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The Kingdoms

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  6,594 ratings  ·  1,564 reviews
A time twisting alternative history that asks whether it's worth changing the past to save the future, even if it costs you everyone you've ever loved.

Joe Tournier has a bad case of amnesia. His first memory is of stepping off a train in the nineteenth-century French colony of England. The only clue Joe has about his identity is a century-old postcard of a Scottish lighth
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published May 25th 2021 by Bloomsbury Publishing
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Urwa while this was my first Pulley book, I enjoyed it immensely. Yes, i would describe it as "heartbreaking" and "shattering" but in a good way. It's abou…morewhile this was my first Pulley book, I enjoyed it immensely. Yes, i would describe it as "heartbreaking" and "shattering" but in a good way. It's about a man who has amnesia so it's bound to be sad. The ending is very happy and full of hope, so you don't have to worry about that. It's one of the best endings to a book set in the 18th-century with queer characters imo!
The Kingdoms is now one of my favorite time-slip books of all time <3 I hope you give it a try and I hope you love it just as much as I did (less)
Lany It's considered an adult book. I don't, personally, find very much objectionable content in this book or any of the ones written by N. Pulley, but it …moreIt's considered an adult book. I don't, personally, find very much objectionable content in this book or any of the ones written by N. Pulley, but it is probably way too complex for a young reader. I wouldn't hand it to anyone under the age of about 16 depending on how advanced they are. There's mostly just some violence/death, a bit of swearing, and some pretty chaste kisses. (less)

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Average rating 4.04  · 
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 ·  6,594 ratings  ·  1,564 reviews

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chai ♡

To say that I am utterly, irretrievably, unreservedly *obsessed* with this book would be to engage in criminal understatement. The experience of reading The Kingdoms was all-consuming, as engulfing as a fever. Time descended on me, closed over me, and for the space of a few hundred pages, there seemed to be nothing else in the world worth reading—or doing. The world was simply composed of only myself and this book.

After reading, I immediately purchased P
When I came to the end of this book it felt like my heart had expanded or something. I’m not being hyperbolic, I had a genuine physical response to it. This happens occasionally, when I’ve read or watched something that really gets to me: this the-world-is-full-of-wonders sensation that feels more chemical than natural. It’s the difference, I think, between a response to technical excellence and a response to emotional excellence. The Kingdoms is the epitome of the latter.

Because: this is how yo
Jun 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I finished this some hours ago now and I am still dazed. What a staggeringly tense, emotional, perfect ending. Natasha Pulley is definitely now up there with my very favourite authors.

The Kingdoms begins in London in 1898, when Joe Tournier disembarks from a train apparently suffering from amnesia. This is London or Londres in an alternative history, where the French won the Battle of Trafalgar and made slaves of the English population. This is exciting in itself for someone like me who loves a
anna (½ of readsrainbow)
rep: half-Chinese gay mc, half-Spanish gay mc, Black side characters
tw: rape, murder, blood, violence, guns

Review also on Reads Rainbow. ARC provided by the publisher.

People generally agree that it’s harder to review books you’ve enjoyed; that it’s harder to find the words to describe all the ways in which you loved a book, than it is to explain why you hated it. This statement, for me, has never been more true than right now.

I’ve read The Kingdoms six months ago, and I actually haven’t stopped
Jan 23, 2021 rated it liked it
I'll caveat my lukewarm review (2.5 stars rounded up to 3) by acknowledging that it's probably not Natasha Pulley's fault, it's all me. In theory, I should really like her books! Dear friends of mine with overlapping taste adore them. Her books are fantastical, involve rich descriptions and scenery and glorious tangles of language, often set in historical periods and I truly love a good historical fiction fantasy; I mean I reread Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell at least once a year! And yet, I bri ...more
Kathy Shin
Base recipe for a Natasha Pulley cocktail:

- 1 fish-out-of-water protagonist
- 1 kind love interest
- 1 cup loneliness. the type that stops you right on the verge of crying, so you're just left with a constant hum of wrongness and guilt
- 1 cup silences that contain a universe of meanings
- 2 tbsp witty witticisms ("It was good to know he did have a backbone, after two years of feeling pretty sure he was an invertebrate")

Extra additions for The Kingdoms:

- 1 sea captain with RBF who holds romanc
Katie Lumsden
Jun 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
What a book! Clever, poignant, beautifully written, fun, surprising, fantastically plotted and just so thoroughly amazing. Absolutely one of my favourites of the year. Natasha Pulley does it again.
For the last couple of decades, many emerging authors have managed to make of me their follower. Capable authors in even the most niche genres getting or recycling ideas above their station or experience. Natasha Pulley is such an author.

