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Hundred Kingdoms #1

To Kill a Kingdom

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Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?

344 pages, Hardcover

First published March 6, 2018

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About the author

Alexandra Christo

7 books5,138 followers
Alexandra Christo is a British author whose characters are always funnier and far more deadly than she is. She studied Creative Writing at university and graduated with the desire to never stop letting her imagination run wild. She currently lives in Hertfordshire with a rapidly growing garden and a never-ending stack of books. Her debut novel To Kill a Kingdom is an international bestseller and her Young Adult fantasy books have been translated into over a dozen languages worldwide.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 23,152 reviews
Profile Image for emma.
1,869 reviews54.6k followers
August 17, 2023
I am proposing a new law: Books that are not good should not be allowed to have really good opening lines. Because then I open them in Barnes & Noble and am like “wow I should buy this” and then I do (except not immediately because I don’t have B&N levels of money honey) and then I’m disappointed and I hate it and it’s honestly bad for all of us.

This law is for the good of the people, you know?


LISTEN TO THIS OPENING LINE YOU GUYS. And by listen to I of course mean read. But like, come on: “I have a heart for every year I’ve been alive.”

Tell me that doesn’t seem like the rest of the hundreds of pages that follow it should be good!! Tell me! You’d be wrong. It seems like they should be good and yet they aren’t and that is an injustice so massive I will dedicate the rest of my life to getting legislation on the books that will prevent it from ever happening again.

Hahahaha. “Legislation on the books.” Get it? Like that’s what you say about passing legislation successfully, but also it would be legislation on books? God I’m funny.

But let’s talk synopsis. To Kill a Kingdom is (allegedly) a high fantasy about this gal Lira. Lira’s a siren - the princess of the sirens. Sirens RIP the HEARTS out of dudes!! Pretty rad stuff, violent af, we love it. Lira is especially badass, and she ONLY steals the hearts of princes. F*ck the system, girl, I get it. Take down the patriarchy/our capitalist oppressors/etc etc. I’m still into it.

Here’s where you lose me.

This is a Little Mermaid retelling (okay actually still rad) in which Lira is given human legs because she takes a heart without it being her birthday (she can only take a heart for every year yadda yadda) and her mom (the queen, a Very Bad Lady) says oh you think you’re so tough??? Okay. Get me the heart of an Extra Special Prince - the Siren Killer.

Dun dun dun!

This might sound good, unless you’re like me and cynical and well-versed in YA and you know what that actually means. Because if you guessed “Lira will now participate in a not-so-slow burn but absolutely teeming with sh*tty banter romance with the Siren Killer himself, Elian,” you’re today’s lucky winner! Congratulations. Your prize is universal suffering.

This should have been violence and revenge and piracy and maybe some cool monarchical world-building if there’s time. Instead, it was boring and romance and boring and terrible banter and boring and confusing info dumps and boring and weird flat writing and oh my god you guys this book was so f*cking BORING!!!

I hated this book!!! It’s been so long since I’ve read garbage YA fantasy that I almost forgot why I don’t read YA fantasy like ever!!! Contemporaries can be worse than fantasy could ever be but they are never so horrible to read.

Like, let’s talk about the basic requirements of high fantasy that this book does not even BEGIN to satisfy. For one, language??? It’s not that hard to not use slang!! And like I’m SO sorry but when you’re pretending you’re writing high fantasy while using the word “okay” it doesn’t work for me again I’m SO sorry.

And if you’re going to write a standalone about a world with one hundred separate island kingdoms and do this bad of a job worldbuilding, honestly please at least give me a map so I can gaze lovingly at it and pretend to enjoy it. This world could have been so cool but we get basically zero geographical or historical or general information, just weird random details about specific island-nations, and I’m quite seriously sick of it!!!

I hated the romance. It was mostly banter that was just uniquely terrible, really just a whole new level of unfunny and bad but with characters being like “Wow...she is very funny...I quite like her...ha ha dare I say she is one of the gang...lol you may have met your match, dear sir...sounds like someone else I know...ha ha ha, I kid, oh yes, we have fun, lmao.”

Also as established, the language is like one step above using text abbreviations anyway.

Anyway once we get past the banter stage of the romance, we jump straight into “icky gross touchy feely lovey dovey I hate it get it away from me.” And then betrayal, and then more of that again! It’s painful in a hundred different ways and it never gets better.

Part of this is because THE CHARACTERS ARE AWFUL!!! Lira is nowhere near the cool violent siren I EXPECTED and DESERVED. She’s just mean and prissy and thinks she’s really funny and badass but god she is not at all. A lot like another red-haired fishy nemesis of mine.

And Elian is just...boring. The siren song of the YA male love interest. A real poor little rich boy type situation. SO SORRY YOU MIGHT HAVE TO RULE OVER AN ISLAND MADE OF GOLD, ASSHOLE. WE WEEP FOR YOUR SUFFERING, WE REALLY DO.

Speaking of boring, this sh*t had absolutely no right to be and yet here we are. This is the most boring book in the history of ever. I don’t get it! The world-building was god awful, half the characters were flat, there was no setup or explanation or exposition of any kind, and yet NOTHING HAPPENS IN THE FIRST HALF OF THE BOOK. I got halfway through and thought I was only a fraction of the way in! Nope, just bad writing!

How do you pitch a violent siren/pirate high fantasy YA retelling of the Little Mermaid and somehow make it boring? That’s almost so awful it turns in on itself and becomes impressive.


Plus this wasn’t violence-y anyway. It was just “““character development.””” Elian spends half the book crying about how it’s so mean of him to kill sirens (they’re only killing his people for no reason, guys!) and Lira spends half the book thinking about how it’s too mean of her to kill someone as sexy great as Elian even though she should be planning that grand revenge plot on her mom she swears is happening and will def involve murder for sure.

We get no violence. We get pondering and crying and more pondering and the ultimate condemnation of violence and it is a hundred thousand million times worse than if this were a straightforward Little Mermaid retelling with no violence at all.

Bottom line: Boring. Bad characters. Bad romance. Bad world-building. Weird bad writing. Bad, inaccurate synopsis. Boring boring boring, bad bad bad.


This review was discussed on the Hey Good Bookin' podcast! I have never felt cooler.


Really starting to think you guys all just pretended this book was good and got me all excited to read it as some sort of elaborate, cruel prank.


review to come once I recover from this (read: NEVER. I'LL NEVER GET OVER IT)

currently-reading updates

I hadn't picked up this book in a couple days and assumed I was like 1/4 of the way into it, since nothing has really happened yet.



Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
March 19, 2018
Meet our two main characters--
Lira: In one move, I plunge my fist into the prince’s chest and pull out his heart.

Elian: Technically, I’m a murderer, but I like to think that’s one of my better qualities.

That should give you a sense of what to expect. To Kill a Kingdom is a pretty dark fantasy for YA and it tells a compelling, vicious story without falling into all the usual tropes. I was pleasantly surprised.

Lira is a siren princess, daughter of the Sea Queen, and known amongst humans as Princes' Bane - because of all the princes whose hearts she has ripped from their chests. I mean it literally; not talking romantics here. When she disobeys her mother, the Sea Queen punishes Lira by turning her into a human. Floating out on the sea with her new pair of legs, Lira is picked up by Prince Elian's ship.

Elian is a siren killer and adventurer. He does not want to be bound to the throne he is set to inherit. What he wants more than anything is to put a stop to the Princes' Bane. When it seems like an old fairy tale might hold the secret to finding the Crystal of Keto - and putting a stop to the Sea Queen and her sirens forever - Elian sets out on a perilous journey to uncover it.

These two unlikely companions are thrown together by their strange circumstances. Each wants to kill the other but only Lira is aware of both of their identities. I really enjoyed the developing relationship between them that grew through sarcasm-laced banter. Both are somewhat morally questionable and Lira is a murderous anti-heroine bordering on straight-up villain. There's also a band of lovable and funny secondary characters onboard ship.
“That’s the thing about risks,” Kye says. “it’s impossible to know which ones are worth it until it’s too late.”

A romance grows but it is extremely slow burn. I would not recommend this book for readers who like their fantasy heavy on the romance. And, despite the obvious parallels that can be drawn with The Little Mermaid (Lira loses her siren song instead of her voice), I wouldn't recommend this for those looking for a retelling either. It's very different, and this "mermaid" definitely doesn't want to be human and bag a prince - unless by that you mean killing him. This prince is far more badass, too.

There's lots I like here: anti-heroines, slow-burn romance, fairy tales that contain prophecies, fun banter and strong friendships. I only hope I don't get burned out on this influx of sea fantasies after I read my arcs of Sea Witch and These Rebel Waves.

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Profile Image for Brittney ~ Reverie and Ink.
260 reviews4,948 followers
March 2, 2019
Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh.

I am just sitting here in shock and full of feels and alskfjal;skdjfa;lksjf GO ORDER THIS BOOK RIGHT NOW. How am I supposed to write a coherent review? Gah!

Okay *breathes*

So if you haven't seen the description, this is somewhat of a little mermaid retelling, except it has a totally unique spin, pulling in other folklore as well! (Hint: Midas!)

Lira is a siren known as the 'Prince's Bane' - and she's infamous for killing princes. Yep, that's what she does. She rips out their hearts. Not to mention, she's the daughter of the mighty Sea Queen who is pretty much terrible all around. She's Ursula if Ursula was chewed up and spit out by the devil himself (but still manages to be attractive). Basically she's the reason Lira is the way she is - and her story is actually quite sad.

Annnyyywayyy, Lira is unashamedly brutal and hunts with vicious intent.

