The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg (Review)

The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg

Published by: Macmillan Children’s Books

Released: 11th July 2019

Page Count: 464 Pages

Edition: Kindle

Rating: 4/5 

received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The KingdomWelcome 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.


Trigger warnings: Sexual assault, suicide, animal and child abuse, self harm, murder and emotional manipulation.

Well, let’s start off by saying that The Kingdom truly both surprised and captivated me. When I first heard of it, I was instantly sold on the fact that it was being marketed as ‘Disneyland with a twist’, and after hearing that I knew I had to get my hands on it. And well, I was taken on one hell of a journey!

The use of multi media within the book through transcripts, interviews, emails, photos etc made the whole reading experience a lot more exciting! Multi media is becoming more popular within YA crime/mystery/thrillers and I feel that it immerses you more in wanting to solve the problem at hand happening within the story. This sort of storytelling made reading The Kingdom so much more appealing and if it hadn’t been put in I don’t think the story would have made the same impact on the reader.

Moving on from that, the plot overall was really thrilling, with lots of twists and turns to keep you hooked. The further on you got within the story the more shocks are revealed and this, in turn, makes you want to continue reading and not put it down..well that’s what happened with me. Also, the world-building in The Kingdom was so well executed and you could tell that a LOT of thought had been put behind it. It was beautifully written and explained and you could just immerse yourself into this alluring, yet somewhat dark dystopian world.

Ana, as a character was one that I took to straight away and her character development was next to none. The difference in her at the start of the book to the end was almost unrecognisable. The only thing I wasn’t entirely keen on was her romance with Owen. It felt almost insta-lovey and I just couldn’t take to it. What I did like though was Ana’s relationships with her sisters, especially Nia, whose actions ultimately took her down her destined path. 

The Kingdom does feature some dark content, but it is handled in a very sensitive manner. The sexual assault is featured off the page and is only implied, but still does cause an impact on you, as the reader. Other topics such as suicide, animal abuse and child abuse are all seen on the page but are all dealt with in a thoughtful way.

The Kingdom is an alluring, captivating read that will leave you in shock and guessing right up until the very last page..which is perfect.

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