Wednesday, November 6, 2019

The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg Review


Title: The Kingdom
Author: Jess Rothenberg
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Science Fiction/Mystery
Series: Standalone
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

                I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

                The Kingdom has been on my to-be-read list since before it came out, but unfortunately, the first couple times I borrowed it from my library, I had to return it before I could read it. It’s been sitting in my library stack for a while now, and as soon as I finished Five Dark Fates the day before last, I dove in, uncertain of what to expect of Rothenberg’s sophomore novel, as I hadn’t read any of her work previously. What I got was like Disney Princess and I, Robot had a lovechild, and I absolutely loved it. This book was a dark, thoughtful and frightening mashup of romance, science fiction, and mystery, and I adored it! The Kingdom has become one of my favorite novels of 2019, and I’m really hoping that Jess has something more in the works, because I am totally obsessed. This book might be one of the most original I’ve ever read. Telling the story of an android, a human-cyborg hybrid, it also brought up interesting questions about choice, free will, fantasy and reality and the fine line between the two, and what it means to be truly human. A stunning, thought-provoking novel that still has me stunned, and I just finished it this afternoon! This book was nothing less than absolutely stunning, and I will never forget it!

                In the magical land of The Kingdom, somewhere in the distant future, happily ever after isn’t just something that everyone aspires to; it is a rule, a command, an order. For Ana, a Fantasist, she is one of the park’s most lively and sought-after attractions—literally. She and her sisters are machines, made to look like real people. But Ana’s pleasant, sheltered existence begins to fray at the edges when one of her sisters disappears, and when she meets a young man who works at the park, Ana begins to feel things that should be forbidden, things that she shouldn’t have learned. But it turns out that Kingdom Corp. will do anything to hide its dark, dangerous secrets, maybe even kill. Ana finds herself questioning everything she thought she knew, and she realizes that she may not be able to trust anyone…

                There aren’t enough words in the English language to tell you all just how much I loved this book. I’m a complete sucker for any kind of science fiction, but I’m obsessed with robots, cyborgs, and the like. And this book was like Disney Princess and I, Robot had a baby. This book was so unique; I’ve never read another like it. The pacing was breakneck, and I was totally spellbound by Ana’s frank, innocent voice. But I also adored how this book wasn’t afraid to ask hard questions: what does it really mean to be truly human? What marks the difference between human and machine? Is it possible to have too much fantasy in our reality? I also really liked the layout: interspersed with Ana’s first-person narrative are trial transcripts, photos, and case files; it added to the mystery of it all. The twists and turns were so crazy at times it felt like I had emotional whiplash, and that ending: I did not see it coming! The other characters made great foils for Ana: her sisters, ‘parents’, The Kingdom employees and investors, as well as Owen, the man that Ana falls in love with. This book was thoughtful, chilling, shocking and totally unique, and I loved every moment of it. This book was nothing less than perfection, and honestly, I’m just sorry that it’s all over! The bottom line: Rich, compelling, thought-provoking and utterly frightening, I loved The Kingdom! Easily one of the best books I’ve read all year! Next on deck: Renia’s Diary by Renia Spiegel and Elizabeth Bellak!

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