Elian is a prince whos pastime is piracy. Yep, you heard me. We have a pirate prince on our hands, ladies and gentlemen. Nikolai Lantsov, meet your brother from another mother. Anyway, Elian is hilariously sassy and all around amazing. But why does he patrol the seas, you ask?

He hunts sirens. And he kills a great deal of them.

So we have a prince killer and a siren killer - the makings of a perfectly delicious story.

Anyway, after an event that royally pisses of the Sea Queen, she changes Lira into a human as punishment and orders her to go kill the siren-killer prince (but without her siren powers). Elian finds Lira, who looks like an ordinary girl at this point, conveniently drowning in the ocean. But instead of trying to kill him right off the bat, Lira has another idea - and decides to stick around for a while.

That's all I'm going to say.

Here's what you need to know:

Elian is everything. His crew is everything. The WRITING is everything. (Seriously, all aspiring authors need to read this and revel in its beauty. I have SO MANY LINES highlighted.) There's romance, banter, pirates, action, drama, adventure, strong character arcs, and lots of fun kingdoms. I don't want to spoil anything else. Just read it.

Alexandra is a master of creative writing, character, and storytelling. I honestly loved every bit of this book, and you can bet I'll be shoving it at everyone I know.

My Blog ~ Instagram ~ Twitter ~ Etsy
Profile Image for Cindy.
407 reviews116k followers
October 7, 2019
4.5 stars for a simple yet solid standalone fantasy YA. I devoured this book so quickly and it's the first time I loved reading the enemies-to-lovers trope, because the main characters, their development, their inner fears, and their banter with each other were all done so naturally well. Both protagonists were truly lethal that I wanted to fly through the book just to see how they could possibly even like each other. It’s also fun to see all the different places they went to and how the kingdoms differ from one another; the world building is easy to digest without bogging you down with overcomplicated description and extraneous information. I’m on the fence between giving this 4 or 5 stars because I truly enjoyed reading the characters and their snappy dialogue and I wouldn’t change much else. Really the only nitpick I have is that although the first and last 1/3 of the book is exciting and intriguing, I found the middle portion to be a little meandering, and it was almost too easy to see the characters go from Point A to Point B in their adventure. If we’re going to take this time following the characters in such a linear way, I would’ve liked to see more of the romantic development in order to build up the angst and tension later on. Still, this is pretty much on par with An Enchantment of Ravens as a solid standalone fantasy with good romance to root for.
Profile Image for chai ♡.
322 reviews156k followers
August 14, 2022
Where would I be, as a person and in society, without the enemies-to-lovers trope where two people, who are actual literal enemies fighting on opposite sides of a conflict and who can hold their own against each other and even in their hatred have a begrudging respect for the other, come together on equal ground and slowly realize that they have more in common than they’d first thought, they don’t instantly get along but bicker and deny and fight their way into a tentative friendship that is born of a deep understanding and trust and respect found in companionship which later slowly blossoms into a whirlwind of a romance, and the best part? THESE IDIOTS WILL STILL BE ACTING LIKE JACKASSES TO EACH OTHER BUT AFFECTIONATELY AND WITH SO MUCH LOVE!!!

Can I just scream about this trope for the rest of my life and let that be my career?
Profile Image for Warda.
1,209 reviews19.7k followers
June 16, 2018
I’m disappointed with how mediocre this was. It’s described as a dark and romantic story.
It was dark at the beginning, then turned into mush. By the way our main characters were introduced, I was expecting some straight-up nastiness and bravado. False advertisement that was because that’s not the tone the story carried on with (but I didn’t mind this too much since there was some introspection our characters were going through).
And the romance was...lacklustre. I mean, did it have to be there? It served no purpose. I felt nothing!

I think the only aspect that I appreciated was the Prince and his crew, the bond and witty banter they shared. Plus the similarities Elian and Lira had in terms of them both wanting to desperately escape the shackles that had been forced on them.

I wanted that angle of their character to be explored (it was too flimsy!) and wanted more brutality. The ending was annoyingly happy. It probably would’ve felt more satisfying had the initial plot point been carried out. I’m slightly getting over happy endings, particularly in fantasy. Or maybe this wasn’t just well done as it was too dramatic for my taste.

It felt and read like the story was being crammed in. It wasn’t necessarily slow at any point. The plot was moving, however it seemed almost too calculated and each aspect of the story was placed accordingly. It didn’t flow, rather it felt too deliberate and purposely steered into a particular direction, i.e. getting the two main characters together.

There wasn’t enough time for me to grow attached to the characters and world, which is a shame, because it had so much potential. I think this would’ve worked better and read more fulfilling had it been a duology possibly, where then the writing, the characters, the world and plot would’ve been given their due right.
I liked it enough though.

This cost a quid. Naturally, I bought it. I miss me some good ol' fantasy.
Book, you better deliver. You have standards to uphold now.

LEGGO!! 🏃🏾‍♂️
Profile Image for Katerina.
422 reviews16.9k followers
April 20, 2018
Dark, seductive and oh so beautiful.

Dark as a stormy night.
Seductive as the call of a siren.
Beautiful like the bluest sea.
I marvel at how wonderful most of the 2018 YA releases have been. Even though the time I dedicate to reading is far less than what my heart desires (thank you adult life, really), discovering books that sing their melodies to my soul and enchant me to oblivion is a fair compensation. Reading To Kill a Kingdom was last week's highlight. A blessing. It was a retelling of the Little Mermaid made of foam, blood and stars. So, I simply devoured it.

“I’ ve made a mistake. It started with a prince, as most stories do.”

But Elian is not a prince like the others. He's a pirate at heart, and the only place he feels at home is the ocean and his war ship. His kingdom and his responsibilities suffocate him, and so he roams the seas, hunting sirens and making the seas a safer place. Lira, on the other hand, is the daughter of the Sea Queen, known as the Prince's Bane. Each year she harvests a prince's heart on her birthday, as a way to prove her ruthlessness to her cruel mother and secure the loyalty of her future subjects. Monstrous and inhumanly beautiful, the sirens only exist for power, and every other feeling is considered weakness. Until the Prince's Bane and the Siren Hunter cross paths. An unpredictable turn of events brings the Sea Queen's wrath upon Lira, and she ends up exiled, having two legs instead of a tail, and an order to rip the heart out of Elian's still warm body. Elian wants to exterminate the sirens and their Queen. Lira wants to take the throne that belongs to her. In order to achieve their goals, the two sworn enemies need each other. Until the final confrontation, that will probably end with one of them dead. Which one, well that is the question.
“So many hearts. You'll soon run out of room to bury them all.”
“Maybe. But a princess must have her prince.”

To Kill a Kingdom is a dark and slightly twisted fairytale. During the first half of the book, I couldn't shake the notion that it's not a typical story about the prince saving the princess, or vice-versa. Lira and Elian were both anti-heroes, two souls who seemed beneath salvation. Lira begins her narration stating nonchalantly that she collects the hearts of princes, while Elian claims that he's a murderer, and that's not his worst trait. Their hands are stained with blood, something they do not crave, but accept nonetheless. But as the story progressed, something cracked inside of them, and thus inside of me. Lira tasted freedom for the first time in her tragic life, she tasted humanity, and compassion she could not comprehend. Elian found himself trusting this venomous girl with the secrets, and somewhere along the way realised that maybe death is not the only way. In the end, I came to the conclusion that no, it was not a story of anti-heroes. It was the story of the forging of two heroes.
“Be the queen we need you to be. ”

I can't pinpoint the exact moment I fell in love with To Kill a Kingdom. Maybe it happened during the very first chapter, maybe halfway through. Alexandra Christo has the uncanny ability of bringing characters and objects alike to life. My feelings are like the surface of the sea, calm and then tumultuous, and then peaceful once more. My mind is soaked with images and senses. I can taste licorice in my tongue, and inhale the salty air. I can see the deck of an enormous ship where a siren seethes and turns to foam. Two lonely figures gazing at the stars. A song that speaks of undying love and devotion. Black tentacles scraping skin, and evil laughter that pierces my bones. A sea named after the Devil with the colour of sapphires. Every description was heartbreakingly beautiful, and there was something in the narration that made me feel that I was sitting next to Elian and Lira, listening to their soft voices while the sun burned my skin and the cold water licked my feet. Alexandra Christo's prose was magical, her world-building simple yet full of imagination; her lores were entrancing, and her world pulsated with monsters and monstrous humans, brutality and violence, but also a fiery need to belong, to be the person you want to be instead of the one that was forced on you.
“In my heart, I’m as wild as the ocean that raised me.”

The story of Elian and Lira was pure magic. Two enemies bred in blood, two souls burdened by expectations and invinsible chains, they forged an unwanted alliance, unaware that they would both change in a way they never predicted. There were no flowers and sonnets and love declarations. There were insults, betrayal, lies and deception, that tethered their souls nonetheless. Love didn't make them mushy. It made them strong, and they emerged from their trials better, wiser, more complete.
“He has eyes like vast pools and a jaw made from shipwrecks and broken coral. Every movement he makes is as quick and fluid as a tidal wave. He belongs to the ocean. He is made from it, as much as I am.”

Hearts are at stake in To Kill a Kingdom, a mesmerizing, deeply enthralling story about power, freedom and love. I can't recommend it highly enough!

P.S. My only complaint is technical. Psàriin, the language of sea, is basically Greek. Being my native language, I have to point out that, even though the use of individual words was correct (and I felt really proud because that doesn't happen quite frequently), the sentences had some issues, and to a person speaking Greek they sounded funny. That's all folks!

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Profile Image for Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥.
547 reviews34.7k followers
July 17, 2020
”You are a little heartless today, aren’t you?”
“Never,” I say. “There are seventeen under my bed.”

