With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon -
who could not be happy?
A dark whimsical read full of deception in a bizarre and interesting way. This book honestly lived up to the hype and I need the sequel as soon as possible.
Faerie might be beautiful, but its beauty is like a golden stag’s carcass, crawling with maggots beneath his hide, ready to burst.
Some Fae are wicked at best. They lure you to the woods with their otherworldly beauty and manipulate your thoughts that will drive you to your own doom. The Cruel Prince rightly depicted what Fae folks really are like to humans: cruel, manipulative, and has a never-ending lust for power.
This book is not your typical story about a damsel being reluctantly brought to faerie land just to fall in love with a powerful Fae and get brainwashed to desire to become one herself. Holly Black offered us a different twist to this Fae-centered books stereotype. She owned the genre and I like how she made her female main character embrace her humanity and show the Fae folk who they are dealing with. Wow, I just mentioned a lot of fae there.
Devouring this book in one sitting was an easy task considering the combined world of magic and its problematic politics. Moreover, the characters sparked my interest since there’s just no way of saying who the bad guys really are. Every character has their own mask and to wait for the finale until they take it off was “letting out the breath I didn’t know I had been holding” worth it.
Holly’s writing style is so easy to grasp, no over the top descriptions, and no unnecessary fillers. Her words alone made me feel a lot of emotions like sympathizing with Balekin – their murdering Fae dad (even though he don’t deserve it) – feel like I want to carry Oak in my arms and pinch his cute cheeks. It also made me feel like I’m Jude myself and whenever she was bullied by Cardan and his posse, I just want to punch them in their faces and give that so-called cruel prince the worst wedgie of his life.
I also love how Holly just carelessly tossed in the bloodshed in the story. Seriously, I can hear her evil laughing while writing these parts. Well it did contribute a lot to the eerie feeling of the book overall.
I can give this book 5 stars straight up but I would like to ponder on these cons I noticed hours after my fangirling died down a wee bit.
In spite of these cons, the enjoyment I experienced in this journey wasn’t affected even the slightest and I am very eager to have my hands on The Wicked King once it’s released. I want to find out what Cardan means with that last sentence in the book – about when his 1 year contract with Jude ends. I also want to know if Cardan really is the entitled Wicked King or maybe sweet innocent Oak is? Oh beats me.
Beware the sea queen, she'll squeeze the pitiful human life out of you.
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.
I am still torn between loving this book wholeheartedly despite its flaws and being honest with myself by openly pointing out the things I now regret to have noticed.
Inner me: Choose the latter and deal with the comments later.
People labels this as a retelling of The Little Mermaid but I still think of it as its creepy pasta version. Reading the first page mentally unprepared – when Lira was casually talking about her freaking heart collection hidden in the sand of her room – legit sent shivers down every nerve endings in my body. Talk about collectibles and siren trends.
To Kill A Kingdom is a creatively dark and vicious story of two people who each have their own goal to make their worlds better. Narrated by two point of views, we are introduced to Lira, the renown Princes’ Bane who aims to out-power her mother by claiming the Crystal of Keto and to make a better Sea Queen. And Elian, the heir of the Midas throne who chooses to sail with his crew over the throne and become the heroic stray prince in children’s storybooks who hunted down the Princes’ Bane to stop the siren madness.
Well I think you get the gist. Lira and Elian ought to loathe each other from the very beginning yet we all know where this leads the two only characters to have switching point of views in the entire book. Hence, the enemies to lovers trope butts in.
I admit the romance aspect was a bit awkward if it weren’t for the snarky comebacks that flows all too naturally from our main characters’ mouths. I also wish Elian could have fell in love with Lira not just for seeing the ocean in her eyes. It only convinces me that there was no real bond between them at all. They were just two strangers who used each other to achieve their goals and along the way – they might have mistaken their curiosity for the foreign as actual love.
In spite that, you know what made me love To Kill A Kingdom so much that I’m ready to shut down my own criticisms on this book is the world building and Alexandra Christo‘s straight forward and addictive writing. I love how nothing was out of order. Especially in distinction between cities: Midas the city of gold, Eldyllio land of romance, and Kleftes land of thievery. I just wish she did the same for the undersea. I really want to know what caused the barrier between mermaids and sirens.
