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The Kingdom of Ohio

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liked it 3.0  ·  Rating Details ·  1,078 Ratings  ·  282 Reviews
An incredibly original, intelligent novel?a love story set against New York City at the dawn of the mechanical age, featuring Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, and J. P. Morgan.

After discovering an old photograph, an elderly antiques dealer living in present-day Los Angeles is forced to revisit the history he has struggled to deny. The photograph depicts a man and a woman. The
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Hardcover, 322 pages
Published December 31st 2009 by Penguin Adult HC/TR (first published January 1st 2009)
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(showing 1-30)
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Kathy
Jun 26, 2010 Kathy rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Although, as some of the other reviewers have said, the main characters are a bit underdeveloped, this is just a great story. I even googled it to see how much of it was historically accurate. I could barely put it down.

The idea is a unique one, and this is a great first novel. Even though Tesla, Edison, and Morgan are secondary characters I believe that they were developed much better. Tesla, in particular caught my attention.

Perhaps we are all missing who the primary characters are... I also l
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Neil
Sep 25, 2009 Neil rated it it was ok
First time author Flaming does a good job of creating a nice atmosphere for a ripping speculative historical tale. He's got the ambience of period New York City, some spooky early subway tunnels under construction, and interesting historical secondary characters in Nikolai Tesla, Thomas Edison, and J. P. Morgan. He's got a nice tall tale about a kingdom within the early United States, centering around Toledo of all places. He actually had me looking to see if there was any truth in his story ...more
Kt.
Apr 06, 2010 Kt. rated it it was ok
This book was SO disappointing! I actually couldn't wait to read this book and bought it in hardcover. The premise was ambitious to say the least and the author was just not up to the task. If you read this, be prepared to read things like, "She shrugged mentally" a lot. Sentence fragments abound in this book. The characters are dull, two dimensional, and irritating. Mostly the book is just plain boring. For example, there is a scene where the main characters are in the subway tunnels under NYC ...more
K. Lincoln
Sep 09, 2009 K. Lincoln rated it liked it
**I read an ARC of this book**

I'm from Ohio, so I had to read this book. And I did a report on the Toledo War in high school.

So the whole thing about the french aristocrat who came to Ohio and started his own kingdom made a vague kind of sense to me in the way that good alternate history can.

And that's what this book is: alternate history. Oh, the blurb is all like:

"After discovering an old photograph, an elderly antiques dealer living in present-day Los Angeles is forced to revisit the histo
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A. S.
Apr 26, 2011 A. S. rated it liked it
There isn't an option to give half stars, but if there was, Matthew Flaming's (lol, what a name: Flaming, Matt) novel The Kingdom of Ohio would receive 2.5 stars. I guess I'm feeling particularly generous today and have rounded up instead of down.

Like the actual last King of Ohio in the book, Louis Toledo, Flaming has grand ideas and tries to do a lot of things in his novel. However that is the ultimate failing of the book: it tries to be too much: part philosophy, part sci-fi, part faked resear
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Nina
Dec 06, 2015 Nina rated it did not like it
This book had lots of potential, but almost none of it was fulfilled. I wanted to like it, and I spent about three months trying to get through it, trying to approach it with new eyes each time. Despite this, the plot still felt loosely constructed and clumsily executed, the characters were somehow both forgettable and overdone at the same time, and it seemed the author only really enjoyed writing a few isolated parts of the story: anything pertaining to mechanical devices, and anything ...more
Cornelia
Jul 14, 2011 Cornelia rated it it was amazing
This fabulous, creative and heartwarming time travel is an intriguing, mysterious, and intimate read. Realistic fantasy, with deep, fleshed out characters. Beautiful. It may not be some people's idea of Steampunk but to me it is the very essence of the genre. Love it. I highly recommend The Kingdom of Ohio by Matthew Flaming, one of my favorite books.
Emily Park
Sep 05, 2011 Emily Park rated it it was amazing
http://em-and-emm.blogspot.com/2011/0...

This is a difficult book to summarize or categorize. The main setting is 1901 New York City, though it may or may not be the same 1901 NYC from our timeline. The story is also set in Los Angeles, probably in the 1990s, where the narrator lives. Peter Force is a young man who has moved from the wilds of northern Idaho (Kellogg, ID, if you must know) to NYC to be a construction worker on the new underground railroad system. One evening Peter encounters a dis
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switterbug (Betsey)
Feb 27, 2011 switterbug (Betsey) rated it liked it
This is an unusual genre-buster of a book. At the outset, it is historical fiction-- the story of a subway worker, Peter Force, who is hired to help dig the first transit tunnels in Manhattan, circa 1900. Interspersed with Peter's story is a fable about a pioneer family from France that ruled their own "Free Estate" in Ohio during the latter part of the eighteenth century. The Latoledan family *kingdom* was separate from the rest of the United States and the boundaries drawn by the Treaty of ...more
Shaunesay Eslanai
Sep 26, 2016 Shaunesay Eslanai rated it really liked it
I really would have liked more of the last third of the book spread into the first 2/3's. I liked the idea, but all of the really interesting things happened in the last part, and really left everything up to your imagination.

