Book review – The Kingdom of Back (Spoiler Free)

“He tells you to play, so you play. He tells you to curtsy, so you curtsy. He tells what you are meant to do and what you are meant not to do, so you do and you do not do. He tells you not to be angry, so you smile, you turn your eyes down. You are quiet and do exactly as he says in the hopes that this is what he wants, and then one night you realize that you have given him so much of yourself that you are nothing but the curtsy and the smile and the quiet.”

  • Title: The Kingdom of Back
  • Author: Marie Lu
  • Genre: Historical fiction, fantasy
  • Pages: 313 pages
  • Publication date: March 3, 2020

When I first got The Kingdom of Back, I didn’t know anything about the book. I didn’t even read the back cover. I just saw that Marie Lu wrote it and picked it up.

The fact it’s a historical fiction novel surprised me. The story follows Wolfgang Mozart and his sister, Maria Anna Mozart. They are close as children and often travel to show off their musical talents.

But back in the 1900s, women were not allowed to be anything more than someone to marry off. Maria—nicknamed Nannerl—doesn’t want to disappear though. She likes composing and wants to be remembered. So, when a mysterious stranger offers her a deal to make sure she is never forgotten, she agrees.

The sibling relationship throughout this book reminded me of me and my sister. All the relationships were well constructed. I liked the imagery of music in non-musical things. It was like music was an unspoken power around them at all times. The story also had a classic Marie Lu twist toward the end. Though, I admit, I realized the twist coming before it happened this time.

This book also got me researching and wondering a lot. It turns out that most of the book is accurate, besides the mysterious stranger parts.

A part of me wishes that some parts of the story were explained more. Not too much more to make the book split into two but an extra scene with some secondary characters would’ve been nice. I also felt that Nannerl repeated herself a bit too much at times. She explained how Wolfgang had more opportunities than her often.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I found it an interesting read. I also like how much it’s different from Marie’s usual books. No romance much. No sequel or trilogy. I’m excited to see her branch out.

Score: 9/10
Average rating on Goodreads: 3.73/5

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