GENRES/ SUBJECTS: YA Science Fiction
For fans of: Westworld meets Walt Disney World
Glimmering like a jewel behind its gateway, The Kingdom(TM) 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.
A copy of this was provided free of charge from the publisher in return for an honest review.
The Kingdom is a fascinating blend of science-fiction, fantasy and terrifyingly believable AI.
The book is fast-paced and very easily readable and it’s scattered through with trial excerpts and interview fragments which, together with Ana’s POV of her time in the park, come together to tell the story.
There’s a great mystery element to The Kingdom. We start the story with Ana on trial for murder, but to find out the victim, the motive and whether or not she is guilty you have to wait and watch the details as they’re gradually revealed.
Ana is one of the android princesses that belong to The Kingdom theme park (along with her sisters Kaia, Yumi, Eve, Zara, Pania, and Zel). She’s a really interesting narrator because at time’s she’s very innocent and naive, while at others she’s more snarky and worldly. She develops from the well-behaved, dutiful daughter to a strong-willed rebel as her curiosity gets the better of her.
I thought the ending was a tad rushed and a couple of things could have been explained in a little more depth, but otherwise it was an exciting read.
There’s a lot going on in The Kingdom: interesting looks at climate change and it’s effects, genetic engineering and a controlling Big-Brother-like authority. The ending was a total surprise to me, the romance sweet and the premise is unlike any other YA novel I’ve read.