To Kill a Kingdom

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
To Kill a Kingdom Book Poster Image
Bold, imaginative sea-faring fantasy has unusual characters.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 5 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Explores issues of genocide, family loyalty, and friendship.

Positive Messages

Sworn enemies can sometimes find the good in each other. Family is not destiny.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Raised by an unloving mother, Lira at the start of the novel is hard-hearted and cruel, ready to kill a human prince. As To Kill a Kingdom unfolds, she gains compassion for her enemies.


The level of violence is occasionally intense, usually involving swords but sometimes claws and teeth. Main character is sworn to rip the living heart from her royal enemy.


A couple of passionate embraces.


Swearing is limited to infrequent uses of "damn," "hell," and "bastard."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that To Kill a Kingdom is a sea-faring fantasy novel about a princely pirate captain and a siren in human form. The level of violence is occasionally intense, usually involving swords but sometimes claws and teeth. Sexual content is limited to a couple of passionate embraces. Swearing is limited, but "whore," "bastard," "hell," and "damn" are used a few times each.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byStudiousStudent April 10, 2018

Mixed Feelings

I don't want to sound too critical of this book, but I didn't find it to be all that great. The beginning was extremely promising. But then the middle... Continue reading
Adult Written bypesh February 1, 2021

Pirates of the Caribbean if the mermaid was the main character.

To Kill a Kingdom is a fresh, exciting young adult novel with an adventurous premise, well-rounded characters and enough lust and betrayal to keep you roped in.... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old January 23, 2019
There are great themes in this novel about trust and friendship. There is some drinking and kissing and swearing, but it is limited. There is quite an amount of... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byLabourowl July 21, 2018

Teen book

While it’s not particularly sexual it does contain words like bitch and whore and complicated concepts. It also has a lot of descriptive violence

What's the story?

At the start of TO KILL A KINGDOM, Princess Lira causes the death of one of her fellow sirens and earns the wrath of her mother, the Sea Queen. As punishment, she's enchanted into human form and will stay that way unless she rips out the living heart of a prince before the solstice. Bereft of her fins and gills, Lira is soon at the mercy of explorer and adventurer Prince Elian, who has sworn to destroy the sirens once and for all. Can either of them survive the revelation of their secrets?

Is it any good?

Choosing a siren for a protagonist is a bold choice for a fantasy, but this oceanic romance makes the most of its imaginative conceit. In To Kill a Kingdom, author Alexandra Christo takes an original tack for this tale of star-crossed lovers. Elian and especially Lira are multidimensional characters who undergo interesting transitions over the course of the book, and the monstrous Sea Queen proves to be a formidable antagonist at the climax. The story is neatly self-contained, with no need for a long wait for resolution.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how To Kill a Kingdom uses aspects of ancient mythology. Why are sirens, mermaids, and mermen interesting to modern readers?

  • Sirens and humans are in constant conflict in To Kill a Kingdom. What human conflicts have lasted decades or more?

  • What role does violence play in To Kill a Kingdom? Is warfare depicted as an effective strategy for change? 

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate