Saturday, March 17, 2018

To Kill A Kingdom By Alexandra Christo

To Kill A Kingdom
by Alexandra Christo
342 pages
Published by Feiwel Friends

Plot: 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 siren-kind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy? (2018,

Review: To Kill A Kingdom was a very creative and dark retelling of The Little Mermaid.  Lira is not the helpless mermaid left to survive in the human world.  If fact, she is not a mermaid at all.  She is a deadly and heartless Siren, also called the 'princes' bane' for her preference of taking the hearts of only princes. Literally, she pulls them out of their chest after she drowns them with her song. 😲

But, because her mother, the Sea Queen (aka Sea Witch), wants to punish Lira, she turns her into a human.  She can still speak, but without her siren song, she is powerless to control any of the humans she meets.  But, as Lira spends more time with prince Elian and his band of pirates, she come to understand what true family and loyalty really mean.  

It is a long process for Lira to come to trust Elian and his crew.  She thinks they are ruthless and merciless Siren killers.  Her kind feel the same way about humans.  And Elian doesn't trust Lira at first either.  There is something unsettling about her, yet she convinces him that he needs her to complete his mission in finding the one thing that will destroy all sirens for good.  The problem is, he doesn't know that Lira is also the "princes' bane" and is the one siren above all that he wants to kill the most.  The banter between Lira and Elian was great!  I like the way the story all comes together!  Edge of your seat ending! Recommend if you love retellings, romance, and mermaids/sirens/pirates!  

This is a standalone novel. 

*Received a DRC for an honest review!

Rating:  4 Hearts!

Perfected by Kate Jarvik Birch

By Kate Jarvik Birch
264 pages
Published by Entangled Teen

Plot: Perfection comes at a price. As soon as the government passed legislation allowing humans to be genetically engineered and sold as pets, the rich and powerful rushed to own beautiful girls like Ella. Trained from birth to be graceful, demure, and above all, perfect, these “family companions” enter their masters’ homes prepared to live a life of idle luxury. Ella is happy with her new role as playmate for a congressman’s bubbly young daughter, butshe doesn’t expect Penn, the congressman’s handsome and rebellious son. He’s the only person who sees beyond the perfect exterior to the girl within. Falling for him goes against every rule she knows… and the freedom she finds with him is intoxicating.  But when Ella is kidnapped and thrust into the dark underworld lurking beneath her pampered life, she’s faced with an unthinkable choice. Because the only thing more dangerous than staying with Penn’s family is leaving… and if she’s unsuccessful, she’ll face a fate far worse than death. (2018,

Review: It's modern day America; however, legislation passes that allows for the rich to purchase genetically modified human girls and own them as "pets."  Girls like Ella are created and raised at "Kennels," which are very much like dog breeders (selling girls instead) to those that can afford them.  Only so many are allowed to be 'made' per year and so it's considered high social status if your family has one.

Ella and all the other girls at the Kennels are humans, yet they are genetically modified to be beautiful and physically perfect in every way.  They are raised very naive and in a controlled setting. They are even taught to call their owners 'master.'  A Congressman who had to return his previous pet is the one that buys Ella, and she thinks her role is only as a companion to the family.  However, the more time she spends with the Congressman, his wife, and their two children, the more Ella starts to question the 'pet' program.  She finds out that many people are outraged at the this idea of people owning people in america, and she is confused as to why.  Ella grew up brainwashed, so although it's rather annoying that she is so naive, it makes absolute sense that she would act and feel the way she does.

The congressman's wife is not pleased with having Ella around, but is kind to her.  The oldest sibling Penn, dislikes the idea as well, but eventually comes to have feelings for her.  I'm not really sure why he develops feelings since she has a rather bland personality.   But, I suppose a beautiful girl with a pleasant enough personality could make him develop some feelings.  Especially since he feels like she is not being treated right.

Ella eventually finds out about the rest of the world and grows suspicious as to what happened to the previous pet.  She also doesn't like how the Congressman and his friends look at and talk about her.  The Congressman is also getting too close to her and the idea of freedom is becoming something that she might want.  Her life may depend on it.

Perfected was a very disturbing and shocking read, and I think that's exactly what Birch was going for.  The idea of teenage girls being owned by the wealthy is disgusting enough, but it seems like it's something only wealthy men are doing in this story.  How something like this could even be considered plausible makes the story a bit hard to read.  A well written, although disturbing story.

Book 2 is called Tarnished

Rating: 3 Hearts