11 May 2020

Review - The Kingdom

The Kingdom
by Jess Rothenberg

What they say: Welcome 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.

More info!

What I say: The Kingdom is an intentionally Disney-ish fantasy dystopia/futuristic with a sci-fi twist. There's murder, cover ups and a deep look at morality. The story explores the debate surround AI and sentient beings. Can hybrids feel real emotions and develop beyond their programming? If so who is responsible for them and their actions? Do they have rights? The concept is clever because it's so familiar, yet dark!

In the Kingdom the seven Fantasists aka Princesses are hybrids designed to give visitors the best experience by making their dreams come true. Yep, even writing that sounds sinister. We experience events from Ana's POV and look at how she develops from the expected/programmed to something else or more. Ana learns more about human emotions through her experiences and those of her sisters (the other Fantasists) including Nia and Eve.

The narrative itself is interesting. The book includes flashbacks, trial notes, CCTV excerpts, interviews and so on. If you're not a fan of this then it may not be the book for you. I found these elements added to the story. 

A friend asked me whether The Kingdom is just Disney with robots. The setting itself is clearly a distorted Disney-like theme park with artificial creations/intelligence, but it is so much more than that. The issue surrounding the hybrids reminded me of the part in Jurassic Park where Dr Malcolm says "your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn't stop to think if they should." Ana and Owen explore this idea, as do the characters on trial. I didn't like the animal mistreatment but understood its inclusion in the story. I'd describe The Kingdom as a YA futuristic mystery thriller inspired by an imagined sinister version of the Disney theme parks...

4 Stars in my Sky!


No comments

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blogger Template Created by pipdig