Lira has seventeen hearts in her bedroom. As a siren, she kills a human prince and takes his heart every year on her birthday. By doing so, she proves that she will be strong enough to take over her mother’s throne and become queen one day. However, after Lira disobeys her mother, she is punished by being transformed into a human — one of the creatures she hates the most. To win back her mother’s favor, Lira must claim the heart of Prince Elian, an infamous siren-killer and the heir to the most powerful kingdom in the land. Yet, as they set off on a quest to find an ancient artifact with the potential to destroy or unite the land and the sea, Lira finds that Elian is not what he seems.
As a fairytale retelling, To Kill a Kingdom combines the traditional story of "The Little Mermaid" with the strong heroines and twists of fate that characterize the “fairytale world” today. The writing was lyrical and vivid, and characters were well-developed. However, I found that as the story progressed, the romance started to take over the plot, transforming the novel into one that was cliché-ridden and, quite frankly, formulaic. Even so, To Kill a Kingdom is a fantastic read, perfect for fans of Katherine Arden and Naomi Novik.