I won’t lie – I first noticed The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg because of the cover!
The beautiful, beautiful cover.
YA isn’t a genre I tend to read much of, or at least I don’t tend to these days – I went through a phase a few years ago when I didn’t read anything but YA. However, my reading habits are forever changing. Doesn’t yours?
Anyway. That cover, right!?! Magical.
But, a cover alone isn’t enough for me it was the blurb that sold it.
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.
Great blurb, right?
I loved the recent re-making of Westworld. I loved both seasons and I’m looking forward to the third. It was dark, it was menacing, it was intense, it kept me guessing and I couldn’t look away. Have you watched it?
So, when I read the blurb or The Kingdom I instantly thought – Westworld meets Disneyland.
And I wasn’t disappointed, I adored the setting. The Kingdom was somewhere I instantly wanted to visit. But – I’m not so sure about taking my young daughter there! It’s a much darker version of Disneyland.
The Kingdom was tame in comparison to Westworld, very tame. I imagine the book is primarily aimed at the younger end of the YA market. But I should emphasise that tame isn’t bad. I flew through the whole book.
I thought the story did lack some complexity, but as an adult reading YA I most likely want something more elaborate. However, having said that I really enjoyed the story and following the adventures of the characters. Even if I felt the book lacked a little bit of substance – and by that, I mean details, world-building and in-depth characterisation. It entertained me and if my daughter was a few years older I would be handing her over my copy to read.
The writing was good, the setting was great, and the characters were interesting. Overall, it was an easy book to read and just what I wanted after reading a lot of more complex tomes.
I very much hope that this is the first book in a series.
Have you read it? What did you think?
I received a copy of The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg from the publisher via NetGalley – Thank you!