The Kingdom - Jess Rothenberg
"'Let's look at what we know. Did Ana kill Owen? Yes. She did. The point of this case, Ladies and Gentlemen, is why?'
Welcome to the Kingdom, a dazzling fantasy theme park where 'happily ever after' is not just a promise, but a rule...
Seven beautiful Fantasists - half-human, half-android princesses - are programmed to make wishes come true, no matter what. But when Fantasist Ana meets theme park worker Owen, her fairytale ends in blood. Now she's on trial for experiencing human emotions beyond her programming and must come face to face with what he is, and what she's done.
But the truth is dangerous, and no one wants the Kingdom to fall..."
Happy New Year everyone!! I hope the New Year is treating you all well - I took a bit of a break at the start of the year but hoping to get back into some semi-regular posting.
I found out about The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg from a fellow bookstagrammer and I am so glad that they recommended it because I thoroughly enjoyed it! So much so that I finished it in a day. Its not often that a book can completely enthral me like this one did. Not only does it have a gorgeous cover and an amazing concept, it is dark and thrilling. Before reading this, I saw a review that described it as "Disney on steroids" which is definitely an understatement. I was so intrigued by this, I knew I had to read it right away!
The Kingdom is a theme park which is definitely Disney-esque and it is the whole world for the Fantasists, who are the half-human, half-android princesses. They know nothing of the outside world, their purpose being to grant wishes and make everyone happy. However, the Fantasists are starting to evolve. They are thinking for themselves, feeling and starting to question what is outside of the part which the supervisors definitely don't like. The supervisors watch and control every move that the Fantasists make. They definitely gave me a 1984 vibe!
Ana, our protagonist, is investigating the disappearance of her sister when she unexpectedly falls in love with a maintenance worker at the park and ends up being accused of his murder. This development has the potential to bring the whole Kingdom crumbling down.
"In the end, it does not matter what a story is about. It only matters who gets to tell it."
This book has a very unconventional layout but it made for such an interesting read! The central event throughout the book is Owen's death. The chapters are mixed, some occurring before the death and others after. There is some really cool experimentation with the writing style as not all of the chapters are the typical written word. Some are newspaper clippings, transcripts from the trial and even text message threads! It was so refreshing to read and I think that is part of the reason why I devoured this book. It is so different to what I have read before and I really enjoyed the change from the norm.
Another reason why this layout is so interesting is that it gives the reader the unusual ability to see two sides of Ana. Before Owen's death she is more naive and follows the status quo, however at the trial she is more cynical and willing to challenge those in charge. This also puts the reader in the position of being like we're on the jury - we have to decide for ourselves given the facts given to us throughout the book whether we think Ana is guilty or not.
I love books with "out of the box" thinking by the author and The Kingdom was beautifully written and very well executed. There were so many amazing twists, it is definitely worth a read!