I asked for a blood thirsty, dark and twisted siren that lures princes and collects their still warm and dripping hearts. And I wanted a strong human prince that hunts wicked sirens and sea witches for sport. Well, I guess “To Kill a Kingdom” did a great job at delivering all this and even more. ;-P

”Technically, I’m a murderer, but I like to think that’s one of my better qualities.”

I went into this book expecting a fast and enjoyable read and if you’re looking for a story like that this book definitely is the right choice for you. I know the reviews for this are about 50:50 when it comes to the ratings but I think that’s mostly due to the expectations you have when you go into a book. If you’re looking for a mind-blowing reading experience you might be disappointed because this story is a lot of things but certainly nothing that will cause you to rethink your life choices. It’s fun, it’s easy, it has plenty of snark, banter and a really great character cast. In short it has everything you need when you want to escape your own world for a little while.

”Lies aren’t answers.”
“But they sound so much better than the truth.”

This said I really liked our two MCs and I was a huge fan of their interactions. Those two were both confident in their own skin and it was really refreshing to have two characters that know exactly what they want. Lira wants Elian’s heart and Elian wants to destroy all sirens. The best makings of a good partnership, right? XD Well, almost! If their attraction wouldn’t have gotten into their way things certainly might have been a lot easier. ;-) But I AM a sucker for the “enemies to lovers trope” and it was done really nicely in here so I have nothing to complain about. *lol*

”They’re eyes of lost innocence, greener than seaweed and constantly searching. Even the empty ocean is prey to him, and he regards it with a mix of suspicion and wonder.”

Prince Elian was quite something and to me he was the perfect embodiment of a lost boy. There was no way I wouldn’t love him and his easy nature as well as his love for his crew and ship immediately made him my favourite. Yes, I admit it, I’m a sucker for handsome, sassy and broken pirate boys. They are as much my kryptonite as redheads are so I wasn’t really surprised I ended up liking him so much. Lira on the other hand was pretty awesome too! That girl might have been turned into a human but that did nothing to disguise the feral and deadly siren inside of her. And this brings me to another thing I really enjoyed about this book: Lira and Elian might have been deadly enemies but they still had mutual respect for each other and acknowledged their weaknesses and strengths.

”How wicked this one is, stripped of the innocence I’ve seen in all the others. This is not a prince of inexperience and anxious potential, but one of war and savagery. His heart will be a wonder to behold.”

”I could have killed her, but I didn’t, because she’s a wonder. A creature that has eluded me for so long and then, finally, appeared. Let me be privy to a face few men live to speak about.”

They were fascinated with each other and it showed throughout the entire book. Also can we take a second to appreciate how self-aware they were? Both of them knew exactly what they were capable of and where they would draw the line and even though they questioned themselves and their own decisions they always knew who they were. And the banter!!! Did I already mention the delicious sarcasm and banter? *lol*

”Lira,” I say. “I don’t suppose you’d be kind enough to translate?”
“I’ve never been accused of kindness before.”

”What would you be losing?” he asks.
“If I married you?” I stand to tower above him, pushing away the unraveling thing inside me. “I suppose it would be my mind.”

I loved that they didn’t give each other an inch. They were equals and it wasn’t only easy to see but also palpable. I don’t know how to describe this but there are a lot of books out there that make it seem like the couples in them are equipollent when in fact they are not. Even with kick-ass heroines the male MCs are always stronger somehow. It’s something I noticed in many books and I hate that those amazing women can’t stand on their own feet once they fall in love with their “true love”. It’s something that didn’t happen in here and I was very grateful for it! Lira might have fallen in love with Elian but that didn’t make her go all mushy and lovey-dovey. In fact it only made her even more adamant and relentless, which was AWESOME to behold! XD

All told “To Kill a Kingdom” was exactly the kind of quick and entertaining reading experience I needed and I’m glad I finally decided to give it a shot. It took me long enough to get here but it definitely was worth the wait. And just in case you wondered: Yes, I rediscovered my love for “Ariel – The Little Mermaid” once again. *hums under the sea and leaves the room* ;-P


Okay, that ending was kinda wild! *lol*
But the story was really great and I loved the new spin on it!

Elian and Lira were exactly how I expected them to be and after reading this I think I’ll be able to enjoy “The Little Mermaid” once again. XD

Full RTC soon! Stay tuned! This was a fun ride! ;-P

After listening to “Ariel – The Little Mermaid” for weeks because my little kid loves her, and after singing “Under the Sea” for about the thousandth time I’m finally ready to tackle “To Kill a Kingdom”! *lol*

I need a dark and twisted siren that lures princes and eats collects their bloody hearts!
And I need a strong human prince that can’t be fooled by her and hunts wicked sea witches for sport.

Yep, that’s exactly what I need right now!
A super dark retelling... and then I’ll sing “Under the Sea” with my kid again. With more enthusiasm than ever. ;-P


Can I afford to add another book to my ever growing to-be read pile?

Am I going to add this awesome book that seems to feature not only a siren but also a handsome pirate prince?

March 7, 2018
I HAVE A HEART for every year I’ve been alive.

There are seventeen hidden in the sand of my bedroom. Every so often, I claw through the shingle, just to check they’re still there. Buried deep and bloody. I count each of them, so I can be sure none were stolen in the night. It’s not such an odd fear to have. Hearts are power, and if there’s one thing my kind craves more than the ocean, it’s power.

*insert drooling face here* I can't help it. I'm a wee bit bloodthirsty and I love these types of heroines. *excited squeal*

Oh hi, remember me? It’s been a long ass time since I reviewed a YA book because I got sick of all the crappy books, but this book caught my eyes (BECAUSE SIRENS) and holy crap, it’s good!

This is kind of a Little Mermaid retelling but with sirens, and instead of the main character wanting to get forked (no pun intended), our main character sings and seduces and kills the hapless men that fall into her and her cousins' trap.
“It’ll enchant them all, but if you lay your focus on one, they’ll fall in love with you so resolutely that even as they drown, they’ll scream of nothing but your beauty.”

“Normally the enchantment is broken when they start to die,” Kahlia says.

Our prince isn't a handsome, useless fool, but one whose life is devoted to killing sirens.
The thrill of it never stops, even when the seas become deadly. Even as I hear the familiar song that strikes my soul and makes me believe in love like it’s the first time. The danger only makes me thirstier.
Lira, 17-year old siren princess. Through a mistake, she "saves" Prince Elian and gets turned into a human.
With a shuddering breath, I look down and see legs. Sickly pale things that are crossed awkwardly beneath me, dotted by bruises. Some in big patches, others like tiny fingerprints. And feet, too, with toes pink from the cold.

My fins are gone. My mother has damned me. I want to die.
It was a really good book. The setting is beautifully woven and explained so that it doesn't feel like a textbook. The characters are vibrant and fun and likable. There are no longing glances and pained flushes and beating hearts, just a slowly developed friendship and alliance that blossoms. I was entertained.

This would make a pretty good movie.
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,174 reviews98.8k followers
May 29, 2018

ARC provided by Macmillan in exchange for an honest review.

“I’ve made a mistake. It started with a prince, as most stories do. Once I felt the thrum of his heart beneath my fingers, I couldn’t forget it.”

You all, I buddy read this with FOUR of my closest book friends, and we all five starred this amazing story. Please, go treat yourself and preorder this book. Please. Do you like killer sirens? Angsty romance? A+ witty banter? Vivid fighting scenes with mind-blowing imagery? One of the best and strongest protagonists I’ve read about in a long while? And all these things in a standalone? From a debut author? Seriously, we’ve been blessed.

And I can safely say that there is no better feeling than picking up an ARC that is not exceptionally hyped, and that you’re not expecting anything from really, and you come out absolutely loving it. This was perfection and one of the best reading experiences I’ve had all year. I can’t wait for you all to love this book, too, come March 6th.

“I have a heart for every year I’ve been alive.”

This is a magical standalone that surrounds two very different people that are both next in line for two very different crowns:

Lira - AKA: Prince’s Bane, the most feared siren of all time. She has a collection of seventeen royal hearts. She is also the daughter of Sea Queen, who rules the sea kingdom, Diavolos. Yet, the Sea Queen is abusive, a manipulator, a tyrant, and not willing to relinquish her throne anytime soon for Lira.
Elian - AKA: Siren Hunter. He is a royal prince, but also a cutthroat sea captain who sees the world on his ship, The Saad, with his crew. His family rules Midas, the city of gold, and they want nothing more than for him to give up his pirate life and to finally be king. Also, Elian and his entire family are brown-skinned.

“Two kingdoms that come with responsibilities we each have trouble bearing. Him, the shackles of being pinned to one land and one life. Me, trapped in the confines of my mother’s murderous legacy. And the ocean, calling out to us both. A song of freedom and longing.”

In this world, humans fear the sirens that lurk below the water. And under the ocean, sirens are forced to bring back a human heart during the month of their birth and present it for all to see. But our dear Lira has taken to only the hearts of royals. This story is very loosely inspired by The Little Mermaid, therefore, I’m sure you guys can somewhat guess how these two’s paths cross. But after Lira upsets her mother, the Sea Queen wants to find a new way to ridicule and humiliate her, so what better way than to force her to steal the most royal heart of all, but also forcing her to do this task as a human, and while no longer having her siren voice to lure humans towards her.

And what kind of prince in waiting would Elian be if he let this damsel in distress drown in the water? I mean, until he rescues Lira and realizes how much of a damsel in distress she really isn’t. You all, this was some of the best banter I’ve ever read in any book, ever. And you guys know that hate to love romance is the trope that I love more than any other. And this angst? Perfection. These two might honestly end up being my favorite partnership of 2018. From actually laughing out loud, to swooning, to crying, to everything I felt for these two, and all I want is more.