Pulley is a writer who has a command of language and form. She is a full fledged narrator. The Kingdoms is a work that I feel, is one of the rare ones released this year that will be a classic. This is a historical mystery that has time travel in it. That's not
D. B. Guin
Oct 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Frankly, what the HELL just happened?

Things this book is:
• A history-based time travel adventure/romance, taking place in Great Britain around the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries.

• Kind of slow. Much more heavy on the reflective, atmospheric and emotional side than the adventure one, though there is plenty of seafaring gore.

• Gay.

• Not super surprising. As soon as you get the first reluctant crumb of background about The Kingdom from Kite and the first flashback, you know the MC's previous
Apr 30, 2021 marked it as to-read
My standard reaction when David Mitchell is mentioned as a comparison to a book: add to tbr ✅
Plus I loved Watchmaker of Filigree Street 🕰
Aug 22, 2021 rated it did not like it

This book is about time travel and changing the past. As such, like other books in its category, it deals with the butterfly effect, and it does it like this: when the past is changed, the people in present day have their memories of their old past essentially wiped, and new history is superimposed into the minds of those in the future, leaving behind a few scant flashes of their life before.

What I'm trying to say is that this book was written in a way that made me think Natasha Pull
I loved this one so much. I will post a review when I have recovered.
Even after a couple of weeks I still have a bit of a ‘book-hangover’ - but here goes

The story starts with Joe arriving at a train station in late Victorian London, except it is called Londres, everyone is speaking French and the fact that Joe is speaking English is treated with suspicion.
For those familiar with fantasy tropes it is immediately obvious we have an alternative history… but this is so much more.

Joe remembers h
oh i want to reread it immediately oops

read our full reviews on reads rainbow

Rep: biracial (white, Chinese) gay mc with epilepsy, gay mc, Black side characters

CWs: implied conversion therapy & rape, violence, gore
cel ✼ readwithcel
hey siri play that voice recording of me wailing my lungs out at 1am

(written for my top 10 books of 2021 countdown on bookstagram where it's ranked at #3)

this year i discovered the voice of natasha pulley and oh goodness, what an enchanting voice to know. singing a siren song, spinning a rich golden tale, an undercurrent of tender magic wrapping around and pulling you under. where has this been all my life?

so: the kingdoms. it has my entire heart, this was an experience unlike any other - litera
Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of The Kingdoms.

The premise sounded so intriguing so I was excited when my request was approved.

** Minor spoilers **

Sadly, it failed to capture my interest for a number of reasons:

1. The world building was good, but not enough exposition was given, the framework was loose and readers had to guess about the political and societal climate Joe woke up in.

2. The writing was good, but wordy, tedious, and many times the narrative dragged.

3. I didn't connect with
Spencer Orey
Jan 18, 2022 rated it really liked it
Really strange time bending alt. history novel. I wanted it to be a little smarter overall, and I found myself getting a bit frustrated with the focus on the characters rather than any full engagement with the huge historical struggles. But there were some genuine emotional moments that got to me! And I was curious the whole time whether or not the book would turn into a "we have to set history right!" novel or a "I have to do what's right for ME" novel or a time heist novel or what. So it's fre ...more
Reread March 2022: I will never know rest.


"I've missed you even when I didn't remember you."

If you've been here for a hot minute, you probably know I adore Natasha Pulley's writing. She's carved a niche in the literary scene with her soft gay magical realist novels that are somehow exactly to my taste.

Now, I'm not going to lie, in the middle of this book I thought this just might not get 5 stars from me, because there w
Shelley Parker-Chan
Damn, I loved this! Perfectly doled-out timey-wimey mysteriousness, identity-bending in the best bittersweet way, an incredible high-stakes slow burn m/m romance, and gorgeously detailed worldbuilding.
I'm just supposed to distill all these gigantic emotions into some kind of review, huh?

I've very rarely met books that were written specifically for me--there are a handful, yes, and I will be very glad to have this book join their ranks.

This book is not for everyone. It's...complicated and horrible and aching, it's full of sharp edges and burn scars and murder, it's about history and love and what those two concepts do to people. It's about ships. And telegraphs. Lighthouses and time travel.
John Gilbert
I found this book nearly incomprehensible to fathom. It was interesting enough to get me through to the very end as I thought it might make sense by then, but no, no sense throughout.

It was creative, but time jumping between 1904, 1797, 1804 and more, I found it impossible to keep track. Alternate histories with France winning at Trafalger and Waterloo, or not.

Kudos for Ms Pully's imagination, nothing for having this reader able to follow what was going on.

