⇒Featuring murder, robot princesses and evil Disney
Book: The Kingdom
Author: Jess Rothenberg
Genre: YA Dystopian Crime Thriller
Rating: 5 Stars
The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg is a revelation. It’s uniqueness and ingenuity absolutely blew me away. I cannot recommend this clever, chilling and stunning novel enough.
The Kingdom is part a YA feminist romance, part a dazzling dystopian and part an electrifying crime thriller. I don’t know where to start with praising this book. Not only is it 100% originality, it’s well-written, incredibly plotted and riveting.
Our setting is The Kingdom, a futuristic fantasy theme park that can only be described as Dark Disneyworld. The Kingdom is “ruled” by seven fantasists, beautiful android princesses who entertain and please guests. The mystique and beauty of The Kingdom was glimmering with a hidden darker side that the book explores, and I loved it.
I really liked the characters depicted in this novel. Ana was curious and caring, logical and loving. There was a stark contrast between the Ana we see at the beginning of her story and the Ana we see at the court trial and in interrogation. I liked that we got to follow her story and see how her own and others’ actions affected her and her exploration of her own humanity. We only got to meet a couple of Ana’s fantasist sisters in detail; Nia and Eve. I really liked how different in personality these three were despite having the same programming.
The Kingdom explored a lot of important topics; perhaps most significantly that of objectification and consent. Ana and her sister’s are very beautiful and taught to always say yes and never no, which workers and Investors at the park seek to take advantage of, as does the man who runs The Kingdom, who uses the fantasists as a kind of bribe to get Investors to support the theme park, a disgusting concept. There isn’t any scenes with direct sexual assault but it is deeply implied. I thought the way the author used this setting to raise such important topics was powerful and necessary.
“In the end, it does not matter what a story is about. It only matters who gets to tell it.”
This story was told through flashbacks, court testimonies, emails, interrogation records and more which intricately wove together the plot. We see Ana’s perspective of the past at the same time as we see her and others interviewed at court about what seems to be a twisted version of events. This narrative thrilled and excited me, and made The Kingdom impossible to put down. This book was full of suspense and mystery as well as romance and the exploration of important topics such as consent.
As I read, I thought I knew where the story was going, but I was wrong. Jess Rothenberg surprised me at every turn with the development of characters, plot and the revealing of the dark mysteries hiding between the seemingly perfect facade of The Kingdom.
The Kingdom was a powerful and poignant story that I urge you to read. It is unique and beautiful, witty and surprising. Whether you’re a fan of crime, YA, dystopian or even fantasy novels, this book will perfectly satisfy your craving for a new kind of story and a fresh exploration of what it is to be human. Go read it, y’all.