Review: To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

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Title: To Kill a Kingdom

Author: Alexandra Christo

Date: 6th March 2018

Publisher: Feiwel Friends/Hot Key Books

I was very lucky to have been given a version of this author’s debut to read on NetGalley, but unfortunately I hit a reading slump halfway through this book. It had nothing to do with not enjoying the book, in fact, I really enjoyed To Kill a Kingdom and its refreshing take on sirens, mermaids and pirates. It isn’t very often that I read standalone novels (most books can’t do the character development justice in just one) but the character arcs in this book were incredible, especially Lira’s.

Princess Lira is well known among the seas and the lands, stealing the hearts of princes that sail the waves. She is feared by all, but her weapon, her voice, is taken away from her when she is punished by her mother. The Sea Queen took away what was most important to Lira and turned her into the one thing she despises – a human. The only way to return to her natural form is to take the heart of a Prince, who is also a pirate. Prince Elian runs away from his duties, dreaming of seeing all the kingdoms and spending his life on the sea. He hunts sirens along the way, ridding them so that people may board ships without being afraid. When he crosses paths with a strange woman in the waters, they embark on a journey that will lead them to the key to destroy all the sirens. But can she be trusted?

The world building in To Kill a Kingdom was wonderful and so magical, with amazingly vivid descriptions of what was happening under the sea, as well as on the surface and land. There are some great fighting scenes in this book that weren’t too detailed that you didn’t understand what was going on, but they had enough that you could picture it all in your mind. I’m going to say this now, the end of the book is amazing with incredibly descriptive scenes that were action packed. It was so good.

I can’t forget to mention the fact that the writing in this book was great, the dialogue was incredibly funny and witty at times (the banter between Elian’s crew was top notch). The dual POV really helps to give different perspectives, switching between Lira and Elian, and it was great to have flash backs to their pasts, seeing what their lives were like before they met. You really feel for these characters and want the best for them, especially when you see them being treating cruelly.

Lira was brutal, deadly, but at the same time she was thoughtful and caring. She is a very dynamic character, and she has some incredible lines when speaking to Elian. They had me smiling as I read their interactions which were so genuine. Nothing seemed forced at all and there was a lot of chemistry between the two of them. It was great to see Elian be more than just a Prince. He doesn’t let anyone do the heavy lifting for him and takes an active role in their mission to extinguish the world of sirens. He is more than just a handsome face, he’s a badass and it shows with how he talks and acts.

To Kill a Kingdom was very entertaining and it had everything I love in a YA novel. The fast pace matched the story perfectly, guiding us towards an incredible finale and an ending that left me smiling as I read the last page. It was perfect for me and it more than deserves the 4.5 stars I’m going to give it.

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My February TBR Pile

I’m cursing my self for buying so many new books because now I have no idea which ones I want to read first. Sometimes I hate setting a TBR lists because I hardly ever stick to them. Out of January’s one I managed to read 2 out of 4, which isn’t too bad I guess, but hopefully I can be better at sticking to it this month.

I had a couple of approvals on NetGalley that I have to read before the release dates and a pre-order arrived that I want to get stuck into. Last month I managed to read five in total so I am going to make the list that long. If I don’t manage to read them all, or I read more, then that’s okay.

My copy of Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh arrived early and I am super excited to read it because it sounds incredible. If you haven’t heard of this book you should definitely check it out.

I felt so lucky to have been approved last minute to read The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert, which comes out in about 5 days time. I will be jumping straight into that one today and I wouldn’t be surprised if I finish it quite quickly.

Another NetGalley approval that I need to read by the middle of the month is Between the Blade and the Heart by Amanda Hocking, which is about Valkyries and I don’t really need to know much more than that.

Finally, I am going to get around to reading Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings, something I was supposed to read last month. There are still mixed reviews but I’m excited to give my thoughts on this NYT bestseller.

If I have enough time, I am hoping to squeeze in the fourth instalment of the Throne of Glass series, Queen of Shadows, and after the ending of the third book I can’t wait to read it. Sarah J. Mass has quickly become one of my favourite authors.

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What books will you be planning on reading this month?

Review: A Darker Shade Of Magic

A Darker Shade Of Magic

Title: A Darker Shade Of Magic

Author: V. E. Schwab

Date: February 27th 2015

Publisher: Titan Books

I first heard about this book while watching one of Peruse Projects videos on YouTube where she spoke about her favourite fantasy books. After doing a bit of research and checking out a few reviews (with no spoilers of course) I made a note to buy it and I am so glad I got to read this. A Darker Shade Of Magic is so unique and different, I haven’t read anything quite like it before and the characters are perfect. I can already feel that the rest of the trilogy will be just as good.

Kell is an Antari, one of the last remaining with an ability to travel between multiple worlds; Red London, White London, Grey London, but never Black London. No one has been there for quite some time since it collapsed. Raised in Red London, a world abundant with magic, he travels to all the London’s, acting as an ambassador for the royal family. But he has a dangerous habit of transporting relics from one world to the other, the price of giving information to those who want to know about magic. He thought it was harmless until something falls into his possession that puts him in grave danger. Looking to escape he flees to Grey London, a world without magic. There he meets Lila, a poor and cunning thief, and they set out on a dangerous journey to save their world.

