Alexandra Christo – To Kill a Kingdom Audiobook
A dark and haunting rewrite of The Little Mermaid …
As a big fan of fairy tales, when I came across the 4th of To kill a kingdom, I was immediately drawn to the book, which promised us a darker adaptation and most cruel of the famous tale of the Little Mermaid. In “To kill a kingdom”, Alexandra Christo gives us a most breathtaking and captivating story, which will appeal to any fan of tales and rewritings. And believe me, this one is worth the detour!
To Kill a kingdom is a dark fantasy novel, based on the famous tale of the Little Mermaid. Here, it is the story of Lira (in place of Ariel), daughter of the Queen of the Seas, and of Elian, adventurous prince with the soul of a pirate who probes and furrows the seas to rid them of the deadly spawn that inhabit the waves: I named the sirens (namely that here, “mermaids” and “sirens” are differentiated, but for ease I will speak of sirens in short, French lacking terms to mark the difference). From the first lines, we are told that a kind of war opposes the people of the seas to the people of the land following the assassination of the sea goddess. Since this event, the mermaids celebrate their birthdays by rising to the surface to sing and seduce the sailors, and then… drown them to tear their hearts out. Each stolen heart brings power to the mermaid, and Lira, as crown princess, only attacks princes, earning her the nickname Prince’s Bane, and thus she is the mermaid that Prince Elian relentlessly hunts down.
Until then, everything predisposed them to clash one day or another, until the day Lira made a mistake in her mother’s eyes, and was banished from the ocean. Her only hope of returning home: to bring the heart of Prince Elian back to the Queen.
You might think that there is a little mixture with Snow White, right?
Without a bad pun, therefore, heartily, this book is not for everyone, given some rather… crude descriptions.
Generally speaking, I’m not usually drawn to this kind of dark and cruel rewritings, but this one had piqued my interest, and I was not disappointed with my reading. The universe created by Alexandra Christo is impressive, worked in the smallest details. We have a heroine (at this point, can we really call her a “heroine” knowing that she is part of the dark side of the force? But is there really a hero in this novel? the question…) with a strong character, with its strengths, its weaknesses, and above all a lot of doubts in the head, and objectives which evolve in a coherent way with the story. on the prince’s side, we have much less information about him but they are substantial, we know what there is to know and no one complains. the character is worked and intrigued me a lot from the start, because it keeps a part of mystery for a long time.
I really liked the plot, which takes the time it needs to position itself and unfold, and if it might bother some people because it is true that it takes time to really start in the heart of the matter (the quest de Lira pour le cœur du prince), I enjoyed being faced with a plot that is not rushed or introduced in a hurry in a few words. The story suffers, at times, from passages that take a little longer, but nothing dramatic, we quickly go beyond.
I would have appreciated having more explanations on the terrestrial world, which sometimes seems bland and unexploited next to the wealth of information we have on the marine world, and as it seems that a sequel is planned, I hope may this potential second volume answer the few questions I have pending.
I really liked the theme of hearts, which is a really central element of the story: far from being just a slightly gory trophy, these hearts have a real influence on mermaids. It is also an appreciable nod to the original tale.
To conclude, I would say that Alexandra Christo – To Kill a Kingdom Audiobook is a very pleasant discovery, which easily meets my favorites. It’s an original rewrite, very elaborate, but quite dark and therefore I would advise against it for (too) sensitive hearts. Moreover, the book has not yet been translated at the time of this writing, but I hope it will soon be the case because this novel deserves to be distributed on a larger scale. The Hachette Heroes rewritings have better beware, Alexandra Christo enters the game and for those who like a little less Disney-ified tales, it is a pearl to be discovered urgently.
Pearl, shell, sea… mermaid? The circle is complete.