To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
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.
Princess Lira is siren royalty and revered across the sea until she is cursed into humanity by the ruthless Sea Queen. Now Lira must deliver the heart of the infamous siren killer or remain a human forever.
Prince Elian is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world and captain to a deadly crew of siren hunters. When he rescues a drowning woman from the ocean, she promises to help him destroy sirenkind for good. But he has no way of knowing whether he can trust her …
Late to the party for this book, but it was an interesting one. The premise is technically a bit of The Little Mermaid (the original story rather than Disney version), with the fact that mermaids here also turn to foam when they die. But it is also its own thing and nothing like it.
I highly enjoyed the wordlbuilding, and this view of why the mermaids/sirens are evil was a refreshing take on the “sea witch”. The whole needing to take a heart on your birthday is super creepy but also quite interesting because it forces the sirens to be cruel and to loose that innocence quickly, your mother will only “hunt” hearts for you for so long and the sooner that you can get one, well, the better in this world.
On the other hand we have a human world full of politics and a prince that doesn’t want to be a prince but enjoys more being a kind of swashbuckler pirate that only goes against sirens.
Lira and Elian collide and it is interesting to see the shift between them as things happen to force them to make choices and actually think them through rather than just obey. The character growth on Lira was way better than Elian and I could have done without him at times.
My biggest complaint was that after the intense start, there’s a slow dragging middle of attempts at worldbuilding with a lot of “show” and little tell that was in part not necessary and I kept pondering if I should skip the book or not because I was just not into it. This in turn meant that the pace towards the ending felt more rushed and like it was all suddenly happening and why?
But despite that, I enjoyed it. It was an interesting take on sirens and mermaids and on what could be a different world.