Review: The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg

Review: The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg

 

Title: The Kingdom

Author: Jess Rothenberg

Pages: 352

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Published: 2019

Source: ARC (I received a copy from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review)

Rating: ★★★


The Kingdom is a place where technology helps dreams come to life. Formerly extinct species roam the park, and twelve beautiful ‘Fantasists’ – half-human, half-android princesses – entertain visitors and make wishes come true. But this fairytale ends in murder, and now Ana, one of the twelve Fantasists, is in the dock after finding herself experiencing emotions and romantic feelings against all her programming . . .
Told through court testimony, interrogation records, film footage, eye-witness accounts and fragmented flashbacks.

You may think you’ve heard of The Kingdom before, well you probably have but it’s wearing a different cover. The US edition and the UK edition do have different covers that are quite different to each other. The US edition looks fairly different, as you can see.

I’ll be completely honest, I didn’t have much of an idea of what The Kingdom was about prior to reading it other than what I got from the blurb. What intrigued me was the fact that the plot is told via various methods with court testimonies, interrogation records and flashbacks being the main methods used. I find books that are set out this way to be fairly quick but also that they keep you guessing!

Thoughts

In this book, we follow Princess Ana who is a Fantasist which means she is half-human, half-cyborg. It follows her mostly through the flashbacks that make up the majority of this book. As already mentioned, the book is also told via court testimonies and interrogation records as there has been a murder. Through these different ways of story telling, we find out a lot of information about The Kingdom itself and it’s Fantasists.

This book hasn’t had a big hype around it but I definitely feel like all the reviews I have seen of it have been really positive, so I was a little disappointed to find that I just didn’t love it the same. However, I do think that’s more me than the book itself. Sci-fi isn’t usually a genre that I read that much of, especially books that are set in Space or books set in a very technological future which is the section of Sci-fi I would definitely group this book into.

The writing of this book was interesting. As mentioned a few times now, it’s told via various different methods and that made it quite a quick read. I think my favourite parts of the book to read were the court testimonies and interrogation records. I did also like the flashback scenes because they offered more information but I did find some of them to read a little bit slow at times. The writing was quite easy to read though and the pacing was fairly consistent through most of the flashback scenes. Of course, the shorter interrogation records and court testimonies read much faster.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t really connect with the characters of this book. It’s odd because I felt like the characters weren’t really human at all, what with the fact that they definitely felt more programmable rather than capable of feeling things. Although, I did feel like the systems started to get overridden over the course of the book. I guess the thing is, I didn’t really care all that much for Ana, the main character. Throughout this book, she is learning new things about the world all the time, despite never having seen it. Some of her sisters are also the same, what with learning the truth about a world that they have never been able to see. It was interesting to see the characters learn about things, but at the same time, I did just feel like I didn’t really care about the characters all that much.

The world was quite easy to get to grips with. The Kingdom, to me, was a more futuristic version of Disney World, what with a Castle and the monorail, it was definitely giving me Disney vibes and so because of that, I found it quite easy to imagine the setting. Because I had his image in my head, I did like the world because I do like Disney World. The setting is quite important to the story because it is where the majority of the book takes place, save for the court and interrogation sessions.

The themes of this book are quite clearly technology and how it could advance, but also the uglier side to it and the humans that create it. This book does show both the good things that could come of it and the bad. It’s interesting in that respect because The Kingdom is something that could realistically become a reality in our ever-changing and ever-growing, technological world.

Final Thoughts

I’m still not sure The Kingdom was quite the book for me, but I know that lots of people have really enjoyed this book and so I know that the book isn’t really the issue, it’s just that it’s not really my kind of thing. I would recommend it if you are into Disney and books with futuristic vibes as this definitely has both of those.

5 Years of Being a Reader

5 Years of Being a Reader

I was originally going to post this back in March to celebrate my two year anniversary since I made my blog, but also to celebrate the fact that I’d become a born again reader just over 5 years ago. I missed that opportunity but decided that I wanted to post it around my birthday, so here I am.

