The Northern Literary Festival
After having a fab time at the last Northern Literary Festival back in March I couldn’t wait to see who they had coming to their Supernatural & Fantastical in YA event this July. You can book your tickets here, for FREE, it really looks set to be a great event! I was really excited to see that they had Alexandra Christo attending as I had recently received her book to review and loved it.
Thanks to the lovely people at NYALitfest I also had the opportunity to ask Alexandra a few questions I had after finishing the book so those follow my review.
Note: This review is spoiler-free!
Why did I pick it?
Firstly I love mermaids, I’m even openly mocked in my office for the sheer amount of mermaid paraphernalia I own. Now I know this technically isn’t about mermaids, it’s about sirens, it did however seem like a pretty cool twist on a story I knew and loved.
What I loved about it
This book was very different from anything I’ve read recently. Lira is a true anti-hero that you just can’t help rooting for throughout the story. I’m a sucker for a flawed main character, especially one this bad ass.
The fact that Lira must capture the princes heart, as in literally take it, in all it’s gory greatness, was fun and did make me giggle. Alexandra’s humour is clearly as twisted as my own!
Some of the secondary characters really stood out for me, especially some of the female characters. The book is jam packed with sassy and strong female characters that I really wish we had chance to know them better, but alas this is a stand alone story.
What I loathed about it
The story is incredible, I can’t help but love it. The only issue I had was sometimes, when the dialogue got going, especially the quick fire quips between Lira and Elian, I really struggled to tell who was speaking. Sometimes I had to stop and reread sections just to work it out, which when you are in a flow and enjoying the put downs was a little distracting.
Although not technically a comedy, well clearly not, it’s pretty dark, what with the heart stealing and all. If you have a dark sense of humour like me you may find yourself giggling along in places which I’ll be honest and say was unexpected. I can’t wait to see what Alexandra delivers next!
When and where can you can get it
You can purchase To Kill a Kingdom on Amazon today
Q&A with the author
This is clearly a stand-alone book, which is very rare in YA these days. Were you ever slightly tempted to turn it into a duology/trilogy?
I had a really specific story in mind for TO KILL A KINGDOM and knew just where the characters were going to start and end up (which is rare for me – I am so not a planner). I think because Lira and Elian’s journeys were so clear in my mind, I didn’t want to stretch over two or three books what I knew I could do in one.
I love that Lira is an anti-hero, rather than your traditional princess that needs rescuing. What is it that appeals to you when writing about an anti-hero in this way?
When people think of princesses, they’re traditionally passive participants in their own story, waiting to be saved. YA fantasy is so great at helping turn that around! I loved the idea of taking a well-known story and making the heroine the villain, who is unapologetic about doing what it takes to achieve her goals. Plus, villains are always the most fun to write! Lira’s journey from monster, to a girl forced to work alongside her enemies and learn what it means to be human allowed for great conflict, not just with the other characters, but internally.
If Lira and Elian met under different circumstances, in an even fight, who would you be rooting for to win?
Lira, all the way. Maybe it’s my Slytherin side showing through, but us girls have to stick to together!
During the book Elian and his crew visit a few different kingdoms. Which is your favourite and why?
I love Galina’s kingdom, which I based (very loosely on Italy, as a nod to my Italian family). When I was writing scenes in Eidýllio I could hear, see and smell everything in my mind. I also just really like Galina’s character – each of the rulers of the human kingdoms has some mythology behind them and Galina’s is my favourite. I feel like there is so much more of her story to tell!
I loved some of the secondary characters, Yukiko in particular. Do you have plans to revisit any of these characters in the future?
I’m not quite done with the TKaK crew! I’m working on some short stories that should be really fun (and murderous, of course). Galina, Yukiko and Madrid are the three characters I’m most excited to explore more of, especially when it comes to their past and how they got to be where they are now.
* Book provided FOC in exchange for an honest and fair review