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The Kings Are Already Here

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  142 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Phebe Knight has always wanted to be a ballerina. But now, one year away from joining the Company, her mind begins to wander. To clear her head, she decides to visit her father, who lives in Switzerland. There, she meets Nikolai Kotalev, a teenage chess champion, who is looking for the legendary Stas Vlajnik, the teacher who will show him how to be a grand master capable o ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published October 21st 2004 by Speak (first published April 22nd 2003)
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3.52  · 
Rating details
 ·  142 ratings  ·  17 reviews


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Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
The nice cover (a chess king beside the figure of a graceful ballet dancer), the fact that it is hardbound, cheap and with the killer blurb--

"When the obsessive worlds of chess and ballet collide, they illuminate each other and transform two lives."

made me buy this book. But it was youth and mediocrity which I found colliding here, illuminating my mind and making me realize that not all books with chess in it deserve five stars.

The author, perhaps too lazy to do research, could not even get her
...more
Devon
Jan 31, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: own
I got this book a looooong time ago from Emery and just dug it up from my mother’s house in my search for short books to read before the end of the year.

I love the dynamic in this book. There’s a chess player and a ballerina – two professions you wouldn’t consider very similar – but the book plays up their similarities and differences and makes you realize that it could have, almost as easily, been about any two subjects that take intense concentration, talent, and practice to master.

I love the
...more
Liralen
Interesting juxtaposition of themes—ballet and chess both used as vehicles to explore passion and grace and skill and talent and calling and the question of what constitutes success. It ends up being far more about chess, as Phebe is trying to figure out whether it's time to make a graceful exit from the ballet world and has largely ceased to care; Nikolai, meanwhile, is entirely consumed by his devotion to chess.

Not as engaging to me as I would have hoped, though I'm not sure if that's due to t
...more
Kricket
Feb 08, 2013 rated it liked it
phebe is a dancer trying to decide if she wants to dedicate her life to ballet. nicolai is a chess-player, escaped from his tyrannical father but abandoned by the teacher who promised to help him. phebe comes to geneva to spend the summer with her father, who is acting as something of a guardian to nicolai. they both must consider what it means to give their lives over to these singular passions, if chess and ballet are really what they believe in above all else.

ehh. 2.5 stars rounded up. freym
...more
Z
Aug 08, 2009 rated it liked it
Again, I think I liked this because there were adults taking teenagers seriously. There was also ballet, and while it was a pretty standard ballet plot (will she leave ballet or not?!) with no surprises as to where it led, it was done a bit differently than normal. By which I mean at least she didn't turn to modern dance, as so many other girls in ballet stories do. Overall, I thought the characters and their interactions with each other were quite interesting, and I liked the thought processes ...more
Meaghan
Oct 04, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: chess and ballet enthusiasts
Although I thought the plot was very original, I had a lot of problems with this book. Both narrators' voices sounded the same to me, and I found it hard to grasp the reasoning behind their actions. I’m also not really clear on just when this book was set—sometime during the Cold War I think, but during the sixties, the seventies, what? This was, however, an intriguing glimpse on the inside of both chess and ballet.
Emily
Oct 22, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: youngadult
I think the only reason I liked this book was because of the ballet theme. It wasn't a bad book, but the mystery/suspense part of it didn't really grab me. I guess, in addition to the ballet, the book's saving grace was the well-developed main characters, although I'm not sure how believable some of their behavior was.
Miss Bookiverse
This is not a bad book, the writing is pretty good but I guess it just wasn't for me. The main topic is chess and even though that didn't totally put me off, it wasn't very interesting either.
I highly recommend My Heartbeat by the author, I liked that one a lot more.
elissa
Feb 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
My least favorite of her 4 books, but it's still very good. Since her most recent book is my favorite, I'm expecting more very good books from this author. There is a lot of interesting thinking in KINGS, but not quite as interesting a story. I'd probably give this 3 1/2 stars if I could, but I'm rounding up.
Melody
Sep 12, 2007 rated it really liked it
Another solid book. Chess-playing boy and ballet-dancing girl tell parallel stories to good effect. Freymann-Weyr can really get inside the heads of the serious kids, and make a compelling story out of what she finds there.
Caressa
Dec 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Coming soon...
Michelle
Dec 16, 2007 rated it really liked it
This book took a few tries to get into, but once into it, Freymann-Weyr delivers as always. Interesting characters, lovely dialogue, good story.
Stephanie A.
Tedious. I never saw a reason to care about either character.
Marna
Sep 23, 2015 rated it liked it
Memorable. I still remember this book and I read a lot of these.
Alexa Hamilton
Jan 17, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: teenbooks
Very quiet book about two rather European pursuits: ballet and chess. Explores the author's usual themes of far-flung families and pursuing your individual talents. Good but not great.
Debrarian
Mar 06, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-aka-teen
Very formal piece about two serious (and seriously scheduled & determined) youngsters, a ballet dancer & a chess player. Okay, not all that engaging. Too much in the head, I thought.
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