Books · Review

Review: The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg



Welcome to the Kingdom… where ‘Happily Ever After’ isn’t just a promise, but a rule.

Glimmering like a jewel behind its gateway, The Kingdom is an immersive fantasy theme park where guests soar on virtual dragons, castles loom like giants, and bioengineered species–formerly extinct–roam free.

Ana is one of seven Fantasists, beautiful “princesses” engineered to make dreams come true. When she meets park employee Owen, Ana begins to experience emotions beyond her programming including, for the first time… love.

But the fairytale becomes a nightmare when Ana is accused of murdering Owen, igniting the trial of the century. Through courtroom testimony, interviews, and Ana’s memories of Owen, emerges a tale of love, lies, and cruelty–and what it truly means to be human.

CW/TW: Child Abuse, Death, Suicide, Animal Abuse

My Thoughts:

The concept and setting are really interesting, I was instantly intrigued just from the blurb. Once I started reading it did intrigue me and kept me interested, it did take me a while to read it though, it wasn’t super gripping. It’s quite a slow-paced book, there’s not a lot (if any) action, it relies solely on intrigue to drive the plot. There’s a lot of repetition, you get to see everyday life as a fantasist and that got a bit monotonous at times. I was constantly waiting for something to happen.

As for the world itself: The Kingdom is very atmospheric, it’s a beautiful place but sinister and dark behind the scenes.  You don’t get to see the outside world but from the few hints given, it’s a dystopian kind of society.

I enjoyed this book, it certainly wasn’t bad… There was just something missing from this book. I don’t know what it is exactly but I wanted more. It was enjoyable but slow. I wish there was more explained about the world etc. The ending was pretty predictable, the ‘plot twist’ was completely obvious, therefore, had little effect. I feel like the set up of this book leads you to believe something will happen and the ending feels a bit incomplete?

There’s a lot of questions left to be answers and definitely room for a sequel… If there was one I would read it. I was definitely intrigued enough to carry on, should there be more books.

We follow Ana, a fantasist – which is kinda like a cyborg – whose duty it is to work in The Kingdom and create a ‘Happily ever after’ for the visitors. I can’t say I was super attached to Ana, she wasn’t a bad protagonist but she wasn’t amazing either. It was interesting to see how fantasists think and work, but overall she was quite a flat character until the end when she rapidly gets development, which wasn’t paced well. Her love interest was just okay, nothing special. I didn’t find myself swooning or shipping them really.

Rating: 3 Stars

Have you read The Kingdom? What did you think?

8 thoughts on “Review: The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg

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