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The Kingdoms

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  53 ratings  ·  44 reviews
For fans of The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle and David Mitchell, a genre bending, 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
...more
Hardcover, 448 pages
Expected publication: May 25th 2021 by Bloomsbury Publishing
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Average rating 4.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  53 ratings  ·  44 reviews


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charlotte, (½ of readsrainbow)
oh i want to reread it immediately oops

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

CWs: implied conversion therapy & rape, violence, gore
anna (½ of readsrainbow)
rep: half-Chinese gay mc, half-Spanish gay mc, Black side characters
tw: rape, murder, blood, violence, guns

natasha has done it AGAIN, my gay heart is so tired
Grace
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
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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
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Jody
Dec 29, 2020 rated it liked it
Thank you to Bloomsbury & Netgalley for the chance to read The Kingdoms.
I have to admit i didn't overly enjoy this one, despite enjoying Natasha's other novels.
It felt overly difficult to follow the narrative, and didn't seem necessary to make it that difficult.
Having said that, the story was fascinating and i enjoyed the whole premise all in all.
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Rachel McMillan
Dec 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I am really not sure how to properly express how transportative Pulley's books are. She tugs me into fantastical worlds steeped in beautiful research so that I feel that they are like our world but on the edge of something magnificent at the same time.

She is the best weaver of yarns: she wraps you so tightly in her beautiful, surprising and natural voice that you always feel a little colder---albeit wiser-- at the end of her stories and The Kingdoms-- this wonder of imagination --- is no differe
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Abi Walton
I have just put the book down on the last sentence and had to sit there for a bit because this novel is just so beautiful. I loved the quiet moments between the characters and in those spaces, the words unsaid that mean so much to the story and the reader.

Pulley knows how to create space in her tales for the characters to breathe. and she explores the small soft moments in relationships and uses them to give her reader a picture of the whole relationship in the silence. This only heightens thes
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Julia
Jan 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Review based on an eARC provided by the publisher.

Natasha Pulley’s fourth novel The Kingdoms, publishing day 27 May 2021, is an alternate history/time travel story set between the French Revolution and the early 20th century [I’m being vague on purpose]. The French won the Napoleonic Wars and Britain is under French rule; that might need a moment to sink in, take your time.

Our MC Joe arrives in a London that is familiar to him and is not. He’s lost his memories. He’s certain though that his wife
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Lauren James
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rachael
Dec 11, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, fantasy
This is a hard book to review. I liked it in parts but the more I read, the more confusing, disjointed and pretentious it got. It's a book that requires a lot of concentration and took me days to complete.
The Kingdoms is an enigmatic and atmospheric alternative history tale that sometimes lingers with you but mostly leaves you puzzled. This was better than Natasha Pulley's debut novel, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, but while her storytelling is good, it is also complicated and I still don't
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Raquel Flockhart
ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Paul
Nov 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
A creative story, well-told. Fantasy is not my fave genre, but there is often good books there. I like time-travel stories and enjoyed this one overall. It certainly has a diverse cast, and it's unpredictable. There was a little too much violence and darkness for me, but I admire the author's talent, recommend this for fantasy fans.

I really appreciate the ARC for review!!
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Emily
Oct 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I snagged an ARC from NetGalley this week and dove straight in, not breathing until I finally surfaced gasping at the end. I can’t believe I have to wait 7 more months till I can have other people to yell about it with me. The plot made me ANXIOUS so I’ll have to reread it now because I raced through it at breakneck speed, but it was worth it; I’m looking forward to savoring the second time through.
Alyssa
Oct 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Review posted on Edelweiss.
Holli
Jan 07, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: that-time-story
I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for a review.
Reading this book was a strange experience. From the beginning, I thought I would adore it. I even thought that it might be a new favorite. But it soon devolved into something I am annoyed to have finished reading. It's like the opposite of the experience I had with The Doomsday Book.
Perhaps I was pulled in by the promise of a genre-bending story and expected this to be far more interesting and clever and so set myself up for disap
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Emily
Nov 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars
ARC provided by the publisher.

This is now my 4th Pulley novel and I think it’s my favourite. It, as with all her books, leaves you not quite understanding until the end which then paints everything that came before in a different light. And I cried horrendously for the last 50 pages.

A little disclaimer that I feel like I now have to make after four books: in one book or even two, I could write it off but four books where the front running female character serves the exact same role? Girl... what
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Giki
When Joe steps off a train in London, everything suddenly seems wrong. He has no memory of who he is or of his life before this point in time. He recognises London, but the streets and houses don't seem right, and he is not the only one with this problem.
This is an England that lost the Napoleonic wars, an England ruled by France. Joe settles into his life as a slave with a benign master and a wife who does not love him, neither of whom he recognises. Life is quiet and comfortable, but Joe is un
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Nadia Tivvis
Nov 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Like in her previous novels, Pulley explores ideas about time, memory, and the impact of particular technological inventions on history in her newest book, The Kingdoms. Here, though, the plot even more directly questions how alternate histories might come about and their impacts, personal and political. Also like her other novels, it's very difficult to describe anything about the book without giving away major twists.
The Kingdoms begins with the main character, Joe, revealing that his first m
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Andover Library
Nov 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is wonderful, a beautifully woven story that jumps us across time periods to focus on the things that really matter to us - the people who feel like 'home'.

