Book Review: To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

Summary:

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 and 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?

Goodreads

Thoughts:

This book was Ridiculous, with a capital R. Ridiculous. The world building, the characters, the dialogue…everything was super silly. I still had a pretty good time reading it though, although I think I would have fared better if I’d been in the right frame of mind heading into it.

I think one of the biggest downfalls of this book is its world building–it’s all over the place. I was getting whiplash trying to figure out what I’m supposed to be imagining here. Greek myths combined with Pirates of the Caribbean. Feels like the golden age of piracy to some extent but there’s buttons on clothing so probably later and also…sonar? Not to mention every kingdom being the ‘land of’ whatever, each port they visit having some specialty about their culture or land. It’s sloppy feeling. It’s like the author took a bunch of stuff and threw it together. And you know, that’s fine. I’m not super into world building and if you let yourself go just enough you can overlook this but even I had trouble suspending my disbelief at times–things just kept taking me right out of the story. For example there are a land of ice people. But they all have Japanese names for some reason? But it’s not Japan or even faux Japan so why the Japanese names? Could have literally made up any type of names. Also, why does Elian keep calling himself a pirate when he never actually does any actual acts of piracy??? Look, just because you ‘dress like a pirate’ (whatever that means – pretty sure actual pirates just called their outfits ‘clothes’ and not pirate outfits) doesn’t mean you’re a pirate. LOL. This book.

The second biggest downfall of this book is the characters and dialogue. They’re just plain silly. When I was reading this book I was explaining the plot to my my husband and he came back with this summary:

I’m a bloodthirsty siren and I want to kill all the pretty princes. And I’m a prince, also a siren hunter. Let’s date.

And while that’s slightly oversimplifying things, it made me laugh because it’s still pretty spot on. Look, I love enemies to lovers. I’m a huge sucker for that trope. And it’s hardly ever done accurately where the characters are actual enemies and not just people who slightly annoy one another. Because it’s not easy to pull off and make it believable. So this book’s M.O. seems to be ‘fuck believability, let’s have fun’. And because of that, it somehow works. It’s a good enemies to lovers if you just don’t think too hard about how cheesy things are. Because there is So. Much. Cheese. The ending! Super cheesy! One of the most cheesy lines is right at the climax. (Won’t post it obviously because of spoilers.) Elian is full of swagger (is it actually earned though? Who knows? Who cares?) Lira feels slightly more fleshed out. She’s a bloodthirsty killer of princes but she somehow winds up becoming the most sympathetic character in the story. I do think she was written with a little more nuance that everyone else at least. As for the side characters–well, they’re there and they’re amusing.

ANYWAY. I think there’s a lot of potential for a reader to have a great time with this book. You have to turn your brain off to make it work, but sometimes that’s just the type of mindless entertainment a body craves. Kind of like the Fast & Furious movies. 🙂 Because, despite all the weird inconsistencies in the world building, the story itself is still pretty fun. Unfortunately for me, I guess I was expecting something a little more serious. Or perhaps it’s my fault because right before I read this one I read a book that was so incredibly thoughtful in its world building that it made things here stand out for me. Either way, this didn’t work out to be as fun for me as I’d hoped. But maybe it will for you! 3/5 stars.

28 thoughts on “Book Review: To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

  1. dinipandareads says:

    It feels like I read this super long ago and I honestly can hardly remember details about it except that it was the first YA fantasy I read with bloodthirsty sirens and it was intriguing! I think I rated it 4-stars but have no memory of what I loved about it 🤔 Whoops! Thought I might give it a re-read but maybe not! Haha, great review! At least the book was entertaining-ish?

    • waytoofantasy says:

      Oh, the sirens in this were very bloodthirsty LOL. I think that was something fairly unique for me with this one, usually the sirens I come across are made to be less murder-y haha. It was definitely entertaining in its way. 🙂

  2. @lynnsbooks says:

    Okay, not for me. Although your review made me laugh (Ridiculously with a capital ‘R’) and I do like the sound of a book where I have to turn my brain off – just maybe not this one.
    Lynn 😀

  3. Maryam (@thecurioussffreader) says:

    Oh my god, it does sound completely ridiculous! 😂😂 I bought a copy of this book when it was a Kindle deal a few months back and now I regret my decision. I will probably still give a try someday but I’ll keep in mind how over the top it is LOL!

  4. Jordan @ Forever Lost in Literature says:

    I read this a while back and I get exactly what you mean about the silliness! It really is sort of all over the place, but still somewhat oddly enjoyable? Definitely an odd one and I sort of wish it were a bit stronger because the cover is so dramatic and lovely, but it’s still fun. Nice review!

  5. Louise says:

    This book has been on my list for quite a while and I am actually surprised by this review! It’s not what I expected but I’m glad you still had fun with it even if its not quite what you’d hoped for. I’ll definitely go into it with an open mind when I get around to it!

  6. maddalena@spaceandsorcery says:

    “”Greek myths combined with Pirates of the Caribbean”” sounds indeed something of a mess, and when you add *sonar* I’m hardly surprised at the confusion it can generate in a reader…
    I guess I will pass – thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • waytoofantasy says:

      I think if I had been aware going into it that it would be a bit of a mish mosh or kind of silly in its world building then I could have let go better and had fun with it. But also coming off of reading The Mask of Mirrors which had amazing world building, it just stood out to me in a glaring way. Oh well. I still kind of had fun with it.

  7. Susy's Cozy World says:

    I wasn’t really interested in this one, because I am not so keen on marmaids and similar, and even if it is true that sometimes we need the bookish equivalent of Fast and Furious, I think I would pass this one out. I hope that your next reading would be more satisfying!!

  8. Zezee says:

    Oh man! Sorry it didn’t work out. I don’t think I’d like it either with such worldbuilding, it’s often a biggie for me. I like to be pulled in and convinced about the world.

    • waytoofantasy says:

      Yeah, I still had some fun with it though. It’s weird because sometimes stuff like this bothers me and sometimes it doesn’t! I think because I was expecting something a little more serious it threw me off.

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