters and it was quite funny...in a, I can't believe this way. It was a bit ridiculous to me that they couldn't figure out Lira's true identity. They note that she has trouble walking, is unusually cold, she speaks Siren language, has a siren necklace and she even says "I can't drown", not to mention that they've seen her up close before as a siren.
Even though others had issues with the romance in this book, I personally loved it and thought it was really fun to read. It was definitely something that kept me interested. Despite the plot staying on course, somehow nothing seemed to really happen and grab my attention until about 80% (my kindle told me) of the way through, which is obviously quite disappointing. I loved Lira's character, some of the minor characters, the romance and the first chapter, but overall this book was a big miss for me.
I don't usually read stand alone fantasy novels, because I think they are too rushed, the description of the mythical creature is poor, the history behind the plot is not explained cohesively etc. But, I was very surprised with this book. I really enjoyed the little history that was given- I'm not a fan of a complex, in depth history lesson when I'm reading. I like straight forward, black and white, minimal detailed history, because I don't think it's ever all relevant to the plot, and it is usually incredibly boring. The mermaids are described nicely and the plot was a steady pace. I do think it could have been slightly faster, but that does not affect my rating, because I didn't get bored whilst reading.
The characters are likeable, especially Lira. I loved her savage, fierce, witty personality. She is so independent. Her confidence level is through the roof and she has high- self esteem. She never once doubted her abilities and what she is capable of, which was very refreshing to read, because often times the male protagonist has to constantly reinforce to the female protagonist that she is good enough, moral enough, talented enough etc. Lira was her own best friend and I loved this. She is very cool, and I have never described a female protagonist using this adjective before.
Elijah is not as bad as some of the reviews make him out to be. His character is definitely not as developed as Lira, but he is very established and talented. He has a path, but there is a lot of uncertainty and fear in his life to branch out and ultimately become an outcast. I think to lift his spirits he acts cocky at times. I did not like his arrogance at all, I will admit but I do understand where it was coming from. Also, Lira always simmered him down- she balanced him out.
The plot was very easy and coherent to follow. It is a cute, simply story line, with a little depth. It was very refreshing for me, because I was used to very fast- paced, action- packed fantasy novels. Although, this book did have all this, it was much more controlled.
The imagery was great, until the last few chapters where everything was a blur in terms of setting and what was happening. I was very confused. The setting was horribly explained, the mermaids were poorly introduced and the events were shady. It was very weird to read. I didn't like this at all.
The love story between the two was convenient. I totally believe that they could be friends. They did admire one another, they were very sarcastic to each other and they bounced off each other's personality, but partners, absolutely not! I enjoyed reading their banter and I think that consistency was very grounding, and it kept me engaged. Their love story was very slow paced for the first 2/3rds of the book, which I loved. It was almost non- existent and then suddenly they were willing to die for each other- REALLY?!? This was very off putting. The author was doing such an incredible job of slowly introducing them to each other, setting the scene, but then only to conclude, she made them official. It was not believable and very unattractive, kind of gross as well. To be completely honest, I wanted them to be together throughout the book, but when they were I didn't like it. I just think they aren't compatible as partners.
On a more positive note, the title and book cover are gorgeous! It looks lovely on my book shelf.
Overall, I did really like the book at least the first 2/3rds of it. The last third was very rushed, blurry, poorly written, predictable and convenient. However, if you're after a cute, simply story line, one that you'll probably love in the moment and not think much about after, then this is the book for you!!
I did really enjoy it whilst reading.
The Sea Queen is vicious and has turned her daughter into a cruel killer. Lira is a dangerous murderer and princes are the ones who fear her the most, because she takes out and collects their hearts. Lira is almost ready to become the next queen, but when she disobeys her mother's orders the Sea Queen punishes her daughter in a terrible way. She turns Lira into a human and orders her daughter to kill prince Elian without her siren magic to fall back on. Prince Elian is planning a quest and it suits Lira's needs to join him. Will she be able to fulfill her mother's wishes, so she can return home and resume her old life or will Elian sense the danger Lira's presence puts him in before it's too late?
To Kill a Kingdom is an amazing magical story. Lira is dangerous and lethal, but she does have a conscience. She isn't as cold-hearted as her mother. However, she desperately want to please the Sea Queen and by becoming a ruthless killer she tries to avoid her mother's wrath as much as possible. The Sea Queen's punishments are harsh and severe, which is how Lira ends up on Elian's boat. Elian hunts her kind, so he's her archenemy. By being human she has the chance to get to know him and to find out more about the only person who can give her back her life as a siren. Elian lives for the water and his boat is his home. He's brave and daring and will do whatever it takes to complete his mission, making sure the sirens will stop killing his friends. I admired his courage and chivalry and was curious to see how that would influence Lira. Their connection fascinated me from the beginning and I couldn't turn the pages quickly enough to find out where their story would lead.
Alexandra Christo has an enchanting writing style. Her gorgeous descriptions of land and sea are making her story come to life in a terrific way. I loved the way she writes about magic and her worldbuilding skills are marvelous. To Kill a Kingdom is a gripping adventure filled with surprising twists and turns. There are many fabulous creatures and the combat scenes are fantastic. I really enjoyed reading To Kill a Kingdom, it's entertaining, mesmerizing and romantic.
The world building of To Kill a Kingdom is phenomenal. It is one which is so rich and extensive as it incorporates not only the Siren Kingdom and human kingdom but the different realms within each. There are numerous princes, sirens and mermaids all of which have different back-stories, languages and characteristics. With so much going on, I thought I might get lost but it wasn’t confusing at all. The focus of To Kill a Kingdom though is largely focused on three kingdoms in particular.
To Kill a Kingdom is also described by many as being retelling of The Little Mermaid and it definitely has similarities. The Sea Queen, Lira’s Mother for example reminded me of Ursula in many ways, they both are conniving and evil. Lira’s Mother is truly brutal in so many ways and Lira is put to a test by her mother which is somewhat similar to Ariel striking a deal with Ursula.
To Kill A Kingdom was a 5 star read for me. I adored every aspect of my reading experience including the beautiful cover of this wonderful story – something I had to throw a mention of into this review. In honesty I read this book not long from when it was released, it has been a few months and the story has not left me. Sadly it seems to be a standalone and it ended with it being so, but I would not be against seeing more from this duo in the future.