To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo (342 pages)
Overview: In a refreshing twist on The Little Mermaid that perfectly twists in elements of Greek mythology with the traditional story along with elements that are wholly Christo. We learn to navigate both the under ocean depths of the cutthroat, savage siren kingdom and the tedium of the Midisean kingdom and the fine line their future king walks between pirate and prince. While both siren, Liara, and pirate prince, Elian, have found delicate balance in their life between what they want and what they need, when their world come crashing into one another, they will have to redefine everything they thought they knew to make sense of their new reality. Overall: 5
I'm going to start this review with a little story/disclaimer. I don't read fantasy. It's not that I actively avoid it. I was even an avid fantasy reader back when I read middle grade, but nothing has caught my eye in the genre lately. That was until I saw Christo speak on a panel at Book Con, and, by the time the panel was over, her book was in my hands and at the top of my TBR. I'm so happy that I wound up loving it as much as I thought I would!
Characters: 5 Elian and Liara and just wow. This book is told in a duel narrative, and it works extremely well. That's because Christo doesn't skimp on giving the characters the extra fairy dust they need for glowing dimension. I could feel both my narrators breathing beside me as we navigated through the story, and by the end, I felt like I fully understood both of them as people and their remarkable evolutions.
Plot: 5 I think the plot more than anything is a testament to how strong her skills as an author are.There is so much that happens in the book, there's barely a second to catch your breath, even at the start when we're sliding seamlessly back and forth between Liara and Elian's separate worlds. But it never feels overwhelming or chaotic. She runs a tight ship, and, by having everything beautifully developing in its own space but also under tight control, she's able to deliver not only an awesome adventure but one of the best quiet romances I've ever read.
Writing: 5 Again, wow. The way that Alexandra Christo uses words has me in total awe. It's lyrical and poetic and syrupy in the way that it drags you into their world without feeling heavy. Here characters stand both independent and thoroughly melded with her own voice and identity as an author. There are so many parts of her storytelling craft that I am still just completely in awe of. And, to top it all off, I can say that she's one of my favorite author's that I've met and so kind and attentive!