I was astounded by the worldbuilding and how seamlessly it was crafted and presented. Honestly, this entire story’s imagery was so impressive. The last battle was so visually breathtaking, I feel speechless. The last few chapters were perfection, and I feel so honored that I was able to even experience them. Me and Jules both were absolutely astonished by that last battle and how visually pleasing it was to the mind. I honestly could picture this being a movie immediately.

And this book tackles some pretty serious topics, too. We see parental/adult abuse, manipulation, and gaslighting in this book a lot. Kids only want to be loved, especially from their parents, and it takes a lot to realize that sometimes the people who are supposed to protect you and unconditionally love you just blatantly don’t.

“Love is a word we scarcely hear in the ocean. It exists only in my song and on lips of the princes I’ve killed. And I have never heard it from my mother’s mouth.”

And there is such an important and constant theme of how a new generation can change the world. Which is a message that everyone in The United States should be behind right now. As I’m typing this review, high school kids are changing our world, because the baby boomer generation that’s in office currently think it’s more important to protect assault rifles over innocent kid’s lives. Seriously, these teens, who this book is marketed for, won’t be teens for long. They will be voting, they will activists, and they will be changing the damn world for the better. Do you know how powerful it is for them to have books like this? With themes like this? Seriously, this was probably my favorite thing in this book where there was so much to easily love.

This story also beautiful emphasizes the importance of found families. Blood is nothing more than blood. The people who choose to unconditionally love you, support you, protect you, those people are your family. Madrid, Kye, Torik, Kahlia, I fell in love with all of the side characters. And this book beautifully depicts how important it is for you to choose who is worthy of your time and love.

“How strange that instead of taking his heart, I’m hoping he takes mine.”

Overall, this was honestly just a joy to read. The writing was lyrical and beautiful. The world building was fantastic and so impressive, especially for a standalone. The romance was absolutely perfect. Also, my Odyssey loving heart will read any and all books about sirens luring men to their death. I loved being on this adventure and journey alongside Lira and Elian. I absolutely cannot wait to see what Alexandra Christo does next, and this debut novel of hers is one of the best debut novels I’ve ever read.

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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Buddy read with:
🧜‍♀️ Jules at JA Ironside
🧜‍♀️ Wren at Fables & Wren
🧜‍♀️ Lilly at Lair of Books
Profile Image for Maria.
67 reviews8,578 followers
March 24, 2019
3.7/5 Stars ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
“Technically, I’m a murderer, but I like to think that’s one of my better qualities.”

This is a very hyped up book. You all know it. You all did it. Everyone is reading it and I just couldn't resist. Fantasy is not the genre I prefer but a book about mythology and sirens and pirates is right up my alley. I truly enjoyed this book, it was a very strong debut novel, but it contained its faults.

Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most--a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian's heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby--it's his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she's more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good--But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind's greatest enemy?

As I promised to some of you, I will rant about the use of my native language, Greek, in this book. Psariin=🐠 , the language of the sirens is basically Greek. When I started reading this book and read the first Greek word, I was pretty fucking excited. Greek isn't often mentioned in books as far as I'm concerned, though it is mentioned more in film and television. When Greek is used incorrectly in film and television, we don't take it seriously. We have made memes out of badly used Greek in film and television. I'm serious. (Γεια σου καλημέρα, γεια σου καληνύχτα, γεια σου καληνότσες.) But it's different in literature. Literature is serious, mistakes like these I'm about to tell you shouldn't exist. They should have consulted a Greek person about it, it wouldn't be so hard. Even an 8 year old could find the mistakes in these. But I will start with the correct usage of my language. Here are some of the kingdoms with Greek names and their translations in English:

Adekaros = Penniless
Diavolos = Hell
Armonia = Harmony
Pagos = Ice
Kleftes = Thieves
Eidyllio = Romance
Agrios = Rough
Polemistes = Warriors
Kardia = Heart
Glossa = Language (Αυτή είναι η φάση, δεν είναι αυτή η ��άση. Σνιφ)
Efevresi = Invention

These are some of the 100 kingdoms mentioned and described in the book. I will give it to them on that, the descriptions of the kingdoms matched their words amazingly and a translation wasn't particularly needed. Although, it should have been added, anyone could understand what each kingdom was about. The way the words were spelled though was incorrect... a Greek person can pronounce them easily but I doubt someone who doesn't speak Greek at all, can. But let's let this pass.

Let's go now to the correct usage of some words and phrases in Greek:

p. 35 Dolofonos = Murderer, Choiron = Pig (it's a lighter version of pig, like penis is to dick, for example)
p. 103 Aidiastiko gourouni = Disgusting pig
p. 105 Parakalo = Please (here in Greece we never beg with only parakalo, we say se or sas parakalo, but I will let it slide)
p. 190 Porni mou= My whore (this is so funny in Greek, I was laughing my ass off for 2 hours)
p. 307 Tha pethanete = You will all die

Well, nothing to say here. These were correct, not their spelling exactly, but they were correct. Some of these had translations, some of them didn't. I think they all should have been translated. Moving on to my favorite part. The butchering of my language. Here I am, reading my book in silence, minding my own business etc.etc. And then comes the dreaded page 104. This is where the magic happened, not in Diavolos Sea. This is where the memes started happening, this is where I started sending these funny af sentences to my friends. Let's go to the paradise:

p. 104 Aschimi ligo skyla. It is supposed to be translated to "filthy little bitch". If you're not Greek, you won't understand how funny this is. It's like saying "filthy a bit bitch" or something. The correct one is "aschimi mikri skyla". We don't really say that here, but it's the right translation.
p. 104 Tha sas skotoso ton eafto mou. It's like she's saying "I will kill myself". It's so wrong, I can't even look at it. The correct one would be "tha sas skotoso" = I will kill you myself
p. 105 Prinkipissa. It's Prigkipissa which means "Princess".
p. 111 Pote den tha. It was supposed to say "I would never" but we don't cut it that way here like in English. It's "pote den tha to ekana".
p. 112 Ego den tha sas prodosei. She's saying "I won't betray you", but the right usage is "ego den tha sas prodoso".
p. 191 Anthropinos. It says "human" but the word "anthropinos" is the adjective. "Anthropos" is the noun.
p. 308 Ilthia anoitos. It's supposed to say "stupid fool" but in Greek it's redundant to use both. So just only say "ilithia" or only "anoiti".
p. 312 Anoitos. Its translation is "fool" and the right usage is "anoite".
p. 312 Parte ton apo ton. Guys, I'm fucking serious, I have no idea what this is supposed to say. It doesn't make any fucking sense! Anyone who knows, comment down below.

I find these mistakes inexcusable and sloppy. This is Google Translate guys. It's fucking Google Translate. If I go to Google Translate right now and search these, these will be the results. Psariin is the language of the protagonist's people, it's so important in the plot, it's a huge part of the book and it was slaughtered this way. I'm very disappointed. I was so excited to see my language written inside a novel and they did me like this. After a certain point, I couldn't take it seriously. I was just laughing. I'm not an expert on linguistics or anything and there were also some other mistakes I can't explain in English. I also don't know if I forgot some part from the book, I'm sorry about that. Anyone who wants to correct me on anything, feel free.

*don't mind the Greek sentences, just some memes and inside jokes for my Greek friends in here to enjoy 😉

Now let's go down to the actual book. Let's start with the writing. ✍️ I adored her writing, She pictured vivid images of the worlds, the dialogue was on point, the characters lovable. The world she created was very rich and beautiful. I loved the mythology, the creatures, the kingdoms. They were all fascinating to me. The politics not so much. But politics always bore me.

Second of all, let's talk about the romance. I loved Lira and Elian. They were both amazing characters. Anti-heros who were so alike and yet so different. I think the romance happened a bit fast. I felt like after Elian came back for her, it was instant. It wasn't that obvious and it didn't bother me, but it was there. I shipped it though. I truly did.

I will talk about the pace of the book a bit. I felt like certain parts that needed more pages were rushed and the opposite. I felt like the book didn't have the best balance. And also I would like to say something about the other characters, except Elian and Lira. While I loved these two characters with a passion, I don't think the author succeeded as much to make the other characters memorable. They were all lovable, but they were just there for me. Like they only served the purpose of being Elian's true family and they weren't something by themselves. It might be only me, but I don't think I will remember these characters after a while.

To sum it all up, this was a thrilling debut. With many mistakes and faults, but the story was enthralling. I will remember it for a long time (mostly because of the Greek lol) but after I remember the butchered Greek, I will remember this beautiful story. So... till the next one K BYE!
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.6k followers
November 22, 2019
oh man. this is soooo dark. apparently everything disney taught me about the little mermaid is so very wrong! and honestly, i really dont mind.

this retelling is quite gripping. i sped through it because i was dying to know how everything was going to play out. the only drawback i experienced was i didnt like lira. i mean, who knew it could be so difficult to relate to cold, heartless sea witch?? lol. but all the top notch banter and sarcasm definitely made up for it!