Moving on to the characters, I know there are a lot of essential characters who contributed to 1/3 of the plot but these three characters are the ones I’m pretty sure who will stay with me for a very long time.
1. The Sea Queen. The best epitome of a villain who stays in-character the entire book. Cruel to the vulnerable side of Lira and physically and emotionally abusive to her own family. Ursula is nothing compared to this Sea Witch and I love how she made this book more thrilling.
2. Lira. Full of bad assery – number one attribute I am looking for a female character. She’s smart and clever. She strategizes first before making a move. I love her so much.
3. Elian. Really didn’t made an impression on me. However, I still enjoy his point of view especially when he’s in the mood of ticking off the people around him. Aside from that, nothing really. I also think as an experienced siren hunter, he could have already tell Lira is a siren given the fact that she was floating naked in the middle of a vast sea with no other ships in sight, she can barely use her legs, and she used a language to speak with the other siren they caught. [shakes head in utter disappointment]
Things went smoothly as planned and a fantasy is not fantasy when it does not have an epic fight scene near the end. This book offered that and the battle between the Sea Queen’s armies and Elian’s crew was certainly very gripping.
It should have ended there though because the next chapter was absolute cringe-worthy. Sure, I like how things got better for both worlds – treaties signed and goals achieved but when Lira emerges from Diavolos and the crew putting on their wetsuits, I can’t help but to laugh out loud. After all that brutality in the beginning and the snarky comebacks – the ending is so off and cheesy. I felt like I was watching a Disneyland theater play finale with all the singing and fireworks. It was a very happy ending and I’m also happy that I was done with it.
It was a great read considering it’s a debut standalone but I just did not love it as much as the majority here. These are my sole thoughts and opinions only and it won’t matter if you love this book and think it’s perfect. Anyway, I will surely check out the future works of Alexandra Christo because her writing is really 5 star worthy.
The most amazing fast forward and flashback at the same time. If we have oasis in real life - you would never see me walk out of my room ever again.
Going outside is highly overrated.
Ready Player One is time traveling without the use of a speed force or a machine developed by mad scientists. While reading – you would either find yourself in the past or in the future. I just can’t imagine how much dedication Ernest Cline put up to get this book to be liked by the people who are actually from the ’80s and the Generation Z who are technology know-it-all.
Hats off to you Sir Cline for giving all of us something to geek about and for introducing a very good ’80s jam.
As someone who was born in 1999 (nearly 2000) I’m way too late to experience anything from the ’80s. Not the classic films nor the retro games. For a reader who isn’t familiar with half of the references used in this book, I don’t know how many times I have wished to be born on the said era just so I could say it also gave me a sense of nostalgia. Fortunately, there’s google and internet to tell me what these references are.
You can say “Oh this book wasn’t for you then. Why did you even bother reading it?” but I have to to disagree. This book is still a haven to my nerdiness. Nothing stopped me from actually enjoying this book and solve James Halliday’s riddles and look for puzzle pieces with the rest of the High Five.
Speaking of our top five in the leaderboard, these characters made this book 10x better. Artemis, Aech, Daito, Shoto and Parzival have their own distinct voices and are characters that undoubtedly make the readers root for them to team up because they are all bad-assess and with them as a clan they will easily defeat IOI.
Also, we have Wade Watts whose narration was very refreshing to read especially when you realize there is someone who can be as trashy as you. There were times when he’s too unbelievably perfect for managing to answer Halliday’s riddles just from thin air but still you can’t deny that he has a burning passion for the oasis that he dedicated his whole life learning everything about Halliday. Although there were lots of flaws to Wade’s character like how he sees Artemis as a trophy to be won or how pathetically he had been when she broke up with him, he still redeemed himself in the end.
Yes there were cons – but were easily foreshadowed by the world building, the action, and all the intriguing aspects of this book. The ending was already more than enough and I don’t see the need of a sequel but because it has been already announced I have no choice but to just set high expectations for it.