I really enjoy books that take mermaids (or sirens, in this case, as mermaids exist but are something different in this world) and turn them back to their murderous roots. Adding in Cthulhu-esque horror made Into the Drowning Deep especially fascinating. To Kill A Kingdom didn’t have much horror – it took the fantasy adventure/quest route instead.
The book alternates between the viewpoints of Princess Lira, the siren known as the Prince’s Bane, and Prince Elian. Their name is at the start of each chapter that is written from their viewpoint, but it’s small and easily missed. I wish it was in a larger, more obvious font, because I kept having to flip back a few pages to figure out who I was reading.
I loved seeing the character growth of Lira as she comes to know the humans, and realizes there is another possibility besides just following her mother’s brutal orders. She learns, watching Elian’s people follow him, that there is a way to inspire loyalty rather than compel it by magic and brutality.
Lira definitely shows more character growth than Elian does, and the book never really explains how Elian gets past the fact that she’s killed so many princes.
The beginning of the book was also a little slow – I actually set it aside for a couple of weeks while reading other things and worried a little that I was never going to pick it up again. Worried because I don’t usually not finish books unless they’re terrible, not because I actually wanted to find out what happened. I didn’t get invested in the characters until probably about halfway through the book. Books usually catch me far before that point.
So – it was okay. If you want predatory mermaids, I would recommend Into the Drowning Deep long before this one. Though if you want more fantasy with a touch of romance, and less horror, then this is probably the book you want. Just be warned it takes some time to hit its stride.
From the cover of To Kill a Kingdom:
Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most–a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.
The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby–it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good–But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?