To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
|To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo|
|Reviewer: Sophie Diamond|
|Summary: Interesting and enjoyable but one that needs another round of amends before hitting the shelves.|
|Buy? No||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 368||Date: March 2018|
|Publisher: Hot Key Books|
|External links: Author's website|
Lira and Elian are both royalty and they are both killers. Lira is the Siren princess, with seventeen princes' hearts buried in the sand of her bed. Elian is the Midasan prince, and an infamous Siren hunter. When his friend is murdered, Elian is determined to catch the worst Siren of them all, the one they call the prince's bane, and end this war between sea and land. Meanwhile Lira is hunting Elian, desperate to save herself and secure her place as Sea Queen. When fate throws them together, they embark on a mission for their own ends, but can they really destroy each other?
I'll start by saying that I actually liked this book. I enjoyed reading it a lot, the story was fast paced and I liked the balance the author created between the familiar fairy tale and a new take. That being said, there are some problems with this story. I'm a fan of the classics like many readers, but what confused me here was the use of Midas in a story in a new world. On the one hand it worked because you always associate the Midas touch with gold but on the other hand, if you're making up a new world, why use existing traditions in there? I'm battling with this one, because obviously the Siren is a mythological character too and that's the premise of the story. I appreciate nothing comes from nothing and that all fantasy evokes something else, but the placement of new and existing bothered me.
I liked the way the author described the land and sea kingdoms, I particularly like her descriptions of the mermaids and the mermen, I also thought her vision of the world was quite clear. A mixture of a man and magic, each kingdom specialising in something different. However, I found her descriptions confusing, especially in regards to the sea queen. I was picturing Ursula from the Little Mermaid and I can't work out how far off the mark I am. I also felt that when the author describes an action scene where there is a lot going on at once, that you lose track of anything that is going on. It all becomes too hectic and unfocussed. In short, I could have benefitted from some pictures.
Elian and Lira were actually very good characters, they were interesting, funny and you were on both of their sides. I thought Elian's crew were a great bunch of characters too. Characterisation is probably the author's greatest strength in this book. What I couldn't work out was who this story was aimed at and normally the characters are the main indicator of this. If it's late teens, I think the story is probably too nice and not dark enough, and if it's for younger then I'm not sure the language or the subtext is appropriate. I think the author has given in to a lot of pirate cliche's, especially in appearance and dialogue. And while this is fun in parts, it feels like weak pastiche in others. So much more could have been done to make this feel like an original story.
In short, I think this book is frustrating. It has a lot going for it and I really did enjoy it. You've got a great plot and great characters, but it feels like it needs cleaning and tightening up. This book has so much potential, but it falls short of being great.
You can read more book reviews or buy To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo at Amazon.com.
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