Book Review: To Kill A Kingdom

tkakI’m not a huge fan of fairytale retellings—at least not of the standard fairytales. Frankly there’s just so many versions of Beauty and the Beast or Cinderella, and those fairytales only represent a tiny percentage of the fairytales in existence. I love re-tellings of lesser known fairytales because those feel fresh and are less familiar. I mean why is no one writing about selkies or Baba Yaga? There are more fairytales than the ones Disney has already adapted...And so many modern re-tellings depend too heavily on the source material and even the reader’s comprehension of the former tale; the usual update is add a bit more sass or trauma or maybe swords...I say this because if I had known To Kill A Kingdom was a retelling of The Little Mermaid I probably wouldn’t have read it…but I’m really glad I didn’t know because this is one retelling that is worth your time! It was so freshly told and original and the writing style was descriptive and evocative that it’s one re-telling that felt like it added to the mythology and didn't require any knowledge of the previous story to appreciate. The style of writing really elevated it from a re-telling into its own unique story that stands on its own merit. Instead of mermaid Ariel we have a siren Lira who murders princes and steals their heart. Instead of Prince Eric we have pirate-prince Elian who is hunting sirens. It’s hard to give this book justice without pulling direct quotes because it is that evocative, lively writing style that does such masterful world-building and suspense. For me that’s what I look for in a story—it’s more than just plot or characters, it’s descriptive writing that makes me feel immersed in another world and To Kill A Kingdom does that so brilliantly I want to seek out everything else Alexandra Christo has written. It’s dark, it’s clever, and reading it will take you on a journey into dangerous waters of bloodthirsty sirens and renegade princes.


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