I always find it a bit funny when I say ‘oh, I became a reader 5 years ago’ because I’ve always been able to read, firstly, but I’ve also enjoyed books my whole life. When I was younger, I was absolutely obsessed with the Rainbow Magic books which I called ‘the fairy books’. I collected all of them and would read them over and over again. I also had a very mild obsession with any book by Cathy Cassidy which then led me to spam the author’s ‘send me a message’ box on her website about how to become a writer because I so desperately wanted to be like her.

That was then followed by my Twilight phase, which was closely followed by my Harry Potter stage, which I haven’t ‘grown’ out of and never will. I proceeded to read basically nothing but Harry Potter and hate on a book that used to be my favourite, Twilight. Honestly, if you took any of the seven books by J.K. Rowling off my shelf between 2009 and probably now, I can guarantee that there is a bookmark in at least one them. It got to the point where I would open Deathly Hallows up and I could start reading from wherever it had fallen open to.

After that, I read The Hunger Games and that was the main subject of my last bookish obsession which was over the Christmas of 2010. Following that obsession, I didn’t really read much up until 2014. I hope you’ll appreciate that I had to go to back 5 years on my Amazon account to find out the date that I bought the book that would push me back into the world of books again. It was the 19th April 2014, I was just out of college, working full time and not entirely sure what I was going to do with my life. All my friends were at University and I didn’t really know many others who were working like me.

It’s safe to say that I felt a little lonely without my friends around which is how I came across book blogs. I can’t remember exactly how I even stumbled onto book blogs, but I did and now I’m here, 5 years down the line. Book blogs were my little safe haven over that year when I was working. I probably shouldn’t admit it, but sometimes when I was bored at work, I’d quickly check over all my favourite book blogs to see if any new posts had gone up. I’d say the most influential blog that really helped me get back into reading was Jamie’s of The Perpetual Page Turner. Jamie introduced me to quite a few books, but the main book I have to thank for me becoming a reader is Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. It will always have a special place in my heart because of the fact that it helped me get into reading again. I haven’t stopped since!

So what does being a reader mean to me?

Being a reader has become an experience I never expected. Being a reader has given me so many opportunities. I became a bookstagrammer because of it after seeing others use the platform to encourage a love of books and to talk about current reads, I started up a (failed) book blog and I started up this blog. This blog has taken a lot of work and I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the best person for consistently posting but it’s something I’m really proud of. As well as the opportunities I’ve had to create content, I’ve also been to book conventions and signings which have enabled me to meet some of my favourite authors.

The most unexpected but best thing that being has reader has given me over the last 5 years is friends. As I said, when I joined this community, I was feeling a little lonely but I feel far from that now. I have friends from so many different places and I speak to people from all over the world. Being able to make friends and bond with people over books is something truly magical. I’m so lucky that becoming a reader again has given me the chance to meet so many amazing people and I am truly grateful for all the friendships that reading and being a member of this community has given me.

Being a reader is more than just reading books, it’s everything to me now.

Because of reading, I’ve been able to meet authors I love the work of, travel to completely new worlds, gain a better understanding of the world and people. I’ve also been able to go to YALC every year which I never would have known about if I hadn’t joined the book community and I’ve been able to work with several different publishers which has been an incredible and unbelievable experience. Sometimes I do ask myself, how in the world did any of this happen? The simple answer is that I found books again and that has given me all of this which I am so grateful for.

I’d love to hear from you if reading has changed your life too! Have you always been a reader or, like me, did you always enjoy books but properly fall in love with them more recently? Is there a book that made you become a reader?

WWW Wednesday || 17/7

WWW Wednesday || 17/7

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted Taking on a World of Words that I thought would be fun to get involved with. It involves answering three WWW questions about recent reads.

This week I’ve read a fairly decent amount, if I do say so myself. I didn’t take full advantage of the weekend for reading but I did manage to get through some graphic novels instead. I’m hoping that I can keep up this momentum for reading but I do really need to start concentrating on revising for my first ACCA exam that I’ll be sitting in August. It’s probably come at a good time as YALC usually puts me in a bit of a reading slump so I can really focus on my exam. But then, I might use reading as a way to procrastinate from revising…who knows?

