Angelica's Reviews > The Kingdom

The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg
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bookshelves: meh, arc, read-2019, release-2019, reviewed, interesting-story

This book was not what I expected. I mean, I knew it wasn’t going to be all rainbows and unicorn farts. The synopsis lets you know right away that this book is about the underside of the fairytale, about all the dark things that happen backstage to the fantasy.

And yet, I don't know why I still didn't quite see it coming.

This book follows Ana, one of seven Fantasists and The Kingdom, a Disney World type of amusement park. The Fantasists are seven engineered girls meant to be the princesses of The Kingdom. They were made to be beautiful, kind, generous, and perfect in every way. They were made to be obedient, docile, subservient, and to never speak their mind.

In the eyes of the world, they are perfect girls . In reality, they are prisoners to The Kingdom, constantly harassed and abused, lied to and manipulated, forced to endure the cruel games of the scientists that created them and the park's investors who paid for them.

All until something starts going wrong with the girls' programming and they start to develop feelings and desires other than the ones they were created for. Sure, they feel love. It is the premise of the story after all. But they also start feeling loss, fear, and most importantly, hatred for the people that have kept them as prisoners.

That's where things get interesting.

I think this book makes great commentary on the use of women's bodies. There were wonderful moments of insight that stuck so hard because they are things that real life women have to experience and endure every day. 

My issues with this come firstly, with the romance. It felt unreal. Like there is no real reason for this relationship between Ana and Owen. In fact, Owen didn't feel like a full character to me. Why was he doing this? What was his motivation? His background?

All the other Fantasists were also pretty boring if I'm honest. Nia was a bit interesting at first but we didn't get much of her story. Also, Eve had potential but her story isn't really elaborated on. We don't get to see the other Fantasists really develop.

I also couldn't really connect with Ana. I felt her struggle, her pain, I acknowledged it, I just couldn't seem to care the way I was supposed to. Does that make sense?

Also, the end felt a bit rushed? A bit unfinished? I have more questions than answers.

In the end, I couldn't love this as I wanted. As I said, this book is as if the plot of Westworld was happening in a Disney park. That said, Westworld does it better. I couldn't help but have Westworld in the back of my head while reading, especially after they mentioned the Romeo & Juliet quote: "Violent delights have violent ends", a recurring motif in Westworld.

My rating though mostly comes from the fact that in a few weeks I probably would have forgotten most of its character and in a year I probably would have forgotten most things but the premise. It justs didn't stick with me.

I'm not sure this review even makes sense. But that's how I felt so there you have it.

TW: emotional abuse, sexual abuse (implied, never shown), suicide

ARC was provided by the publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
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Reading Progress

May 26, 2019 – Shelved
May 31, 2019 – Started Reading
June 3, 2019 – Finished Reading
June 5, 2019 – Shelved as: meh
June 5, 2019 – Shelved as: arc
June 5, 2019 – Shelved as: read-2019
June 5, 2019 – Shelved as: release-2019
June 5, 2019 – Shelved as: reviewed
June 5, 2019 – Shelved as: interesting-story

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

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message 1: by Marie -The Reading Otter (last edited Jun 06, 2019 10:07PM) (new) - added it

Marie -The Reading Otter Lol, unicorn farts. I love that.
This book has been very hyped, and that always makes me* both nervous and skeptical.


Angelica Marie -The Reading Otter wrote: "Lol, unicorn farts. I love that.
This book has been very hyped, and that always makes be both nervous and skeptical."


I think the book is decent enough but its definitely been overhyped. I hope you like it if you do get to read it!


Marie -The Reading Otter Angelica wrote: "Marie -The Reading Otter wrote: "Lol, unicorn farts. I love that.
This book has been very hyped, and that always makes me both nervous and skeptical."

I think the book is decent enough but its de..."

I will most likely be getting this from my Library when it comes out. No losses borrowing from the library


message 4: by Aoife (new)

Aoife Rainbows and unicorn farts, deff best opening to a review i've seen this week 👍
Sorry the book left you with more questions that answers, sounds like a bit of a darker more thought provoking read than we typically associate with YA...I'm still curious to pick it up but may do like Marie - the Reading Otter and borrow rather than buy :)


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