Schwab is a wonderful writer, creating a world that is so vivid and colourful, I could easily conjure up the images in my mind. Creating the four London’s and making them seem believable isn’t something that everyone can do and I believed every word of it. I wanted it to be real and I wanted to be like Kell, able to travel between them whenever he wants. Fantasy is quickly becoming one of my favourite genres and A Darker Shade Of Magic is my favourite so far. It was dark, magical and fast paced. I was finding myself not wanting to stop reading and having short chapters makes it so easy to read more.

Onto the characters, starting with Kell. How could I not like him? He is complicated, having been raised by people who aren’t his actual parents and having to pretend to be something that he necessarily isn’t. He has so many layers to him, much like his magical coat that seems to always be changing, and I think there is more to explore with him in the next two books. I would even say that he surprised me at some points in the novel, especially when it came to Lila. I think I liked her even a little bit more than Kell, only because she is so badass and witty. A cross-dressing girl who wants to become a pirate and see the world, but she is stuck being a thief, stealing from those who have always had more. She is stubborn and funny, and very cutthroat.

Then there are the supporting characters, all of whom are just as developed as our main two. We have Rhy, the Crown Prince who is a dangerous flirt and full of character. He always had me smiling as I read his encounters with Kell. There was Holland, the only other Antari that Kell knew, and who was the most complicated character of all. You would never know where he stood on certain matters and it often seemed he did things he might not have wanted to. The evil twins who rule over White London, causing mayhem and ruining the lives of those who don’t agree with them were awful. Schwab created characters that I cared about and wanted to root for!

A Darker Shade Of Magic has everything a fantasy lover could want. Interesting and unique characters, incredible story writing that captivates you and multiple worlds you’ll want know more about. For me, personally, this was a five-star read, so that is what I am going to give it. I cannot wait to pick up the next instalment and see what journeys they go on next.

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters Who Would Make Badass Leaders

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly event hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This weeks topic is in honour of election day in the USA, so it’s time to feature characters that would make great leaders!

This one really got me thinking and I decided to choose the top 10 that I think, due to their badass natures, would make great leaders. These are people that I would willingly follow into anything! A burning building, an epic battle or even into IKEA to go furniture shopping. They are all characters who are tough, strong, witty and don’t let anything faze them.

1. Celaena Sardothien from Throne of Glass

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I couldn’t not have her in my top 10 after recently reading Throne of Glass. Who wouldn’t want an assassin to be on their side? Not only is she skilled in weapons, but she is incredibly witty and you just know you would have a great time with her causing chaos.

2. Rose Hathaway from Vampire Academy

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One of my favourite characters from one of my favourite series, Rose is a must when it comes to badass leaders. She is a kickass Dhampir who doesn’t put up with those who don’t respect her and she is fierce when it comes to protecting those she loves.

3. Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games

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This girl needs no introduction at all. Strong, independent and willing to do whatever it takes to win, Katniss would make the perfect leader. Not only is she skilled with weapons, but she is constantly thinking outside of the box, so even if you got stuck in a situation, she would be there to make sure you got out alright.

4. Chaol Westfall from Throne of Glass

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I couldn’t not have Chaol on this list. As Captain of the Royal Guard he is a perfect leader, trained in battle and ready to kill when necessary. He is level headed and respected by his peers. If I were to head into battle, this is the man that I would want as a leader. (Also this is exactly how I pictured him to look, great artwork).

5. Farley from Red Queen

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Already the leader of the Scarlet Guard, she has the knowledge to lead others and shows no fear when it comes to facing her opponents. She will do whatever it takes to bring down those that oppose her and is one of the toughest around.

6. Natalia Arron from Three Dark Crowns

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Leader of the Arron household, the poisoners, she is ruthless and cut-throat. After running the household for many years she is no stranger to taking charge and making things happen. While people may not always agree with her methods, she is able to get what she wants, something that would make her a strong leader.

7. Kell from A Darker Shade Of Magic

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While I am still making my way through the first book, it is already clear that Kell would make a great leader. Who wouldn’t want something who can us blood magic to be on their side? It would come in handy in tricky situations! While he likes to bend the rules, it would make for many great adventures.

8. Linh Cinder from The Lunar Chronicles

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While she may not be a trained assassin or natural born leader, Cinder has a good heart and is strong-willed, two characteristics that a leader should have. Let’s not forget the fact that she is part cyborg, how cool and badass is that?!

9. Damon Salvatore from The Vampire Diaries

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How could I not include the most brooding and twisted vampire from my favourite book-to-TV series? Damon has a dark side that allows him to do whatever he wants, without feeling the guilt. This could come in handy as a leader, especially if there are things to do that those of faint-heart wouldn’t. While he can be reckless at times and likes to take risks, he cares deeply for those he loves.

10. Saba from Blood Red Road

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Saba is fierce and doesn’t stand for any nonsense, making her perfect to be a badass leader. She is a warrior and never strays from the task at hand, much more mature than she should be at her age. And when you’ve got the nickname “The Angel of Death” you just know she is a leader that should be feared.

So these are my picks! Who would you choose as your most badass leader?