The daughter of the siren queen, Lira killed her first prince on her twelfth birthday. She has since killed five more, and has become feared far and wide as the Prince’s Bane. She’s well on her way of living up to her mother’s savage reputation. However, an unintended act of compassion sees Lira cursed into the body of a human - and the only way to break the enchantment and return to the sea is to take the heart of Prince Elian of Midas. The problem? Prince Elian is more pirate than royal prince. He’s a siren-hunter. He’s wily and ruthless and determined to wipe out the sirens once and for all, starting with the Prince’s Bane herself. Who will take the other’s heart first?
To Kill a Kingdom is a deliciously dark YA fantasy with a fierce heroine that was a lot of fun to read during a long day of travelling. The trope of enemies-becoming-friends is well worn, and the ending was obvious from the get-go, but I loved the sheer exuberance of the plot and the witty bickering between Elian and Lira. For all that the plot is vaguely ridiculous and the world building is a little thin, the two protagonists had flashes of emotional depth which were really quite touching and, if I'm honest, unexpected. In the first few chapters both characters seemed a little uninspired, but they became much more interesting as they struggled against the expectations placed onto them by their parents and searched for the bravery to defy the stereotypes of what they are.
At its heart, To Kill a Kingdom is a dark retelling of the fairy tale of the little mermaid which is crammed full of sass and swashbuckling adventure. The ending can be seen from miles off, but the joy of this book is totally in the journey to get there.
Recommended For: Fans of darkly funny and character-driven YA fantasy
Read On: Other dark YA fantasies with fierce and ruthless protagonists include Half a King by Joe Abercrombie and Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake.