I’ve got another gem of a book to share with you all. So I recently went on holiday to Berlin and needed some new reading material for the week away (I didn’t really need a new book, but you know how it is). I filled my kindle up with some golden oldies and some new books I found on the Kindle store, one of them being To Kill A Kingdom, and I was ready for a week in Berlin. The reason I chose this book was that I decided to read the reviews (for once!) and it mentioned the first line of the book which is more than enough to capture your undivided interest.
I have a heart for every year I’ve been alive. There are seventeen hidden in the sand of my bedroom.
Talk about an engaging opening for a book! As well as an excellent opening line, the book is also recommended for fans of Sarah J. Maas books, whose work I adore, and Leigh Bargugo (I haven’t read her books, she’s the author of the Six of Crows series. Would you recommend I read this series?). So really I had no choice but to get stuck in about this book.
The book is told from two points of view, Lyra and Elian and it flicks between their points of view each chapter. Lyra is a siren who steals the hearts of princes and Elian is a Prince who longs for a life sailing the sea. Lyra is known as the Princes’ Bane among the humans, notorious for her desire to only steal the hearts of Princes, ripped straight from their chests. Lyra disobeys her mother’s orders and is punished by being turned into a human, left floating in the ocean. Elian is a siren killer and self-declared Pirate finds her and takes her aboard his ship. He wants nothing more than to put a stop to the notorious Princes’ Bane but takes Lyra aboard his ship, unknowing she is what he hunts in another form. The two embark on a journey to put a stop to the Sea Queen’s rule and recapture a long lost legend.
Something I loved about this book was the initial way that our two main characters both see themselves as bad people. Each of our main characters often takes the time to reflect back on the bad qualities that they both possess. Both of them very openly admit to being murderers, of varying degrees and their actions and views could be considered morally questionable at best. I find a relatable aspect of Lyra’s relationship with her mother (not to say that my mum is an evil sea-queen who steals hearts, but she isn’t entirely a saint either). But then, diamonds are formed under pressure. It just depends on how you chose to embrace. I feel it.
It was pleasant to see that Lyra didn’t give up who she was for a man. That much stays apparent throughout the whole book, although there is a very clear character development. She is by no means of the word good but, forged by something as twisted and cruel as the Sea Queen, it is unsurprising to see the values she holds at the beginning of the book. In a life where cruelty and bitterness are nurtured it is hard for love and compassion to bloom. But even in the darkest of hearts such feelings still bloom. Our anti-heroine doesn’t become soft, but instead alters her moral standing and forges a unity that stands to serve a much bigger picture. It is fair to say that this book is has a rather large undercurrent of romance to it but not in a conventional type of way. It grows but it is a very slow-burn but completely worth the journey. It very much progresses into it from two people not willing to find the time or care enough to try to two people drawn together under a common goal.
In the pits of our souls – if I amuse myself with the notion that I have a soul – Elian and I aren’t so different. Two kingdoms that come with responsibiliites 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.
Lyra sets out to steal the heart of a prince. In the end, he gives it up freely. I wouldn’t recommend this book if you chose your fantasy based on the romance factor but if you are willing to give it the time to bloom then you won’t be disappointed.
How strange that instead of taking his heart, I’m hoping he takes mine.
It is a dark and vicious story, fantasy with a slow-building romance. It has fairy-tale qualities and some parallels to The Little Mermaid (but it is in no way a retelling). Both of our protagonists are bad-ass and witty with such a dry sense of humour you might be tempted to drink the ocean water. It is a refreshing fantasy, if not a brutal at times.
I’m sad this book is a standalone book but but but
So I’m super excited about that.
Until next time, guys!
To Kill A Kingdom – Alexandra Christo