Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.
The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?
The Little Mermaid was my favourite movie as a child – I must have re-watched it a million times, often multiple times in a row to my parents’ chagrin. Even when I was younger, I loved Ursula and felt she was under-utilized (still waiting on a movie about her backstory) so when I heard that To Kill a Kingdom was about sea witches, knew that I had to give it a read.
After only a couple of chapters, I found myself completely captivated by To Kill a Kingdom. The idea of sirens (literally) stealing mens’ hearts when luring them to my death was intriguing – especially for YA, where I’ve grown used to dark premises being watered down – and I’m pleased to say that the sirens were just as murderous as advertised. And Christo doesn’t shy away from character deaths, complete with vivid fight scenes and a surprising amount of gore. To say that the stakes increased with each chapter is nothing short of an understatement, leading me to devour To Kill a Kingdom in a single sitting.
The characters were also well-fleshed out, with compelling backstories and motivations. I appreciated how To Kill a Kingdom took a predictable formula (forbidden love/enemies-to-lovers) yet made it feel fresh and new: the inevitable slow-burn romance, complete with enough chemistry and banter to melt my icy heart, had me rooting for Lira and Elian to overcome the seemingly insurmountable obstacles that stood between them. That said, there was also an incredibly large part of me that wanted Lira to succeed in her mission which just goes to show how consistent the characters’ motivations were, even in the face of ~love~.
Overall, To Kill a Kingdom was a wonderfully-executed, dark, and addictive read. If Christo were to revisit this world, I would pick up a sequel without hesitation (which is high praise coming from someone who suffers from series fatigue).