To Kill a Kingdom is a Young Adult high fantasy novel by Alexandra Christo. It tells the stories of Elian, a reluctant prince and siren hunting pirate, and Lira, a prince hunting siren. Though they begin their journeys on opposing sides, they come together in search of a weapon capable of destroying Lira’s mother, the siren queen.
To Kill a Kingdom is told from dual first person perspectives. The narrators are the two protagonists, Lira and Elian. This style helped to highlight the similarities between Elian and Lira, but overall felt somewhat unnecessary to me. The story belongs to both of them, but I would have preferred to have Lira as the sole narrator, as her voice was far more compelling.
Lira and Elian are both intriguing protagonists. Between the two Lira displays the most personal growth. I appreciated how on the surface they were polar opposites, yet at their cores they were very similar. They had good chemistry, though I wished they had remained friends rather than developed a romantic relationship.
None of the minor characters really stood out to me, though they were all fine enough. My favorite was Lira's cousin Kahlia, who for me felt like the root of Lira’s humanity more than Elian was.
For the most part the plot flowed seamlessly and kept my interest. I appreciated how the story was wrapped up in one novel, as I feel like a lot of fantasy stories are stretched out over numerous novels. That being said, I felt like the battle/climax dragged on a bit too long for the purpose of dramatics.
If I were Christo, I personally would have included a map of the world and a pronunciation guide. I personally find these useful when they are included in high fantasy novels. I struggled to figure out how to pronounce a lot of the kingdom names within the novel.
I felt it was unrealistic how Lira was able to walk with ease after being cursed with legs despite never having had them before. Additionally, it was mentioned several times she wasn’t fluent in Midasan (the language spoken by Elian and his crew). However, there seems to be an inconsistency in that she displays no trouble communicating with them.
Would I Recommend This Read?: For anyone who enjoys fantasy novels or is a fan of fairytales and mythical sea creatures, I would absolutely recommend this read. There were plenty of nods to The Little Mermaid within the novel (both the Disney movie and Hans Christen Andersen’s original), so if you’re a fan of those you should be pleased. Overall, I’d say Christo is quite the talented author.
Final Score: 9/10