Historically, very interesting and I'm wanting to read more about Edison and Tesla and even J P Morgan. I feel like the writing is well done, the concept is intriguing, just not spaced as well as it could be? I would have been happy if this were a longer book that could hav
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Steve
Jan 27, 2010 Steve rated it really liked it
I wanted to give this book 3 1/2 stars. I really liked aspects of it, but it never really came together as a whole in a satisfying way. I think the idea was great as was much of the execution. Flaming's writing is especially compelling in setting up his protagonist in turn-of-the-century New York City. His descriptions of the work on subway lines, and the lives of the men building them, was the highlight for me.

Unfortunately, when he introduces the sci-fi elements of the time travel, his story-
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Stephen
Jan 16, 2011 Stephen rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, sci-fi
I fully admit to only picking up this book based on the title, and even that was a whim. Being from Ohio, I figured this would be some meta-ironic thing and I would get bored and put it down. Thankfully, I was wrong.

What Flaming does here is so amazingly original, it's hard to exactly put down what genre this is. Historical Fiction? Sci-Fi? Steam Punk? It may sound confusing, but I assure you it's not. Flaming takes all of these concepts, throws them in a blender and pours out a delicious liter
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Elizabeth
Jan 05, 2010 Elizabeth rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
I wanted to like this book. I really did. And there were parts I did like a lot—any book that sends me to the computer to dig around for historical accuracy/detail is onto something, I think. The fact that Flaming relied on references to actual books (I first realized he was using actual books when Walter Havighurst's book showed up in the footnotes, and as a Miami grad, I know exactly who Havighurst is) was a very clever tool in setting up the "what if" possibility of a lost kingdom of Toledo's ...more
Laurie
Jun 04, 2010 Laurie rated it it was ok
‘The Kingdom of Ohio’ is a time travel book, an alternate history book, but most of all, a love story. Set in 1901 New York City, I thought at first it would be a steampunk novel, since the young protagonist is working on the construction of the new subway tunnels, learning how to repair the machinery. Knowing from the book jacket that Edison and Tesla were part of the story, I thought that there would be marvelous inventions and electricity flying. This was not to be, either.

The story is very,
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Rebecca
May 19, 2010 Rebecca rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2010
The Kingdom of Ohio is part historical fiction, part pseudo-historical fiction, part romance, and part good old-fashioned time travel tale. At various points in the text I was reminded of the play Arcadia by Tom Stoppard, the works of Jonathan Safran Foer, and the 1982 television show Voyagers!. Although it may sound as though this book suffers from a serious identity crisis, Flaming manages to bring these disparate elements together, forming an original, thought-provoking narrative.

While others
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Jenny (Reading Envy)
Dec 30, 2011 Jenny (Reading Envy) rated it liked it
Recommended to Jenny (Reading Envy) by: Bill H
I was pretty entertained by the faux historical fiction this turned out to be. Enough of it is true... enough, but a lot of it has sent me running off to fact check, only to be chided for believing it to begin with. Tesla and Edison were real people, at least. :)

Part of the novel has a steampunk-friendly tinkerer-hearted side, and then it will have sudden emotional gutpunches like this, which I took the time to type up before finishing, just so I wouldn't lose it:

"Walking alone through the city
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Laura
Sometimes a book comes along that seemingly has all the elements of an instant favorite, in the case of The Kingdom of Ohio the elements are: time-travel, Victorian-era New York City, a very sweet romance and - at least for me - footnotes. (I am strangely in love with fiction books that use footnotes. Terry Pratchett is my hero).

Nevertheless, despite the presence of some very fine footnotes and the author's ability to describe turn of the century NYC in an enjoyably tangible way, this book faile
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Liviu
Jul 23, 2014 Liviu rated it it was amazing
This is a very hard novel to evaluate; in style it's an A+ being written absolutely superbly, a page turner with a great atmosphere in both threads of the novel, as well as in the snippets of the further past.

The execution is also well done though the main twist is obvious immediately, and the ending is great - some called it a cliffhanger, but I disagree - the story could end here and I would be happy, though of course a sequel would be great.

The main problem is the storyline itself, which is a
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Angie Fehl
Mar 13, 2014 Angie Fehl rated it it was amazing
I was surprised to find so many low ratings for this book! It's been one of my favorite reads so far this year! I saw in a number of reviews that many were annoyed at the length of the footnotes in the story but I actually found the backstory history pretty interesting. Perhaps it would have made for easier reading overall if these footnotes were instead made into sidebar-like pages that didn't interrupt the flow of the story, but I've come across worse problems to have with a book. I found the ...more
Christy Stewart
The premise of the book seems to be of interest to most of the other reviewers, but not I. I was hoping that because of (or perhaps despite of) that the writing and characters would make the book appeal to me; it did not.

