Alexandra Christo’s To Kill a Kingdom, brings many kingdoms of myth and legend crashing together in the pages of a fast-paced, and rather extraordinary, novel. Elian is the prince of the kingdom of Midas (yes, the one where everything is gold), while Lira is the heir apparent to the Sea Witch, destined to rule the oceans with an iron fist and taste for human blood. Elian is obsessed with hunting the Princes’ Bane, a siren who is infamous for killing his fellow princes…a siren who happens to be Lira.
Elian and Lira both desire in their hearts to be something more, and something less, than what they are. Elian does not want to be a prince, and finds his happiness living as a pirate on the high seas while hunting sirens. Meanwhile, at her core, Lira is not the ruthless killer her mother wants her to be, and as time goes on she has ever-increasing doubts about her mother’s brutality and the divide between the humans and sirens. It is Lira’s doubts and the flouting of her mother’s will that leads her to be stranded in human form in the middle of the ocean, with instructions to bring back Prince Elian’s heart.
As one might expect, Elian and Lira feel an inexplicable connection and romance begins to bubble just below the surface. And as Lira begins to wonder how she could bring herself to kill the prince, they are presented with a solution: a way to kill the sea witch. As they begin hunting the fabled eye of Keto together, Lira wrestles with her doubts about killing Elian, and her fear of her true nature being discovered begins to grow. Elian on the other hand, is singularly focused on exterminating the sirens and stealing a kiss from Lira.
To avoid any spoilers, I’ll wrap things up by recommending this book. The characters develop well across the storyline, and the various fantasy worlds are richly detailed and easy to imagine. Although there are many echoes of the classic tale of The Little Mermaid, the dark aspects of the story twist it into something totally new, and not all-together predictable. The climax of the story includes an epic battle scene, leading to an ending that is balm for the hearts of the happily-ever-after crowd. From fairy tales, to myth and legend, to the dark heart of evil, and the redeeming power of love, this book offers up a little something for everyone!