Not my cup of tea at all, but I know so
Aug 26, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Alternative history with time slip, sounds good, should be my kind of fantasy yet I found it painfully slow and really found it a struggle to get to the end. The world building is strong and detailed, the descriptions really make the settings believable. I won’t try to describe the plot, it’s convoluted! There’s lots of great imagery and ideas throughout.
S.R. Harris
Mar 20, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was really good.

I found myself caught up in the mystery of Joe, this man found coming off of a train in a London now ruled by France. Joe has no memory of his past but he tries his best to continue on with his life.

When he receives a letter with a mysterious message, he puts himself in a position to go to the location in the letter.

When Joe arrives at the lighthouse he begins a wonderful journey into the past with the hopes of changing the future.

This was beautifully written, just when I th
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘
Sometimes rating a book is purely emotional. This is one of those times. At the back of my mind there's a cold voice hissing that Missouri Kite is a terrible human being (view spoiler), that I'm still unsure if I was meant to unveil the mystery of who Joe was so quickly (I'm pretty sure I was, though) and that I should correct my rating accordingly.

That cold voice can shut the fuck up, though. The Kingdoms smashed my defenses on page one—it thorou
thank you to netgalley & the publishers for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review

2.5 stars

The Kingdoms started out strong but as each of the six sections passed the story became less and less engaging. Characters who I was intrigued by started to become boring if not straight up annoying to read about. There was real emotional weight to begin with but by the end, these huge moments had little to no introspection (view spoiler)
RATA &#x1f400;
«Look, those visions — those memories, those are the best things I have. Please.»

To begin with, I have to admit that the beginning might be a little bit dense. You have to get used to situating yourself well in what time (period/date) each character is.

But I assure you;
After. That. Each. Page. Is. GOLD .

Natasha Pulley's prose, her descriptions and the relationship between her characters makes the book really atmospheric. As if you were feeling the essence of the sea salt when the charact
Rach A.
I don’t think I have the words for this review. This was absolutely exquisite, this *destroyed* me. It’s one of the most beautiful love stories I’ve ever read, I just immediately want to reread. The moment everything kind of clicks together and you realise what happened is soul shattering. It was stunning. How can your heart not break into a million pieces at this quote:

“You’re my family! You were family before any of them. I’ve missed you even when I didn’t remember you. Everything I’ve done s
Lou (nonfiction fiend)
The Kingdoms is a genre-bending, time-twisting alternative history fantasy that asks whether it's worth changing the past to save the future, even if it costs you everyone you've ever loved set at both the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. It's 1898 and Joe Tournier has a bad case of amnesia; he appears to remember his name but nothing else of value. His first memory is of stepping off a train in Londres in the nineteenth-century French colony of England having travelled there from Glasgow. H ...more
Chaitanya Srivastava
May 26, 2021 rated it did not like it
I couldn’t read this book after 65 pages. I JUST COULDN’T!! The problem with this book is - THE WRITING.

I am not familiar with this author at all and this was my first book of Pulley and probably the last. I can rightfully say that this book reminded me so much of a time when I used to be very apprehensive of picking up historical fiction. This is not only historical but has a weird time travel (?) in it which reads off as a mystery/suspense and kind of tries to be too many things at once but ju
Mar 22, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mm, fantasy
Twisty gripping time travel and alternate history story with a yearning love story and a big mystery underneath. It is fantastic. It is also fantastically flawed (in my opinion).

I was not planning to read this originally and it did not sound like something I wanted to read (Incidentally I think this deserved a cover with a lot more personality, and also a different blurb, because I had quite the wrong idea about it and it is more appealing, more romantic and emotional and less dry than I expect
May 04, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pulley has crafted a bewitching time-travel saga that, surprisingly, focuses on the aftereffects of traveling through time — intentionally or not.

The Kingdoms begins in 1898 with Joe Tournier clearly experiencing some kind of episode after arriving via train to the station. Everything he encounters seems to fight with his memory of what he knows, which seems to be a shifting argument in his head. A man from the train helps him to the hospital where he is told many have experienced this phenomena
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Questions I wish I could ask the author 2 33 Jul 22, 2022 09:34AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Book Cover Change - ISBN: 9781526623157 2 17 Mar 07, 2022 08:48PM  
Time Travel: July 2021: The Kingdoms 21 50 Aug 05, 2021 08:28PM  

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Natasha Pulley is a British author, best known for her debut novel, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street , which won a Betty Trask Award. ...more

Articles featuring this book

Here at Goodreads World Headquarters, we're all about spotting trends, and we can confidently proclaim 2022 as the year of the "genre-bending"...
152 likes · 21 comments
“You're my family! You were family before any of them. I've missed you even when I didn't remember you. Everything I've done since losing you has been about getting back to you. And I know I've left you behind before for other families, but not this time. I can't do it again.” 12 likes
“Come home, if you remember.” 12 likes
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