Not that the book was horrible, but it seemed to be trying way to hard and had little depth. As if Flaming read The Da Vinci Code and The Time Travelers Wife and said to himself "I can do that" with complete disregard to the fact that those two books shouldn't have been written
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Sezín Koehler
Time travel, Tesla, Edison, and NYC in the early 1900s make for a fascinating read. Beautifully written, and such a unique story. For a book I randomly found at my town's biannual book sale, this was unexpectedly fantastic. Definitely recommend this one for adventurous readers into the intersection where historical fiction meets science fiction.
Colleen
Jan 12, 2012 Colleen rated it did not like it
I'm sorry to say I really didn't like this novel very much.Matthew Flaming uses footnotes way too much for a novel.It was very distracting .I have no idea what the point of the novel was ,it really wasn't about time travel or a love story.It was a very boring novel.Won this novel from goodreads
Sarah
Feb 27, 2010 Sarah rated it it was ok
Mostly, I found this book to be dull. We have time travel, Tesla, Edison, secret kingdoms, the mystery of Roanoake . . . and I could barely convince myself to finish it. What happens when a philosophy major attempts to write scifi, I guess.
Carmel
Apr 24, 2015 Carmel rated it really liked it
Matthew Flaming is a skilled writer. His carefully arrayed sentences conveyed insightful analysis about the concept of time and how it relates to human existence. Many lines in this book were thought provoking and the fact that he neatly wove his philosophical perspective into the fabric of the story itself was quite impressive. It wasn't funny, but it wasn't boring either. Also his fascination with historical accuracy and use of annotation was so unusual and informative. The combination of ...more
Alvin Webb
Oct 25, 2016 Alvin Webb rated it it was amazing
Definitely a surprising read. I was very impressed with plot development and the premise of the story.
Bookish
Mar 08, 2010 Bookish rated it it was amazing
It's a story about conspiracies and struggles to reshape the world; about secret wars between men like J. P. Morgan, Thomas Edison, and Nikola Tesla. It is about one of the strangest and least-known mysteries of American history: the existence and disappearance of the Lost Kingdom of Ohio. It is about science and faith, and the distance between the two.

Most of all, it's a story about a man and a woman, and about love.


If it sounds like The Kingdom of Ohio by Matthew Flaming has it all - alternat
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Caitlin
Feb 25, 2011 Caitlin rated it did not like it
Peter Force relocates to New York City at the turn of the century and takes a job helping to drill the first subway tunnels. A poor newcomer to the city, Peter finds a room in a flophouse and befriends his fellow workers, but the city only really seems to come alive for him when a chance encounter introduces him to Cheri-Anne Toledo, a woman who believes she has traveled seven years into the future. Cheri-Anne is the last of the House of Toledo, a small independent kingdom that few know has ...more
Barb
Oct 25, 2009 Barb rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2009, vine
An Interesting Approach to Narration, Clever History, But Emotionally Stifled

There are many things to admire about this first novel from Matthew Flaming. The fictional history of the 'Kingdom of Ohio' was clever and convincing. The narration was also very cleverly executed. The story itself was compelling and interesting but unfortunately the execution was not all that it could have been.

Peter Force meets Cheri-Anne Toledo in New York City, the year is 1901. She claims she is from the Kingdom o
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Ben
Aug 31, 2011 Ben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A thoroughly enjoyable read. Flaming's book combines four of my favorite things: historical fiction, alternate history, sci-fi, and magical realism. The book is set in a fin de siecle Idaho and New York that, at least initially, seems just like that in our own reality. Flaming does a fantastic job of recreating the world of that time. The sights, smells, sounds, and feel of New York around 1900 seem to jump off of the page and fill the room around you. While I won't go into too much detail (I ...more
Amy
Jan 08, 2010 Amy rated it liked it
I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher.

This is a difficult book to describe. Part time travel tale, part alternative reality science fiction, part historical novel and part romance. A little bit of everything packed into a small book. The book is narrated by an elderly antiques dealer. Upon finding an old photograph in a delivery of antique goods, the narrator is moved to tell the story of a young star-crossed couple in the year 1900. Peter Force, a young engineer working on
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I grew up in Los Angeles and studied philosophy as an undergraduate at Hampshire College in Massachusetts. I currently live in Portland, Oregon.
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“Whether beautiful or terrible, the past is always a ruin.” 11 likes
“They tell me we're living in an information age, but none of it seems to be the information I need or brings me closer to what I want to know. In fact (I'm becoming more and more convinced) all this electronic wizardry only adds to our confusion, delivering inside scoops and verdicts about events that have hardly begun: a torrent of chatter moving at the speed of light, making it nearly impossible for any of the important things to be heard” 7 likes
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