I’m a big fan of books set in the Napoleonic era and I find it a truly fascinating period in history. Here Natasha Pulley gives us a glimpse into an alternate timeline of that period (among other time strands) , taking a look at what could have happened to Britain had the battle of Trafalgar been lost to the French.

Focusing on Joe
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Teresa Cornelius
The Kingdoms by Natasha Pulley
Having read and loved The Watchmaker of Filigree Street and The Bedlam Stacks I knew that I would be in for a treat. This is a historical novel which twists timelines and creates many possible futures.
As the novel opens Joe steps off a train in a London which bears no resemblance to one with which we would be familiar. He is suffering from amnesia and has no knowledge of his life before. The London where he has arrived is one in which English is a forbidden language
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Edwin Howard
Jan 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
In THE KINGDOMS, by Natasha Pulley, we meet Joe Tournier, a man in late 19th century who suffers from amnesia, who receives a hundred year old postcard. The message and image of a lighthouse on the postcard provide Joe a clue to who he is and more importantly, where (and when) he is from. Joe's journey to the lighthouse becomes an adventure through time where nothing and no one is what they seem.
The book drops the reader, with very little pretense, into Joe's life and all of his inward confusio
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Chantal Lyons
Nov 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Despite its fair length, I devoured 'The Kingdoms'!

I had previously read Pulley's debut, 'The Watchmaker of Filigree Street'. I struggled to finish that, partly because the twists and the concepts were too opaque for me. In this book, it's the rules of time that Pulley plays with, but it wasn't as confusing - more rewarding, as understanding gradually dawned on me (and even since finishing, little details and realisations keep bubbling to the surface of my mind).

I didn't start 'The Kingdoms' in
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Martin Paul
Dec 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've followed Natasha Pulley since I picked up her first book, "The Watchmaker of Filigree Street", so I knew going into this Netgalley ARC that things would probably get weird.

And I was right.

"The Kingdoms" opens with the character we come to know as Joe, alighting from a train in London. He has no memory of who or where he is, but knows that something isn't right. Everyone is speaking French, and all the signs are in French. We soon realise this is an alternate world where Napoleon was victori
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Kafka Priestley
Dec 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Do you want to know how good this book is? I stayed up all night before my finals just so I could read all of it. That's how good this book is. I will admit that I may be biased, as I am probably one of the biggest Natasha Pulley fans out there, so I began this book expecting great things. Not only did she surpass my expectations--she blew them out of the water.

The premise is extremely unique and unlike anything that I have ever read before. Joe, the protagonist, cannot remember anything, and f
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Zoe
Nov 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Kingdoms starts tantalisingly with our narrator, Joe, finding himself lost in every sense of the word. Not only is Joe bewildered, the reader is too; for this is London but not as we know it. Welcome to Londres, a smoky metropolis on the outskirts of the great French Empire who were triumphant in The Napoleonic War. Now native British people are workers or slaves for the Gallic elite and written English is seditious.

This book is skilfully written and contains some gorgeous descriptions which
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Shawn
Nov 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: e, giveaways, owned, fantasy
This book had a lot going for it... time travel, sea battles, intrigue, mystery. Should have been an great read. There were times when I really enjoyed it.
Things i enjoyed:
Well written descriptions of battles from the lower deck perspective.
Well thought-out ideas about how knowledge of the future could be used on subtle ways to change the outcome of events.
Ideas about how the time travel method in the book would function to the point of realistic experiments written into the story.

However
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Margaret Schoen
Nov 12, 2020 rated it it was ok
This is a review of an ARC from Edelweiss.

The last thing Joe Tournier remembers is stepping off the train in London. That's actually the first thing he remembers too - everything about his life prior to that is gone. As is the London he came from.

Ok, there's no way to review this without spoilers so ...(view spoiler)
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Ann Dewar
Dec 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Oh the frustration of not being properly able to talk about a book which won’t be out until May 2021 when I want to try and write my head around it!

Those familiar with Natasha Pulley’s previous books will not be surprised that this is mind and time-bending stuff. Here we flit between the 18th and 19th centuries and alternative histories as our central character, Joe, struggles to work out both who he really is and where he belongs.

There are lengthy stretches aboard battleships in the Napoleonic
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Janet
Dec 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
An alternative world where Napoleon was victorious, a main character suffering from amnesia and several time shifts. I love Natasha Pulley's books but I found this one rather confusing. The plot is quite complex and difficult to follow at times. Nevertheless there is something about Pulley's writing that makes it compulsive reading. The style is so poetic and poignant and I couldn't put it down. The ending pulled everything together but I feel like I need to re-read it all, more slowly next time ...more
SharleneH
What if you lost your memory and you wake in a Country that is now French rather than English?
What if you remember a lighthouse but not the reasons why?
A dark mysterious read that was mesmerising whilst haunting.
The main character Joe is flawed and confused and we learn more about him as the book goes on.
This is a longer read and my arc copy was a little disjointed which made it harder to flow but did not deduct from my enjoyment.
Definitely will be reading more by this author in the future
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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

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