This Little Mermaid retelling blew me out of the water. It was everything I wanted and more mostly because it had none of the saccharine candy floss that the Disney tale we know has, and ALL of the ruthlessness and witty banter. It wove a spell around me because of its compelling characters and intrigue filled story.
Lira is the Siren Princess and she has been taking hearts for years now – seventeen to be precise. She is a legend, both above and below the surface of the ocean. Except one day, all of that is ripped away from her when she is punished by the Sea Queen and transformed into a human. Now she has to retrieve the heart of Prince Elian or she will remain a human forever.
Prince Elian is at home on the ocean where there is no pretense, no court, and only the rocking waves for company. He is a prince on land, but a siren hunter on the sea. But all of that is about to change when he rescues a stranded woman at sea who seems to hold the key to his greatest desires – to kill the Sea Queen. However, she’s not all that she seems and it’s possible her secrets may just destroy the both of them.
This is what I have been wanting from all my retellings. I loved that this had the bare bones of what we may have come to expect from The Little Mermaid except it was obliterated and replaced with something 100% better. It has more depth, more detail, and more fun! I’ll take all the ruthless sirens now please, thank you very much.
Christo expertly balances our sincere love for our characters with a plot that has secrets and intrigue. You cannot help but love the ways in which Elian and Lira mirror each other – they both have been pushed into costumes that hang off of them, like a child playing in a dress up box eager to please their parents. There’s a vulnerability to them, even as they are ruthless and as they attempt to stab you in the heart. I adored the edge to them as they protect their wounds, but also try to learn if they can be true to who they are and who they are meant to be.
(I also loved how ruthless Lira was as a human, I would have hated for her to lose her fire).
This, in and of itself, was absolutely wonderful to see their interplay, but then you have a thrilling story to add! The crew gives the entire book a new flavor, and if there’s a sequel I want more of them. But there’s a genuine sense of growth and of introspection. They struggle with this idea of who they are with the reality of their feelings and it provides a genuine joy to see it play out on the pages. Are we the product of our hearts or our upbringing?
I was in love with this book from the very beginning and it only grew as the book went on. To Kill a Kingdom is about the choices we make to try to be who we should be when we don’t know who we want to be. It’s about the conflict we have when are trying to end a war, as it wages on beneath our skin, and in our hearts.
You need To Kill a Kingdom and you can find it at Goodreads.
Are you team siren or mermaid? Because now I’m all about the sirens.
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