I’m not sure how much reading I will get done over the next week in all honesty because it’s actually my birthday in two days (19th) and so I have plans all day, although I think I can sneak in a bit of audiobook listening, and then I do have some plans for the weekend. We’ll see how much I can get done but I definitely want to finish my current read over the next week!

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faisal. I wasn’t sure what I was quite in the mood for but it’s on my July TBR and it’s out within the first week of August so I decided to pick it up now. I want to have it finished before YALC as I don’t really want to take it down with me, but also I don’t want to have to put it down half way through and go away for 5 days as I know I’ll find it harder to pick back up again after a short break.

What did you recently finish reading?

Over the last week, I read The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh, which I read the majority of (save for 33 pages) in one evening – the writing is just so addictive! I also read Heartstopper Vol 2. by Alice Oseman and Teen Titans: Raven by Kami Garcia.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I actually only have one YALC book on my TBR for July which I’m planning to read when I go down on the train to London, if I haven’t picked it up before, and that is A Girl Called Shameless by Laura Steven. The last book on my July TBR is Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone which I need to read in order to complete my O.W.L.’s ready for the N.E.W.T.’s in August. Both readathons are hosted by BookRoast on Youtube.

What are you reading this week?

WWW Wednesday || 10/7

WWW Wednesday || 10/7

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted Taking on a World of Words that I thought would be fun to get involved with. It involves answering three WWW questions about recent reads.

Over the last week, I’ve actually read a fair amount! I’m quite happy that I’ve essentially made up for about a week of not reading anything by reading 3 this week. Here’s to hoping I can keep that up for the next few weeks, especially with YALC coming up!

What are you currently reading?

I just picked up The Rose and the Dagger by Renée Ahdieh last night after I finished The Wrath and the Dawn.

What did you recently finish reading?

I finished S.T.A.G.S. by MA Bennett and I have to say, I didn’t enjoy it anywhere near as much as I thought I would which was disappointing. I then read Book Love by Debbie Tung, which was a cute book full of bookish cartoons. I then finished The Wrath and the Dawn just last night!

What do you think you’ll read next?

Depending on when I finish my current read, I’ll be moving onto We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faisal which is released in the UK in August. I want to read it before I head to YALC, ideally.

What are you reading this week?

WWW Wednesday || 3/7

WWW Wednesday || 3/7

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted Taking on a World of Words that I thought would be fun to get involved with. It involves answering three WWW questions about recent reads.

Can you believe it’s July already? The year is going super quickly but I’m also very happy that we’ve finally made it to July because 1. it’s my birthday month and 2. YALC is happening!

With that in mind, I’ve still got quite a few books on my TBR to get through and this week, I’ve barely made any progress with them. I’m just not feeling completely in the mood for the last two books on my immediate YALC TBR, unfortunately.

What are you currently reading?

My current read is still S.T.A.G.S. by M. A. Bennett. I’m only a few chapters in so not entirely sure what to make of it just yet but hopefully I’ll be into it after the first 100 pages!

What did you recently finish reading?

Nothing this week, unfortunately!

What do you think you’ll read next?

I need to read The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh before YALC comes around so realistically I need to have my current read finished by the end of this week and have TWATD to read the week after because once the first two weeks of July are done, I’ve got a busy few weeks ahead of me what with work, studying, my birthday and exams!

What are you reading this week?

The Struggles of Having a Big TBR

The Struggles of Having a Big TBR

I wanted to discuss something that many of us in the book community have to deal with and that’s a TBR list. Now TBR lists can be used in a variety of ways. Maybe you have a TBR list of all the books you own, or perhaps you have a monthly TBR. For this post, I want to talk about my owned TBR and how, though it is great to look at my own personal collection of books, it can be quite overwhelming to see all the unread books on my shelves.

So being overwhelmed by books? Well, that’s something I’ve been dealing with for the last 5 years or so now. I became the reader I am now back in Spring 2014 and my TBR has honestly not stopped growing since. I do have a big owned TBR list and there is absolutely no way I can deny that. I have about 250 books on my Want to Read shelf on Goodreads and I am constantly in the process of trying to bring it down to 200 books.  I’ll be honest, it’s not going too well but I am trying and I do feel like I am more motivated than any other year to decrease the number of books on my TBR.

