Review: The Kingdom by Jess Rothenburg

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. 

I’ve seen lots of rave reviews about this book and was thrilled to receive a review copy. Unfortunately I didn’t live it as much as other have. It wasn’t a bad book, it just didn’t quite hit the spot for me. I struggled to get into the story and almost DNF’d it at one point.

I found Ana a hard character to get to like, she didn’t really have much personality of her own. Which I understand as she’s AI but it’s hard to get behind someone when you can’t understand what motivates them.

I was expecting Ana to be more rounded than she was, stronger maybe. Instead for a large part of the story she seemed to turn into a simpering ‘fairytale princess’ pining after a pretty boy. I want my heroines to have more get up and go than that.

The plot itself felt both rather thin and rather confused at times, characters who had previously been acting one way did sudden 360 turns and things that could have been explored more fell untouched by the wayside.

If the author was aiming for a Westworld type story I don’t think this quite made it.

The end also felt quite sudden, again without motivations being fully explored.

Overall not a book I was terribly keen on, although from what I’ve seen so far I may be in the minority with that opinion.

With thanks to Netgalley and Pan Macmillan for a review copy in exchange for honest review.

The Kingdom is available 11 July 2019.

5 thoughts on “Review: The Kingdom by Jess Rothenburg

  1. I’m so glad to read this review! The cover is beautiful and keeps drawing me back to being curious about this book, but all the synopsis/positive reviews I’ve read prior have made it sound like a book I wouldn’t like, so I’m glad to hear an honest review that reassures me if I skip this one I won’t be missing out on something revolutionary!

  2. The cover is lovely isn’t it. I’m sure others have loved it but it didn’t really work for me.
    Happy reading for whatever you decide to pick up x

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