I guess I missed this detail in the synopsis but this is kind of a darker retelling of The Little Mermaid. I mean there's mermaids and sirens and stuff so I guess it makes sense, but I wasn't really expecting that the story would follow that tale (no pun intended!).

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo. Thanks so much to Raincoast Books for providing me with an eARC of this book for an honest review, as always, all opinions are my own.

This story follows Lira, the princess of the underwater sea kingdom that is ruled by her tyrannical mother, the Sea Queen. Lira and her fellow sirens lure humans to their death, and every year in the month of their birthday, they kill one and steal their heart. Because Lira only kills princes, she earns the title of the Princes' Bane. After disobeying her mother and killing before her birthday month, the Queen turns Lira into the one thing she despises most, a human. She is soon picked up by Prince Elian, the prince of a neighbouring land kingdom who is notorious for hunting sirens, especially the Princes' Bane. The two along with the rest of Elian's crew set out to look for the one thing that will kill the Sea Queen and restore peace to the world, that is if they can learn to trust each other.

SOOO first of all, I just want to say that The Little Mermaid was never my favourite princess. And I never really got on board with the whole mermaid trend thing, BUT I was excited to read this book because sirens aren't mermaids - they're like super vicious. And this book definitely didn't disappoint in giving me vicious sirens! I really loved how strong the female characters were in this novel, both in the case of Lira and the sirens, and the other women we see. This is definitely not some Disney fairytale princess with a pretty face.

I also liked the pirate-y aspects of this book. I don't have a lot of experience with pirate books, so I can't say if this one is the cream of the crop, but of those I have read, I thought it was pretty good. There's lots of sea-fighting and a loveable crew. I just wish we had a bit more backstory on the other characters, some of them were more fleshed out than others and I sometimes felt like I was reading the second book in a series and that it was assumed that I already knew about their backstories.

My other issue and I'm not sure if this is just because of how my ARC was formatted and if it will be different in the final print of the book, but the story was told in dual perspectives and I found it hard to figure out who was who until things got going. In my ARC, there was just the chapter number, and no mention of a character name, like what we often get to help distinguish character POVs. Again, this might just be an ARC thing, but even still, I struggled to find each of the characters distinct voices when a new chapter started.

I'll be honest, I was a bit worried how Christo would pull off a standalone fantasy - it's hard to get right. But I have to say, despite some of my other issues with the book, I'm impressed. I think things were wrapped up really well without being too rushed.

Overall, I think this book was good, but because it wasn't super up my alley, I didn't love it as much as I'm sure others will.