Now as I said earlier, having a big TBR can be great at times because I’m never stuck for books to read but it can also be overwhelming because I do have so many books on my shelves staring at me, asking for me to pick them. Well believe me, if I could read all of them at the same time, I absolutely would and sometimes I just get this urge to try but of course, there’s no way I can keep track of 250 books at a time. Although of course, I’d leave one or two spare! Despite this positive of always having books on hand to read, I do feel the pressure to read them. There’s so many hyped books especially that are on my shelves to read that I just haven’t yet because I was reading something else when it was released or I wasn’t in the mood. I’ve even developed this habit of buying special or signed editions of books that are in a series I own but haven’t read yet because there are only limited copies available. It’s a serious problem.

Sometimes I really do wonder how I ever let myself buy this many books. Having a lot of books to read isn’t exactly the worst situation to be in, but I do sometimes just feel guilty for going on such a book buying splurge when I started reading again in 2014 because there are so many books from those early years that I haven’t even got to yet.

How will I ever get through them all? Will I ever get through them all? I want to read them all but I just don’t think I can.

So attempting to read the 250 books on my shelves and the pressure that comes with that? I’ll be the first to admit that I am a slow reader and that really does hold me back from getting through my TBR, not to mention all the new releases contributing to that. I just wish I was one of those people that could read over 100 books a year. I know, I know, I shouldn’t compare myself to others at all because we all read at different speeds and that’s great but while some people are reading 100+ books a year, I’m struggling to even get to 60 books read in a year. If I was able to read even 100 books a year, I’d be able to get my TBR down to almost nil in 2/2.5 years.

I’ll be honest my TBR does feel never ending and some days I really do feel like I am being drowned in books.

I do have plans to try and combat my TBR which includes finishing any series I’ve already started as so many of the books on my TBR come from series. For example, one of the biggest series on my TBR are the Shadowhunters books. If I read all of the books I own from that world (not including the three that I’ve already read), that would knock 11 books off my TBR alone which is quite a considerable amount. It looks like I’ll be looking to get that series read over the next year for sure!

Of course, having a big TBR isn’t always bad. I love knowing that once I’ve finished my current read, I have plenty of reading material to suit my mood. There’s also the added benefit that I can never be bored and that I have so much choice, I can literally dive into whatever world I feel like. I also love having a large owned TBR because it is my personal library collection and so it’s unique to me.

There’s just so much to read and so little time!

 

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on having a big TBR. How many books do you have on yours? Do you ever feel overwhelmed by your TBR list? Are you desperately trying to bring your TBR list down? Do you like having a big TBR with plenty of books to look forward to?

WWW Wednesday || 26/6

WWW Wednesday || 26/6

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted Taking on a World of Words that I thought would be fun to get involved with. It involves answering three WWW questions about recent reads.

Ah, that last week of June. I can’t believe it’s July next week. 2019 is going far too quickly, although it does mean that next week I’ll be able to say ‘I’m going to YALC this month’! I haven’t done very much over the last week except working, studying for the new module I started last Monday which I have evening classes for again this week and reading. I’m ok with that though. I feel like the next couple of weeks will be full of excitement once we hit July because I absolutely just can’t wait for YALC!

What are you currently reading?

My current read is S.T.A.G.S. by M. A. Bennett which I’ve just started today so I’m not very far through it. I’m hoping I’ll enjoy it.

What did you recently finish reading?

I finished Gumiho: Wicked Fox by Kat Cho, which was my current read last week. I really enjoyed it and found it so interesting. I also finished Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne on Tuesday evening.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I am hopefully going to pick up The Wrath and the Dawn once I’ve finished my current read. I haven’t really felt like reading fantasy as much which is a little sad because I do really love fantasy but I think it’s because it’s Summer and, like a lot of people, Summer is putting me in the mood for Contemporary. Not such a bad thing though as at least I’m reading!

What are you reading this week?