The Kingdom


Written by Jess Rothenberg

Published by Henry Holt and Co, May 28, 2019

My star rating 3.5 stars


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. Find it on Goodreads

spoiler free graphic


The minute that I heard that this was like a “dark Disney” that actually takes place in an amusement park – I knew I needed it in my life! Sadly this book has me confused and conflicted. There were so many things Ioved, and quite a few that I didn’t. Let me try to form my thoughts here.

First, let’s start with the positives. I LOVED her writing style! There was something so effortless and fluid about it. Never once did I find myself bored and wondering what was going to happen next. The pace was consistent and I was always entertained! Best of all was her world building – it was absolutely outstanding! Like I said above, this takes place in an amusement park sort of like Disney, so there’s a lot to explain and describe. She found a way to give you massive amounts of detail without it ever feeling info-dumpy. I feel like I could draw you a map of the place and even tell you what it’s supposed to look like!

I also really enjoyed the format. This was told in the present day (through interviews and transcription) while they were in the midst of a trial, along with many months in the past that lead to that moment. I think that’s what helped the pace of this book so much. We were given a slight glimpse into why a trial was happening, and I felt like I needed to keep reading to figure out how we got to that point! This gave the whole thing a sense of suspense and high alert.

Now, onto the negatives. First of all, I couldn’t relate to any of the characters really. I understood their feelings and everything but….. they were robots! Their comprehension and intellect was of a robot so it made it hard for me to relate.

Next, the romance was just all wrong for me. It didn’t add up. Once again, I can understand why this was a part of the plan of the plot, but it was just so unrealistic! I wish I could say what I feel this way but – spoilers.

Next, and here’s a warning, there are a LOT of indications of rape here. Never once was there a big red flag, there was never mention of it in the slightest, and there were NO descriptions at all. I guess when you great the “perfect” women for an amusement park with beautiful girls who can’t say no….. sex is going to be a part of the plot….. eye roll.

Lastly, the ending – it could have been better. It was so rushed and I still have so many questions. I don’t understand a few things and  I didn’t like a few things that happened.

All those negative things aside, this was still a good book! I read it really quickly, fell in love with her writing style, and I even think I prefer this version of disney…..well sort of….. parts of it anyway! LOL!!

Until next time, happy reading!

14 Comments Add yours

  1. Samantha D. says:

    I actually just had this in my cart at Barnes and Noble (they are having their Book Haul sale going on where select books are 50% off) but now I’m wondering if I should just borrow it from the library… I feel like I might like it but not love it and at this point, I’m trying harder to only purchase books I think will be five or four star ratings for me.
    I’m glad you mostly liked it. It’s always super nice to walk away from a book liking the author’s writing style because even if that book was a miss, their next one might not be.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thewolfandbooks says:

      I gave it 2 stars. It was an interesting read and it was super fascinating and dark, but I got my copy from the library. Definitely think if your end up 5 starring it, you can get it later or wait for the cheaper paperback next year.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Samantha D. says:

        Very true! Thanks for the help :]

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I’m the same way. There are far too many books to buy (and far too little money in the wallet) to waste your money on a book you’re not sure if you’ll love.
      What did you end up buying? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Samantha D. says:

        Nothing! I really really wanted this one book but couldn’t bring myself to buy it 🤷🏻‍♀️next time I suppose


  2. says:

    My review of this book will be forthcoming, but I definitely agree with you on a lot of this stuff. Most of my problems stemmed from the gaping plot holes everywhere in this book. A lot of things, I felt, didn’t add up. It felt very much like a first or second draft, rather than a finished one. I still enjoyed the “dark Disney” bit of it, though!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought there were plot holes too but wondered if it was just me. And the timing….. weeks would pass but there wasn’t a clear indication of it aside from the chapter headings….. which I felt was hard to keep track of

      Liked by 1 person

      1. says:

        I definitely had issue with the timeline. I also had issue with just how much “plotting” was done without any explanation for why no supervisors were doing anything about it. Even if they couldn’t “see” what was going on, I’m sure that audio was being recorded and location, as well, despite sometimes signal being spotty. I mean, these are state of the art hybrid humans, I’m sure they would seriously be watched super closely.


  3. evelynreads1 says:

    Great review! This sounds like it will be a good book to read on audio! Might try that out 🙂



  4. Totally get how you feel! My review went back and forth between “but did they really explain X part” or “were the characters fleshed out” to “But I read it in one day!” I’ve ultimately decided this book is the equivalent of of a summer blockbuster, best enjoyed if you don’t think about things TOO hard and just go along for the ride. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s