3.5 stars
757 reviews2,349 followers
May 13, 2018
remember when i said this book was good?? well it is, but you know what, the more i think about it, the more i've realized that the ending was anticlimatic as fuck and Lira and Elian's relationship can choke on balls the size of my pEn!!!!

i guess i really hyped this up and ended up giving it 4 stars in a rush because i was really enjoying it in the moment, but once the ending came and i actually used my brain to think about it, i was like hMmMmMmMmmmm NO THIS IS KIND OF A PIECE OF SHIT!!!!


first off, this has such an interesting plot. a killer siren princess who rips the hearts out of princey boys to represent her age(??). but then little ruthless Lira fucked up and abusive piece of shit mommy got really mad and turned her into a! human! and that's like,,, very humiliating in the siren world, and on the land, our prince/pirate boy Elian kills sirens. one day on his ship, he sees a woman floating in the sea and decides to help her. le shock, it issa me, mArIo is Lira!!!! and that's how killer siren/human hybrid babies are made . and so she decides to help him on his quest and whatever!!!

what i love so much about these two characters is how they always have a witty comeback prepared for anything the other person says and it's like an indirect challenge to leave the other person speechless by roasting tf out of them. THAT IS THE TYPE OF CONTENT I NEVER KNEW I WANTED. and i got it from lira and elian sjkfbqdw. they're so fucking funnyyy!!! and lira being clueless about many everyday human things added on to the comedic aspect. i genuinely found myself laughing.

also, elian's crew is GOALS AF. they're funny, strong, loyal, loving and so protective towards each other. they always got each others backs their friendships are just so pure and wholesome!!!

THE FEMALE CHARACTERS BLEW ME AWAY WITH DAT BADASSERY !! the princess, the girl on elian's crew and lira and some of the other woman are so fucking brutal and badass, someone pick me up because holy shit, it was fine af


also, there's a lot of death, and brutal murdering, it's great, you should read it! :)


something about the writing and world building felt very lacking and monotonous. the action scenes also, felt really not as intense as they should have been. like, the writing is just MONOTONOUS !!






[rage quits and dies]

buddy read with my girl Yusra
Profile Image for Leonie.
66 reviews40.6k followers
November 22, 2020
4.5 dark and gripping stars

this book has pirates, a sea journey along various fantasy coasts, an enemies-to-lovers romance that's on the backburner and driven forward by the character development...

It made me feel both thrilling excitement and a warm kind of nostalgia. How could I not love it?
Profile Image for Lia Carstairs.
417 reviews2,318 followers
June 11, 2021
Me being able to read 1000 page books easily but taking centuries to read this 344 page book🤡


So I gave this 2 stars at first, but then realized that I literally did not enjoy a single part of this book so here we are at 1 star😌 Another book that put me through torture :' )

This was the blandest book I've ever read. I think it might even be worse than Crooked Kingdom haha *sobbing* I didn't think I'd be finding another book with a boring cast, plot, and story so soon. I hate this.

I'm really questioning whether or not I read the same book as everyone else. And I'm wheezing at the fact that my demonic bestie thought the complete opposite of me. I love that omg.

It's been a month since I read this book so bear with me as I try to remember what was the plot and whatnot.

"The thing about taking something that's not yours is that there will always be someone out there ready to take it back."

As the daughter of the Sea Queen, <Siren Princess Lira is supposed to take her eighteenth heart of a prince on her eighteenth birthday. But because Lira doesn't know patience and thirsts for the heart of a prince even though she literally just had to wait two more weeks... she takes the heart of one earlier than expected which goes against all rules and tradition etc, etc.

She does something else bad which I don't remember, but as punishment, her mother decides to banish Lira from the Sea Kingdom and turn her into a human, giving her the task of stealing a prince's heart before the Winter Solstice. Failure means she will stay a human forever. *gasp* the horror.

“If your only instrument is a sword, then you will always strike at your problems.”

On a mission to kill all Sirens, Crown Prince Elian is often found at sea. One day he finds a ✨strange✨ girl out in the middle of the sea just... floating there and alive.

Now you see right away all of that just screams "Siren!" but of course, Elian brings her aboard and I can understand that since it's not known that Sirens can transform into humans. But... then you literally watch this strange girl as she speaks with another Siren right in front of you—and yet you still believe that she's human??? And a reminder that you literally found this strange girl floating in the middle of the ocean. Pleasee how dumb can you be??😭🤚

He takes in all the ridiculous explanations of her having learned a language that literally no other human has ever been known to speak? To say that Elian is a fool is an understatement :)

But I would've forgiven that. Let Elian be a fool—but as long as he's at least an interesting fool BUT THAT WASNT WHAT I GOT. Elian here has a personality of a rock. Actually wait that's an insult to the rock. Anyways, I'm tired of boring love interests :/

And Lira is no better. She's just as boring. You'd think because she's a Siren and feasts on the hearts of princes, she would be a super cool character but nope🤡 Honestly, it's like the author was trying too hard for Lira to look cruel and evil that it in the end it all looked like a joke. I could not take Lira seriously at all.

Also with my copy of this book, it didn't show the names of either of the two at the top of each chapter so like the way I wasn't able to distinguish who was talking in the beginning-

Oh and the romance is a joke. I was promised enemies-to-lovers and yet somehow even that managed to bore me to death. I never thought the day would come when I'd find that trope to be boring like?? The world has gone wrong. The bantering just made me cringe, I'm not even kidding. Just please tell me, HOW DO YOU MAKE AN ENEMIES-TO-LOVERS ROMANCE LAME???

At least there was some gorgeous fanart though.

The only reason I actually managed to finish this was because I started listening to the audiobook. Me, who never listens to audiobooks listened to the one for this book because I just couldn't get through the story. It was so boring *sobbing*

Anyways, my expectations were too high for this and clearly that was a mistake on my part. I will say that the one relationship I did actually like in this book was between Madrid and Kye. Now their bantering was perfect and I enjoyed it. Lira and Elian could learn a lot from those two.

(1.5⭐)—for the beautiful fanart this book didn't deserve.

•─────⋅☾ ♆ ☽⋅─────•

buddy read with demons crisis krizzie and lucid lucy!! <33

•─────⋅☾ ♆ ☽⋅─────•

Pre-read Review:

sirens, princes, and enemies-to-lovers trope??? *very hyped*
Profile Image for Maditales.
581 reviews23.7k followers
August 22, 2023
I like stories about mermaids and pirates but the language used in this book, was hilarious in a bad way.

He really said: “sorry I don’t speak bitch”

We are in a world that is in the past where we have old pirate books, sirens, magic etc AND YOU SAY THAT???
I visible flinched.

And no, this doesn’t happen just once. There’s multiple moments in this book where they say things where I just had to look into the voice bc it made no sense for them to use “slang” in this world.

Let’s not forget that they make out while their friends are dying RIGHT ON THE BATTLE FIELD
Profile Image for High Lady of The Night Court.
135 reviews5,082 followers
December 6, 2018
Two kingdoms that come with responsibilities we each have trouble bearing. Him, the shackles of being pinned to one land and one life. Me, trapped in the confines of my mother’s murderous legacy. And the ocean, calling out to us both. A song of freedom and longing.

Reading this book was an amazing experience, I absolutely flew through it. To me this book doesn’t feel like a standalone because I have grown to care for these characters impossibly fast, and I will miss them dearly. The story was very well written, it didn’t feel rushed, it didn’t feel slow, it had the perfect pace and conveyed exactly want it wanted to say.

In this book we follow Lira, the Siren known as Prince’s Bane, and Elian, the prince who is also a Siren killer. We join a human Lira in her attempt to kill Elian and gain the Sea Queen’s favor in order to be turned back into a Siren and a worthy heir to the throne. We join Elian in his attempt to find an object that will help him eliminate Sirenkind once and for all. Both of them are trying to the the exact opposite of what the other wants, which is kind of hilarious, but seeing them contemplate whether what they are doing what it wants is mesmerising.

Lira is the heir to the Siren kingdom, she has been pressurised all her life to get rid of her humanity and has been oppressed to become the emotionless, vile creature her mother wants her to be. Elian is a prince, who hates the confines of his duties, and chooses to escape them by becoming a pirate and hunting sirens, with the people he trusts.

Every time we are given a glimpse from Lira’s childhood, the torment she is put through because she is the heir to the Sea is truly grievous. A siren, no matter what is still s girl, a child, whose humanity was stolen from her at an age where it would shape her personality for the rest of her life. And watching Lira’s humanity being stripped away from her piece by piece, and by her own mother, is heartbreaking. But as much as it made her a monster, it gave her a sense of responsibility to take what is hers and protect it.

Elian’s interactions with his crew are just as endearing. The camaraderie between him and his crew is something to marvel at. Once Lira spends more time around this amazing group of people, none of can deny the tiny spark of humanity that rises in her, however against her wishes. We witness her contemplate that spark and realise the truth of how evil she has become, and that maybe even wanting to be like her mother was wrong.

The truth of what I am has become a nightmare.

More than anything we slowly realise that there are small things in their lives, which they have either found or created to find solace in. Elian finds that solace in being with his crew, the family he chose who are the people he can truly be himself with. And Lira in all her savageness she chose to protect her cousin, the one person she saw an innocence in worth protecting. Without even knowing it, by protecting her cousin Lira was protecting not only a spark of innocence, but also the part of her that is human enough to choose love and kindness over the monster her mother wanted her to become.

We see both of them run from the people they were forced to become because of the position they were born in, we see them resent the people they were raised to be and find them fighting their way out of the moulds society carved for them.
This is a story of a girl and a boy pushed to be people they don’t want to be. A story of how they choose the be the people they want to be and watching them grow to realize who they really want to be is an amazing experience. I highly recommend it and if you are thinking of reading this book I urge you to read it.
I mean come on you can't possibly go wrong with pirates! And believe me when I say we've gone a long way from Little Mermaid.
Profile Image for Angelica.
814 reviews1,155 followers
September 3, 2020
You guys! Go read this book! It was so good. Like, sooooo good and I just finished reading it like ten minutes ago and I'm dying right now. And AAAAAAAHHHHHH, I literally can't even! Seriously though. UUUGGHHHH!!!

