Title: The Kingdom
Author: Jess Rothenberg
If you’re expecting The Kingdom to be a fluffier, young adult version of Westworld + Disney World, think again. Jess Rothenberg combines science fiction with murder mystery in this sinister, thrilling story about what it means to be human.
The Kingdom was a lot darker than I had anticipated. The book follows Ana, one of seven Fantasists – girls engineered to be beautiful, subservient, and made to cater to the wishes of visitors of the futuristic amusement park, The Kingdom. As the book goes on, things start to go awry in the park, and Ana (as well as the other girls) start to develop feelings and emotions not congruent with their programming. Eventually, Ana is charged with the murder of one of the park’s employers, Owen.
I really loved the themes present in the novel, especially the question of what it means to be “real” and human. I enjoyed following the journey of friendship that develops between Ana and Owen. Both of them are able to learn from the other and grow in character.
The book is written in a somewhat past and present format. The present are told through Ana’s POV, and the past is told through transcripts from Ana’s trial and other bits of “media” that are placed between chapters. I thought it was really well done and made it easy to fly through the pages.
The Kingdom was a book that never really got on my radar until more recently. I’m really glad I made the decision to read this because it was so good! The Kingdom is perfect for fans of dark science-fiction books with a bit of a murder mystery.