To Kill a Kingdom

Princess Lira is siren royalty and revered across the sea until she is cured into humanity by the ruthless Sea Queen. Now Lira must deliver the heart of the infamous siren killer or remain a human forever.

Prince Elian is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world, and captain to a deadly crew of siren hunters. When he rescues a drowning woman from the ocean, she promises to help him destroy sirenkind for good. But he has no way of knowing whether he can trust her.

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My goal for October is to become a regular blogger again. Sorry for the radio silence. Life got complicated and busy. And then I went to Amsterdam. But in the meantime I read many things, and over the next few weeks I will write about them I promise.

When I was in the midst of a very stressful period, I picked up To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo and it was everything I needed. Christo’s rollicking adventure of murder, love and pirates made for the perfect distraction material. Ruthless siren women, swoonworthy princes and a crew to rival the dregs – yes, I would like a Bardugo-Christo crossover novel, please – as the ocean carries the Saad so does Christo’s writing to her novel’s dramatic, nail-biting climax.

Meet Lira: known as The Prince’s Bain, the siren to end all sirens. Crafted for a life of brutality by her mother the Sea Queen, Lira steals the heart of a prince every year on her birthday. And I don’t mean steal in the metaphorical sense – she’ll rip that sucker right out of your chest and laugh as you bleed. Literally. Your girl keeps hearts under her bed. Lira is vicious and scheming, out to grab (or steal) every opportunity for success life throws her way. Her life has taught her to be ruthless; with a mother who punishes her for showing humanity, she quickly learned she must kill in order to survive. Another way didn’t seem possible… until one day, banished from the sea, stripped of her siren capabilities by her evil mother and tasked with killing the charming Prince Elian with only her newly human means – it did.

Meet Elian: Oh, Elian. The reluctant prince. Like Moana before him, there’s a line where the sky meets the sea and it calls him. Man, does it call. Dubbed by his future subjects The Pirate Prince, all he wants is to sail away from his royal responsibilities. Usually, right into danger. For Elian the Pirate Prince has tasked himself with ridding the world of the sirens. Every heart torn from every chest, Elian takes personally. He cares about his mission almost as much as he dreads his future kinghood – if he can’t defeat all the sirens he plans to die trying. Boy doesn’t want to be tied down to anything, most especially anything royal – that is, until a certain siren princess shows up on his boat. Not that he knows her true identity, of course. That’d be no fun.

Yep, I did just list all the ingredients for the perfect love story.

In many ways, To Kill a Kingdom is a story we’ve all read a thousand times – a disconnected person learns the value of human relationships. It’s about how it feels to be part of a team for the first time – like you’re filling a cup you never even knew was empty. It’s about the fundamental need we all have to feel like we’re part of something – and, once we are, the realisation of how unbearable life was before it came along. It may be a familiar story, but I will never get enough of it. To Kill a Kingdom is a ridiculous story of sirens and magic and princes, but it’s also a universal story of hope that things can be better. Like I said, exactly what I needed. Exactly what we all need, I think.