Trigger Warnings: suicide, sexual assault (off page, implied), blood, death, animal abuse, self harm, child abuse, sexual harassment, emotional manipulation and control
I’m incredibly lucky enough to have been invited onto another blog tour today!
Thank you to Amber Ivatt and Pan Macmillan for including me and sending me a copy of this brilliant book in exchange for an honest review.
Welcome to the Kingdom, where ‘Happily Ever After’ isn’t just a promise, but a rule.
Glimmering like a jewel behind its gateway, The Kingdom™ is an immersive fantasy theme park where guests soar on virtual dragons, castles loom like giants, and bioengineered species―formerly extinct―roam free.
Ana is one of seven Fantasists, beautiful “princesses” engineered to make dreams come true. When she meets park employee Owen, Ana begins to experience emotions beyond her programming including, for the first time, love.
But the fairytale becomes a nightmare when Ana is accused of murdering Owen, igniting the trial of the century. Through courtroom testimony, interviews, and Ana’s memories of Owen, emerges a tale of love, lies, and cruelty―and what it truly means to be human.
This is such a powerful, compulsively readable book with feminist undertones that I absolutely devoured.
For me, the subtle way that Rothenburg addressed intense issues like rape culture felt so realistic, as Ana’s naivety and the insidious nature of the systematic sexual assault are unfortunately realistic. It was just the way that it’s suggested that some of the characters are aware of it, but they are silenced or shamed that sent chills down my spine. She also discusses the commodification of beauty and diversity, the objectification of women and the necessity of female anger, making the Kingdom a classic example of sci-fi critiquing society and also an important read, particularly for teenage girls.
I love murder mysteries and the multi-media format of the book really helped immerse me in the world of The Kingdom, while also making sure that I couldn’t help but keep reading. The slow unpeeling of the layers of darkness behind this seemingly beautiful world kept me hooked, as well as the growing relationships that contrast so well with the court testimonials and those twists that left me reeling. Rothenburg’s world feels rich and immersive, leading me to crave more stories from it.
Ana was such a brilliant character, as her development over the course of the book is just exquisite and I could just read so many more of her stories. It was so fascinating to be in her mind while she started to investigate and question her world, but still contain to maintain that sense of innocence and slight naivety.
The best way that I can describe The Kingdom is to call it a cross between Black Mirror and Westworld theme wise, with a hint of romance. It’s so dark and twisted, calling everything you associate with fairytales into question, particularly some of the sexist standards surrounding them.
This is an utterly captivating book that will keep you guessing, right until the very end and I absolutely love that.
In fact, this book was so special to me that I decided to create a playlist inspired by the book. It’s only short, but I felt like some of the songs really summed up my experience of the atmosphere of the book.
Thank you againto Amber Ivatt and Pan Macmillan for including me in this epic blog tour and sending me a copy of this brilliant book in exchange for an honest review.