But anyway, now that I got my incoherent rambling out of the way, let's talk about this book and the fact that I loved it.

This here isn't your typical Little Mermaid retelling. There's no sweet princess with romantic ideas about the human world. No innocent prince looking for love.

Instead, we get Lira, a cruel siren princess who takes pleasure in ripping the hearts of princes right out of their drowning bodies. We also get Elian, a daring young prince who has devoted his life to hunting and killing sirens.

"Technically, I'm a murderer, but I like to think that's one of my better qualities."

They are both rough around the edges, both willing to do whatever they deem necessary, and both unafraid to get their hands a little bloody. When fate thrusts them together what we get is a book worth of verbal battles as they use their wit to draw each other out. We get tension and action, we get slowly building friendships and even slower building romances. Basically, we get a lot of awesome things that you are just gonna have to see for yourself.

The author's writing style is truly beautiful. It's fluid and enchanting and I cannot wait to see what else she writes in the future because I'm officially a fan. I loved how she wrote the narrative and especially how she wrote the dialogue between characters. You could tell how close they all were and how their relationships were built. And the conversations between Lira and Elian were absolutely golden!

The characters themselves were equally magnificent. Yes, Lira and Elian were amazing,  we know that, but it wasn't just them, it was everyone else too. All of the characters we meet are fleshed out, well-rounded characters. They have wants and needs and personalities that don't revolve around just making the plot happen. Basically what I'm saying is that they were all real characters and not just convenient plot devices, and I loved them all.

Then there was the world in which this story took place. It was unique and intriguing. I loved the way the author incorporated so many different myths into the story, seamlessly weaving them into her world without distracting from the main storyline. For example, Midas myth with the city of gold was great, as were the myths of the other royal families.  Also, just putting this out here, this world was extremely diverse! You really do get the sense that it's a whole world being created, not just the stereotypical, magical version of England or France or some other big European country that we've all grown uncomfortably accustomed to in YA fantasy.

Overall, I really liked this book, in case you hadn't yet noticed. But, all my gushing aside, this was an extremely well written, highly imaginative retelling, and it was so much better than I ever thought it would be.

My one complaint, because I wouldn't be me if I didn't complain about something, is that the chapters weren't labeled. The book had dual POV and it didn't always evenly alternate between Lira and Elian, so sometimes I would get to the third paragraph in a chapter before I realized which character I was reading from. Other than that, I must say kudos to you, Alexandra Christo. This was one heck of a debut.

**I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.**

This review first appeared on The Book Cover Girl blog.

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Profile Image for  ••Camila Roy••.
161 reviews49 followers
July 19, 2018

I LOVED THIS BOOK!! Is it weird that I am obssessed with the two main characters? They're fkn murderers! I don't think that's ever happened before.

It's not my style to include synopsis in my reviews, but I'll make an exception just this once because I really want others to read it. We got two POVs in this story: The first is from a siren princess that kills human princes. The second one is from a human prince that kills sirens. Their paths cross and...you'll have to find out the rest for yourself ??

This was one of my most anticipated reads of the year and I'm sooo glad it didn't disappoint. Once I started I could not stop. It felt so real, which is ironic because it's a fantasy. Something about Lira and Elian was addicting and I couldn't get enough.

I do have a couple of complains, though. The big reveal (when one of the characters found out about the other's identity) was too simple. I don't know what I was expecting, honestly. Maybe a little more yelling? Or just a heated argument? Whatever, I can overlook that part. However, Elian's decision at the end is kind of hard to process. Maybe I'm just used to fantasy characters being overly complicated and I can't settle for simplicity.

Best thing about this book? The EPIC plot. I don't have much experience reading retellings but I definitely felt a Little Mermaid vibe from this. Mission accomplished, autor!

In conclussion, this is definitely a favorite of the month and possibly of the year. Was it worth the wait? YES. Would I recommend it? YESSSS!
Profile Image for theburqaavenger➹.
126 reviews565 followers
May 5, 2023
A pirate prince who wears eyeliner O H M Y G O O D N E S S

In all seriousness To Kill a Kingdom is brilliant. Yes it does feel like a debut at times but THAT is what forced me appreciate all the others aspects of this book. It was dark (i like), it was funny (i love), it was enemies to lovers (my heart), it has bromance (kill me now), it has amazing banter (gah!), it has a whole pirate crew (*dreamy sighs*), it has sirens (seriously) and it has Elian (my husband) who is also a pirate prince.

Honestly i am impressed by the way the author handled their relationship it was s l o w b u r n - it was believable, it was fast-paced and most importantly the author makes you root for them. Some one in the heavens must have been busy because damn the banter in this book is so witty and their were so many clever puns. There is so much sass my shipper heart felt so happy.
Elian says. “When I marry, it won’t be about power.”
“What will it be, then?”
“You’re right,” I tell him, trying to shake the melancholy from my voice. “Spending a lifetime with you would be a sacrifice.”
“Oh?...What would you be losing?” he asks.
“If I married you?” I stand to tower above him, pushing away the unraveling thing inside me. “I suppose it would be my mind.”

This is true love guys. If that doesn't capture your attention here is another one:
“How strange that instead of taking his heart, I'm hoping he takes mine.”


Anyways, I absolutely LOVED the world-building. gah! This book is action packed. It's fast paced. It's a standalone fantasy and it lives up to the hype! I am so happy i picked it up. And can we please have more pirate princes who wear eyeliners in YA fantasy?
Profile Image for Sabrina.
477 reviews252 followers
February 13, 2019
“His face makes no difference.” I drop her hand. “It’s his heart I’m after.”
“So many hearts.” Her voice is angelic. “You’ll soon run out of room to bury them all.”
I lick my lips. “Maybe,” I say. “But a princess must have her prince.”

This book is so unique and fun to read.
SIRENS 🧜‍♀️ and PIRATES, just how freaking awesome is that?!?
I have an unhealthy obsession with sirens and pirates 🤪

Lira and Elian are awesome, funny, sarcastic, intelligent and badass. I love the dynamic that they have and the relationship development was fantastic.
“We are not naïve little heirs to be molded as they wish. We are warriors. We are rulers”

The villain of the story was great and real and really after all a freaking villain to the core!!!
“She is a performer as much as she is a queen.”

The side characters are amazing and the friendships are so funny.

And how they didn’t try to justify every bad thing they did and they forgive each other is just life💘.

The writing, literally everything was just on point in this one!!

I had all of my questions answered, and for a single book, a lot happened and all made bloody sense. Which may be hard to find in a standalone.

One scene in particular that I can’t really say (spoiler) just made me so happy 😍😁. I was smiling so hard. It was just an entertaining read!!
“I smile at that, because Elian of all people should know better. He should know to have more faith in myth and fairy tale”

BR with Ronak(Pihu) Gajjar💕.
Profile Image for l..
491 reviews2,137 followers
January 5, 2022
You can now find my full review here!

I finished reading this very hyped book—and I wasn’t crippled by disappointment? To quote May: “omg, lily liking a popular book?? is the world still spinning??” It may have stopped for a second, or two.

But, in all seriousness, To Kill a Kingdom is brilliant.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not perfect by all means; in fact, I found the initial chapters that introduce us to the world of sirens, mermaids, and the Sea, as well as the world above water with its various kingdoms, a bit dull at times—and I was afraid I’d end up resenting this book.

But much like an avalanche gaining speed, power, and force as it nears the bottom of the slope, I slowly came to be completely enraptured with it, as it turned more and more action-packed, volatile, and grand in every way.

To Kill a Kingdom is in its essence a retelling of the fairytale The Little Mermaid, but the only elements of the story that are adopted from it are that a sea creature is turned into a human girl by an evil witch, and her fate hinges on whether or not she manages to fulfill the witch’s quest. Only, in this book’s case, it’s not a mermaid that is cursed, but a deadly siren, and the evil witch is her mother, the Sea Queen.

Our heroine Lira, a royal siren, and daughter of the Sea Queen, is nothing like the sweet, innocent, gullible Arielle in the fairytale. She’s fierce, ruthless, and bloodthirsty.

“I can’t help but be mesmerized. Such beautiful creatures. Such bewitching, deadly things. Even as they sharpen their fangs on their lips and run taloned hands through their liquid hair, I can’t look away. Everything about them is awful, but nothing about them is hideous.”

Through an unfortunate turn of events, she mistakenly saves Prince Elian instead of killing him by stealing his heart, and so her mother punishes her by turning her into a human girl.

I was honestly so impressed by the development of Elian and Lira’s relationship—the tenuous (mis-)trust, the banter, and the initial aversion between them—it was very believable, well-paced, and most significantly, I found myself rooting for them.

“It feels like the worst thing I’ve ever done and the best thing I could ever do and how strange that the two are suddenly the same. How strange that instead of taking his heart, I’m hoping he takes mine.”

To Kill a Kingdom does feel like a debut novel at times, but it somehow only served to reinforce the positive impression it made on me. It was both darker, but also funnier than I expected—it comprised so many clever puns (which I’m a sucker for) and witty banter, and it featured immensely rounded characters who were snarky, and endearing, as well as great relationships (bless the bromance in this book).

I’m so happy that such a hyped book for once worked out for me.
Profile Image for Reynita ★ The Night Reader ★.
123 reviews939 followers
July 23, 2018


I honestly don't know where to begin. This book disappointed me very much and it's not like I had high expectations before reading it, in fact my expectations before reading it were pretty low because I didn't know what to expect and I just wanted to read it. I thought that at least this would be a 3 star read for me but nope, that didn't happen or maybe this book just isn't a cup of my tea.

