This review contains spoilers.
“How strange that instead of taking his heart, I’m hoping he takes mine.”
Published: 2018, by Hot Key Books.
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Retellings, Romance
Contains: Death, Violence, Anger, Strong Language, Blood/Gore, Abuse
‘To Kill a Kingdom’ tells the story of Lira, the heir of the sea kingdom of Keto, during the weeks running up to her eighteenth birthday. Known as ‘The Princes Bane’, Lira adds a Prince’s heart to her collection every year as a symbol of her birthday. However, through greed, Lira collects her heart early, leading the Sea Queen to punish her by transforming her into the one thing she loathes most – a human. In order to prove her worthiness of the throne, Lira must collect a Prince’s heart without her song or remain human forever.
Prior to reading this novel, I’ve seen so many positive reviews on it. I was originally intending it to be a university read, however, I since decided to leave it until my degree was over. But now, I wish I’d read it the moment I bought it.
Lira’s character is an extremely routable one. Being full of sass and spark, it’s impossible not to adore her. She’s described as fearless throughout the story, accepting her punishment reluctantly but takes it in her stride; she appears without weakness. However, as her bond with Elian gradually grows, he becomes her fall – much to her disappointment. The development of her character from being initially disgusted by humans, to eventually falling in love with one was beautiful to read. Her character becomes human, revealing weaknesses and sorrow while fighting her mother for the kingdom. Although, half the narrative was told from her point of view, readers also had access to Elian’s side of the story.
Elian’s character is a dreamer, he is desperate to escape his responsibilities as a prince and live on the sea. Being seen as Lira’s ‘prey’ for the majority of the novel was interesting, him being presented as an equally strong character – his violence and confidence is a key side to his character. This alone is what urged me to continue reading, questioning whether Lira would win against someone like Elian. However, my favourite part of his character was his dialogue; his interactions with Lira and members of his crew were hilarious, full of snarky remarks and witty comebacks. It made sense as to why he caused Lira to counter her Mother’s ways; her and Elian had spark.
The Sea Queen is quite possibly one of my favourite antagonists I’ve ever read. Her character was abusive, arrogant and down-right terrifying. She was completely believable, making the protagonists even more awe-inspiring as they defeated her.
The narrative itself was beautiful, the writing style clear and concise while the vivid imagery assisted in creating a believable fictional world. I love pirates, and being able to clearly picture the Saad and creatures beneath made this novel a wonderful read.
Overall, this story was incredible. I loved the characters, the names, the world; this book is completely flawless, and is one of those you just wish you wrote yourself.