To Kill a Kingdom: Little Mermaid, But Darker

5/5 Stars!

Author: Alexandra Christo

Publisher/Imprint: Feiwel & Friends

Edition: Hardcover, 352 Pages

Publication Date: March 06, 2018

A Spine that Shines? Definitely!

Initial Thoughts

This was a really exciting, action-packed read! Neither of the two main characters are what you’d call “innocent” or “good,” but Alexandra Christo skillfully coaxes the reader into rooting for both of them. By the end, you’re truly sympathetic to their struggles and just want them to finally be happy together.

The World-Building

I enjoyed getting a glimpse of the various kingdoms, and the mythology that Christo was able to incorporate really complements the world-building. The kingdom of Midas is beautifully described. The kingdom of Keto is definitely brutal. The sirens are menacing, and mermaids are not the kind, sweet creatures depicted in Disney movies. The time spent in the land of Edyllio and Rycroft’s ship in Psemata is quite entertaining, and the Cloud Mountain on icy Pagos is the perfect setting for the final showdown.

The Characters

Elian. A prince who wants to be a pirate, always wishing he were at sea. He’s tough and not afraid to go after what he wants.

Lira. A siren princess who’s determined to prove herself worthy to rule the sea:

“For the kingdom – for my mother – I am ruthless. And that ruthlessness makes each and every sea creature certain I can reign.”

I like that Christo spends a lot of time building up Elian and Lira’s relationship. Their chemistry slowly grows so that, by the end, the outcome is believable. Lira also undergoes a lot of character development throughout the story. As her heart opens up, she slowly lets go of some of her “ruthlessness” and learns what it might mean to be more human.

The Sea Queen/Witch is absolutely vicious! She makes quite the formidable villain. She  won’t give up her hold over Lira and makes her do twisted, twisted things. By the end I just wanted her to die. And her ruthless merman minion, the Flesh-Eater, was well-done! Together, they gave me the shivers.

Elian’s crew was a great addition to the cast of characters. I especially enjoyed the banter between Kye and Madrid. They had great chemistry and always made me laugh, even when they were apart:

“‘You don’t like him?’ I [Lira] press my palms flat on the edge of the ship. ‘Aren’t you mates?’

Mates,’ Madrid gapes. ‘What are we, horses? We’re partners,’ she says. ‘There’s a big difference, you know.'”

As well as the banter between Kye and Torik:

“Kye smirks. ‘It’s not good form for someone like me to sleep on the floor. I’m practically an aristocrat.’

Torik casts him a blank, unimpressed stare. ‘You’re an aristoprat,’ he says.”

Final Thoughts

Everything felt like it was pretty well wrapped up, and I was satisfied with the ending. There are some great twists and turns, and the big battle managed to get me quite emotional, which is not always something an author manages to accomplish. As far as content warnings, there is some gritty violence as well as the occasional use of the “s-word.” Overall, this was a well-crafted piece of entertainment, and I look forward to reading more from this author.

Spines that Shine

2 thoughts on “To Kill a Kingdom: Little Mermaid, But Darker”

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