To be honest, I rarely read books about sirens or pirates and I don't know why, those aren't really my favorites but if the stories were good or seemed good for me, then I would definitely read them and I read this book because they synopsis sounded good and I was intrigued to know more about the book and I wish I didn't read this book. I fucking wasted my time.

There were some parts that I liked in this book though ( thankfully! ).

❤ I liked how brutal and scary it was. It was pretty scary and interesting to read and this book was good enough if I only thought about how scary and brutal it was.
❤ The secondary characters! omg I really liked Madrid and Kye. They were such good characters and They were A LOT more interesting than Lira or Elian. Madrid and Kye made me laugh or grinned several times and they were also cute and I liked them so much!

What I did not like :

☹ The pacing of the book was really slow. I love slow pacing books but THAT WAS TOO SLOW and I was bored. I kept reading it because I was still patient enough and I still wanted to know more about the book BUT OH MY GOD, THIS BOOK WAS SO SLOW and I did not have the patience anymore to read it so I skimmed reading it when I reached page 214.

☹ This book was fucking boring. I swear, I almost always fell asleep or felt sleepy when I read this book. ( except when Madrid or Kye made me laugh or when the book scared me )
There were actions scenes in this book but they just didn't hold my interest. The book was just boring and when I read this book time moved so slow and I just couldn't read fast enough and it frustrated me! because I just wanted to finish reading this book. That's all I wanted.

☹ I don't know what to say about Elian and Lira. They were not plain but they were not interesting either. The only characters that I cared were Madrid and Kye. I didn't care about Elian and Lira.

☹ I can't say much about the romance other than I didn't care about it and I also didn't feel anything toward the romance.

Basically, I am just so disappointed right now and I wasted my time reading it.


Me : *holds the book and whispers to it*
Me : Goodbye. I will never miss you.



After not reading a book for several days, I AM FINALLY READING A BOOK AGAIN! YAY! Have you guys read this book? And what do you think of it? (no spoiler please ) 😊
Profile Image for krista ☽✧.
172 reviews530 followers
May 11, 2021
“Everyone is a blank canvas, waiting to be filled with the colour of discovery.”

“Technically, I’m a murderer, but I like to think that’s one of my better qualities.” - JUST LOOK AT THE BANTER. 4.5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

OKAY I HAVE A NEW BOOK 😏fav that is now on my favorite list. I honestly loved this book and i am so sad its over , one of the best Fantasy standalones that i have read in my reading life. But the thing i always have with a stand alone is that i am sad when its finished and i just want more but oh well i also have that with a 8 book series * throne of glass * * cough * i justt get to attatched. but yes read this its so good. !!!

It has lots of great tropes that i am a sucker for.
- very slowburn enemies to lovers with lots of banter , i am obsessed with Lira and Elian ok ?
- a found family of pirates
- lots of found family banter
- A morally grey female charracter that reminds me of lila la bard from a darker shade of magic

And it has a unique worldbuilding with pirates and sirens and mermaids.

To kill a kingdom follows two main charracters who both have their own pov that switches. The first pov is the pov of Lira who is the daughter of the sea queen aka the most powerfull siren in the ocean world and queen of the ocean. She has been raised needing to kill for her mother and get approval by her evil mother to be worthy of her and the sea kingdom so yes she is very morally grey as she has raised in this way and is a killer. Lira has the hearts of human princes that she killed , one for each life of her year but one day she kills a prince to early and upsets the sea queen who banishes her to the human world and makes her a human instead of a siren. Then she meets up with prince Elian my sassy boy , who wants to be a pirate and is also commander of a ship with a found family of pirates on it [ nikolai is this you ??? ] the prince she is supposed to kill as the last heart in her collection before she will turn queen herself. Elian is a siren hunter and kills sirens for sport but then he rescues a drowing woman in the middle of the sea while he is on a mission too get the key to destory the sea world and ruling of the sea queen who isnt actually a human * winks * their paths cross and they team up. Lira gets into a journey of questioning the way she is raised and the way her kingdom lives under the rule of her mother and what is good and where she wants to stand for aka morally grey. While Elian is struggeling with not wanting to be king but also wanting to make the world a saver place by getting rid for the sirens , but are all sirens evil???????

just look at this banter ;
“Elian raises an eyebrow. “You were a lot more charming when you were unconscious.”

”What would you be losing?” he asks.
“If I married you?” I stand to tower above him, pushing away the unraveling thing inside me. “I suppose it would be my mind.”

I also love the writing , its very pretty and has good quotes and everything just flows.

Overall this book is such a fun twist on the little mermaid story and i loved it somuch. It has lots of amazing aspects and especially the banter between all the charracters was so funny and entertaining and i came to really care for the charracters and i love the charracter development in this book somuch. I reccomend it to everyone who wants to read a fairy tale retelling standalone with banter , enemies to lovers slowburn , found family and morally greyness.
Profile Image for ❄️BooksofRadiance❄️.
614 reviews763 followers
July 20, 2018

This was one of my most anticipated reads of 2018 but for some reason I still went in with some doubts, and I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised -for the most part-.

If I could sum this up in one word it’d be - fun. That’s it, it was a fun and engaging read that had its ups as well as downs.
It would’ve also been a sold 4-star read had it not been for the unnecessary, far fetched romance that completely ruined the entire narrative for me.

Starting off with what I liked:

✨The sirens:

Damn, I loved how dark and vile they were. I don’t like retellings and I also don’t like children’s books -Disney and whatnot-, they’re not the sort of books I grew up reading; I didn’t like them when I was a child myself and I certainly don’t like them now so I had a very restricted knowledge of the Little Mermaid story going in. Thus, for me this was refreshing. They were just deliciously dark and sinister which I had a joyous time reading.

✨How Lira and Elian started off:

The other thing I loved was how unrelenting and ruthless both Lira and Elian were, at least at the beginning. They were both sharp-witted and set in their ways to accomplish whatever messed up goals they had: Lira, to kill and take the prince’s heart and Elian, to rid the world of sirens. At least, that was the case...😒
- I also loved the banter and snark between all of the characters, not just Lira & Elian. It was as if they were incapable of having a straightforward conversation. Each comment was met with an equally snarky and snide comeback, and I was here for it.

Now to the dreaded drawbacks, (had to be done).

✨The unnecessary, unrealistic, unreasonable romance. That’s right. 🤦‍♀️

I get it. This is YA and in YA, the term platonic does not exist. All roads have to lead back to a bloody romance! I’m sick of it.
I just don’t get it; where, in what (stupid) rule book, does it say that two people who start off as strangers have to end up as lovers!? Why not end as comrades? As friends? Or even stay enemies while helping one another further their personal agenda?

This could and would have been a fantastic book if it hadn’t been ruined by their sudden newfound “love” for each other. All that ruthlessness, from both characters, that I was so attracted to instantly dissipated the moment they started getting all weak and sappy (I am, by no means, saying romance makes you weak but some semblance of believability makes all the difference).
I was promised a ruthless siren and relentless prince on a murdering rampage - obviously, not the case here at all.

✨Lira’s change of heart:

This’s a continuation to what I’ve just said above but for whatever reason, I found her change of heart even more irksome than I did Elian’s.
She’s born a siren. Raised as a siren and was only a human for, what, just a few days? So, what, that’s all it takes to change one’s nature? Just a few days for her to suddenly forget everything she’s known, her very nature as a siren and grow human emotions? Again, I’m not saying these are bad, not for a human. But not in this particular situation, with a siren.

✨Elian’s crusade:

This, I had the biggest problem with.
I had such a hard time believing his crusade as the saviour of humanity, as “the deadly siren hunter”.

Here’s the thing, yes, sirens are deadly in this world BUT not exactly deadly enough to have all the neighbouring kingdoms come together and “fight the big fight” because unless you invade their space which obviously is the seas, they pretty much can’t do anything to you or your land.
Even his father, the king, doesn’t really take Elian’s crusade as seriously and only considers it a sort of, ‘get this adventure out of your system before you take the throne’ kind of a thing. So, for me it felt almost like a child’s play. There was just no urgency to it. It wasn’t like the world was going to cease to exist if Elian didn’t “stop the sirens”.

Aside from these tiny issues, great, great read. Really. 👍
Profile Image for destiny ♡ howling libraries.
1,743 reviews5,291 followers
June 23, 2018
Let me say, first and foremost, that I am such a total sucker for books revolving around the ocean, whether it involves pirates, mermaids, sirens, sea creatures, or any mix of those things. When I first heard about this story of a vicious siren chasing down a pirate prince who slays her kind, it skyrocketed to the top of my list of most anticipated releases for 2018. I had every gut feeling in the world that I was going to positively adore this novel, and as you’ll see in my review, I was not disappointed.

It’s the princes who hold the allure. In their youth. In the allegiance of their people. In the promise of the leader they could one day become. They are the next generation of rules, and by killing them, I kill the future. Just as my mother taught me.

→ Lira ←
While the story alternates between two perspectives, the first one that we are introduced to is Lira, also known as the Prince’s Bane for her cruel slayings of princes. As the daughter of the Sea Queen, her task is to rip the still-beating heart from one prince on each of her birthdays. My favorite thing about Lira, right off the bat, was the fact that she wasn’t some gooey, sweet young girl on the inside; she is unapologetically vicious and coldhearted, which we quickly see is the end result of a lifetime of abuse from her mother.

Technically, I’m a murderer, but I like to think that’s one of my better qualities.

