ARC provided by Macmillan in exchange for an honest review.
“I’ve made a mistake. It started with a prince, as most stories do. Once I felt the thrum of his heart beneath my fingers, I couldn’t forget it.”
You all, I buddy read this with FOUR of my closest book friends, and we all five starred this amazing story. Please, go treat yourself and preorder this book. Please. Do you like killer sirens? Angsty romance? A+ witty banter? Vivid fighting scenes with mind-blowing imagery? One of the best and strongest protagonists I’ve read about in a long while? And all these things in a standalone? From a debut author? Seriously, we’ve been blessed.
And I can safely say that there is no better feeling than picking up an ARC that is not exceptionally hyped, and that you’re not expecting anything from really, and you come out absolutely loving it. This was perfection and one of the best reading experiences I’ve had all year. I can’t wait for you all to love this book, too, come March 6th.
“I have a heart for every year I’ve been alive.”
This is a magical standalone that surrounds two very different people that are both next in line for two very different crowns:
➽ Lira – AKA: Prince’s Bane, the most feared siren of all time. She has a collection of seventeen royal hearts. She is also the daughter of Sea Queen, who rules the sea kingdom, Diavolos. Yet, the Sea Queen is abusive, a manipulator, a tyrant, and not willing to relinquish her throne anytime soon for Lira.
➽ Elian – AKA: Siren Hunter. He is a royal prince, but also a cutthroat sea captain who sees the world on his ship, The Saad, with his crew. His family rules Midas, the city of gold, and they want nothing more than for him to give up his pirate life and to finally be king. Also, Elian and his entire family are brown-skinned.
“Two kingdoms that come with responsibilities we each have trouble bearing. Him, the shackles of being pinned to one land and one life. Me, trapped in the confines of my mother’s murderous legacy. And the ocean, calling out to us both. A song of freedom and longing.”
In this world, humans fear the sirens that lurk below the water. And under the ocean, sirens are forced to bring back a human heart during the month of their birth and present it for all to see. But our dear Lira has taken to only the hearts of royals. This story is very loosely inspired by The Little Mermaid, therefore, I’m sure you guys can somewhat guess how these two’s paths cross. But after Lira upsets her mother, the Sea Queen wants to find a new way to ridicule and humiliate her, so what better way than to force her to steal the most royal heart of all, but also forcing her to do this task as a human, and while no longer having her siren voice to lure humans towards her.
And what kind of prince in waiting would Elian be if he let this damsel in distress drown in the water? I mean, until he rescues Lira and realizes how much of a damsel in distress she really isn’t. You all, this was some of the best banter I’ve ever read in any book, ever. And you guys know that hate to love romance is the trope that I love more than any other. And this angst? Perfection. These two might honestly end up being my favorite partnership of 2018. From actually laughing out loud, to swooning, to crying, to everything I felt for these two, and all I want is more.
I was astounded by the worldbuilding and how seamlessly it was crafted and presented. Honestly, this entire story’s imagery was so impressive. The last battle was so visually breathtaking, I feel speechless. The last few chapters were perfection, and I feel so honored that I was able to even experience them. Me and Jules both were absolutely astonished by that last battle and how visually pleasing it was to the mind. I honestly could picture this being a movie immediately.
And this book tackles some pretty serious topics, too. We see parental/adult abuse, manipulation, and gaslighting in this book a lot. Kids only want to be loved, especially from their parents, and it takes a lot to realize that sometimes the people who are supposed to protect you and unconditionally love you just blatantly don’t.
“Love is a word we scarcely hear in the ocean. It exists only in my song and on lips of the princes I’ve killed. And I have never heard it from my mother’s mouth.”
And there is such an important and constant theme of how a new generation can change the world. Which is a message that everyone in The United States should be behind right now. As I’m typing this review, high school kids are changing our world, because the baby boomer generation that’s in office currently think it’s more important to protect assault rifles over innocent kid’s lives. Seriously, these teens, who this book is marketed for, won’t be teens for long. They will be voting, they will activists, and they will be changing the damn world for the better. Do you know how powerful it is for them to have books like this? With themes like this? Seriously, this was probably my favorite thing in this book where there was so much to easily love.
This story also beautiful emphasizes the importance of found families. Blood is nothing more than blood. The people who choose to unconditionally love you, support you, protect you, those people are your family. Madrid, Kye, Torik, Kahlia, I fell in love with all of the side characters. And this book beautifully depicts how important it is for you to choose who is worthy of your time and love.
“How strange that instead of taking his heart, I’m hoping he takes mine.”
Overall, this was honestly just a joy to read. The writing was lyrical and beautiful. The world building was fantastic and so impressive, especially for a standalone. The romance was absolutely perfect. Also, my Odyssey loving heart will read any and all books about sirens luring men to their death. I loved being on this adventure and journey alongside Lira and Elian. I absolutely cannot wait to see what Alexandra Christo does next, and this debut novel of hers is one of the best debut novels I’ve ever read.
The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.