Lira’s interactions with Elian, once she finds herself stranded on his pirate ship, are the definition of enemies-to-lovers behavior: she’s feisty, angry, mean, and conniving, without ever going overboard enough to become genuinely unlikeable. The fact that she has such a difficult home life awaiting her under the sea makes it hard to view her as an outright “villain”, and at many times, I found myself struggling to determine who I wanted to root for: the cutthroat siren, or the vengeance-seeking prince.

In my heart, I’m as wild as the ocean that raised me.

→ Prince Elian ←
Early in the story, we learn that Lira isn’t the only one trying to live up to their parents’ expectations; while Elian’s family wants him to embrace the kingdom and his future throne, all the young prince wants is his ship, his crew, and the ocean breeze in his sails. I have a total soft spot for these sorts of pirates, whose days are filled less with pillaging and plundering, and more with adventures, heists, and a healthy appreciation for families that are composed not of blood, but of loyalty and friendship. Elian is the single most lovable pirate lord I’ve ever read about, and his crew is an extension of that. They are so fun, snarky, and loyal to a fault.

Royalty cannot be unmade. Birth rights cannot be changed. Hearts are forever scarred by our true nature.

Much like I enjoyed the three-dimensionality of Lira’s spiky exterior, I loved the fact that Elian could have so easily been degraded to a run-of-the-mill “good guy”, but is instead a fantastic antihero. He’s clever, a little callous, and capable of fantastic scheming and thievery. He’s a prince, and arguably the lesser of the evils in this batch of characters, but the author never lets us forget that he is still a pirate – not a hero. (I’d also like to take a moment to point out here that Elian is either black or biracial – we know that his father is black, but his mother’s ethnicity is never confirmed, as far as I recall – which I thought was a fantastic reprieve from the stereotypical “Prince Eric”-inspired guy in stories like this.)

“I’d be flattered,” I say, “that you would look for an excuse just to hold my hand.”
“Perhaps I’m just looking for an excuse to shoot you.”

→ romance ←
There are three things that I absolutely never get tired of in romantic subplots: 1) good, witty banter, 2) enemies-to-lovers tropes, and 3) slow burns. This book checks all three of those boxes magnificently. The back-and-forth chatter between Lira and Elian is so fun and sharp, and the way they shift from distrust and a touch of loathing to something more is so delightful to watch. I was rooting so hard for both of them not only to succeed, but to find a way to succeed together. Best of all, this particular dose of enemies-to-lovers doesn’t breach into abuse territory or a gross power imbalance, as these tropes are so prone to falling into in a lot of YA/NA titles.

Every queen began as a siren, and when the crown passed to her, its magic stole her fins and left in their place mighty tentacles that held the strength of armies.

→ sea lore ←
I don’t think I could pick just one favorite thing about this story, but if I had to make a list of the traits that would tie for first place, the lore would absolutely make it into that tie. The sirens aren’t depicted as some frail, beautiful creatures; while gorgeous, they’re otherworldly, haunting, wild, fanged things who show no mercy and are powerful enough to wipe out grown men with a single blow. The mermaids are differentiated solidly from the sirens, as inhuman, grotesque creatures with unhinged jaws and bizarre bodies – they’re fabulously creepy and dark, and I loved every single interaction with them.

The truth of what I am has become a nightmare.

While this story never feels like a simple retelling, there’s one aspect that definitely paid homage to some very old and well-known stories, and that is the Sea Queen. The backstory given explains that the power of becoming queen turns sirens into these terrifying, tentacled beings that are incredibly powerful and magical. Lira’s own mother wields her power with pure brutality, and while I won’t spoil for you the curse she places upon her daughter, it’s a delightful twist on the classic tale and made me downright giddy.

I’ve become so used to being brutal, that I almost forget it didn’t begin as a choice.

→ final thoughts ←
As I mentioned in the preface of this review, To Kill a Kingdom was, hands down, one of my most anticipated releases of 2018, and not a single sentence of it disappointed me. I was captivated from the very first page, and am so delighted to have been granted the opportunity to read it early. I buddy read it with a few friends, who I’ll link to below, and if it tells you anything about how wonderful this story was, every single one of us 5-starred this book at the end of the reading. I think I was only a few chapters into the ARC when I pre-ordered my finished copy, because this is a beautiful stand-alone that I could easily see myself picking up over and over again.

Content warnings: abuse, violence, murder, self-harm, sexual harassment.

All quotes are taken from an unfinished ARC and may differ from the final publication. Thank you to Feiwel & Friends for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

You can find this review and more on my blog, or you can follow me on twitter, bookstagram, or facebook!
Profile Image for Arini.
857 reviews1,772 followers
May 13, 2023
2nd Read, April 2020 — 3.5 Stars
1st Read, March 2018 — 4 Stars

Honestly, it should be a crime that siren/pirate-esque books with as much (if not more) badassery as this one are terribly hard to come by. I need moreee of them in my life! That being said, this book is MARVELOUS. But my reread this time has also brought a couple things into perspective.

“I’ve made a mistake. It started with a prince, as most stories do. Once I felt the thrum of his heart beneath my fingers, I couldn’t forget it.”

To Kill a Kingdom offers an interesting take on The Little Mermaid tale by turning it into an adventure type of story adorned with themes of friendship, nobel quest, found family, and royal intrigue. It’s dark and brutal and stabby for a YA fantasy. Not to mention, our heroine is everything Ariel isn’t. So for me, that’s a plus.

I loved Elian and Lira as individual characters. Whereas Lira is a murderous siren who enjoys ripping the heart out of some prince’s body, Elian is the adventurous, ruthless, and charming pirate who hunts creatures from the likes of Lira and wants nothing to do with becoming a king even though it’s his birthright.

“Everyone is a blank canvas, waiting to be filled with the color of discovery.”

The secondary characters (Elian’s crew) are a true blessing. They’re funny, loyal, and protective. And the ‘girl power’ friendship growing between Lira and Madrid is just #goals. The snarky banter and witty dialogues give vibrancy to the perilous task the crew is undertaking. The sea setting is an absolute aesthetic pleasure.

Now in my opinion, the mission itself sounds dangerous. But everything about the journey just felt . . . easy with not enough stakes on the line? Even when the crew arrives at their final destination, I was expecting more hurdles, but it’s over in a blink. To add to that, the final battle is a little anticlimactic and quickly turns to mush with Elian and Lira’s PDAs.

“I let it all fall away. My mission, my kingdom. The world. They exist somewhere other than in this moment, and now there is only this. Me, my ship, and a girl with oceans in her eyes.”

I’m not picky when it comes to romance in this genre. But Lira and Elian are not doing it for me as a couple. I know people are calling it a slow burn, but I thought it was just so sudden. They have a great PLATONIC relationship development. Then it’s like the book decided to portray them as lovers at the last minute.

(Read as an Audiobook)
Profile Image for Sara ➽ Ink Is My Sword.
569 reviews438 followers
April 16, 2018
4 “An awesome debut novel” Stars
”Pirates are liars by trade and royals are liars by blood.”

This is a fantasy novel in I had a blast while reading it, it was such a fun experience. And recently this has been a struggle since I am shifting my reading preferences towards the contemporary genre. I was so scared to be let down by this book, and I can gladly now say, I was not. The hype surrounding this book is crazy, but it honestly deserves it.

An adventure with my lovely Monty. I was trash and kind of left Dianna, but it was still an awesome decision to pick this up.

I am still in awe of the fact this was a debut novel, it was so refreshing and well crafted. I am looking forward to future works by Alexandra and see how she grows.

The writing was beautiful. I usually tend to have a hard time getting into fantasies, but I was so immersed since the first chapter in this tale. It has a bit of fairy tale whimsical taste to it, which I was definitely fond of. I am also a big fan of the dialogues in between Lira and Elian, literally, it was like looking to people in a ping-pong match. A-D-D-I-C-T-I-N-G.

The world building, captivated me. I want more. I know this is strictly a stand-alone fantasy novel, but I would totally read other stories in this same world (*cough* Sakura and Queen Galina *cough*). I am so overwhelmed by all the possibilities the author has within this novel, all the different lands are rich in possibilities. Even background stories of characters we met in this book, like Madrid. I am telling you, I had to constantly have a break to whisper, holy shit this is so good at the start when we were introduced to the whole siren mechanics and rule. I was mermerazid yeah it should have been sirenized but you get it..

The plot/ premise is all I never thought I needed. This was so much fun, and I loved everything about this epic adventure. I will say the ending was a bit disappointing for me.

Characters/ the badass creations of Alexandra Christo’s imagination. It has been a while since I was such a fan of the main characters in a fantasy story okay maybe Penryn from angelfall, but shhhh.. Lira captivated me with her crudeness, pride, and savage attitude. I loved to see how she grew to feel, although I will not lie I was more fan of the ruthless Lira. And Elian was so relatable, his trouble to finding a place to fit in, I got you. I just loved the whole crew, the banter, and the loyalty. They were so fun yet dark and deep at the same time. Oh also, kudos for the Sea Queen imaginary, it was so weird, I loved it. Although my header image was not sexy at all. if you skip ahead you will see my cast for different characters lol.

Romance, I was like yes but at the same time not into it. So it has never happened to me before that I enjoy the couple more as individuals than together as a pair. Like I loved them, I loved their tension and banter and everything that lead to more, but when that more arrived I was underwhelmed. #where is the climax? And I was also sad that when Lira found love, her badass edge died quite a bit. Why can’t we have plain mean ruthless main female leads without becoming soft after they fall in love? I still liked it though, is just that kiss scenes was so plain, I was needy of more after all the tension built.

In conclusion, this could have been 5 stars but the last 20% left me unsatisfied for some reason. But I definitely recommend it, especially since we don’t get standalone fantasy YA anymore.

First my giph cast:
The Sea Queen:


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