Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction
Publisher: G.P. Putnam Sons
Publication Date: March 3rd 2020
Source: Times Reads
Page Count: 336
Blurb from Goodreads:
Two siblings. Two brilliant talents. But only one Mozart. Born with a gift for music, Nannerl Mozart has just one wish–to be remembered forever. But even as she delights audiences with her masterful playing, she has little hope she’ll ever become the acclaimed composer she longs to be. She is a young woman in 18th century Europe, and that means composing is forbidden to her. She will perform only until she reaches a marriageable age–her tyrannical father has made that much clear. And as Nannerl’s hope grows dimmer with each passing year, the talents of her beloved younger brother, Wolfgang, only seem to shine brighter. His brilliance begins to eclipse her own, until one day a mysterious stranger from a magical land appears with an irresistible offer. He has the power to make her wish come true–but his help may cost her everything. In her first work of historical fiction, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu spins a lush, lyrically-told story of music, magic, and the unbreakable bond between a brother and sister.
HERE’S MY REVIEW
This is one of my highly anticipated reads of the year. Marie Lu is one of the big shots in YA literature so I would not want to miss reading her first book that she wrote 12 years ago when she was only 23.
I love reading historical fiction so reading this was such a delight and refreshing since The Kingdom of Back is a YA book. I was very much interested in reading about Mozart or Woferl and his upbringing as stated in the synopsis. Little did I know he had a older sister named Maria Anna or Nannerl, who was the main protagonist in this story.
The Kingdom of Back is also a fantasy story, as the name was invented from the siblings’ imagination, a magical place where everything is backwards, blue and empty. It became their way of passing the time during their tours.
I love reading about their musical journey from young until they reached adulthood. We read how their father raised them to play and write music until they became prodigies. They traveled around Europe to showcase their art that even the royals wanted them to play. Imagine being so talented at a very young age.
I love the message that the writer wanted to show here, which is women are also capable of doing what men can do. In The Kingdom of Back, Nannerl was given a voice that has been largely forgotten by history. However, women during that era did not have the chance to be as successful as men. If Nannerl had been given the same kind of attention and access that her brother enjoyed, she would have been as remarkable and popular like her brother. As quoted in the book,
“How many other countless talents have been silenced by history, whether for their gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or socioeconomic circumstances?”
There were also parts that I didn’t like about the book. I felt like the fantasy part was so weak that it truly bored me. It was very unsatisfying to read because of these issues, it really affected my pacing to read this book. Give me the book without the magical realism, I am good to go.
Despite my complaints, I enjoyed reading it since it was mainly about sibling relationship. Reading the ending was so depressing and sad as based on the history, we know what happened to the them.
All in all, I truly recommend The Kingdom of Back to those who like to read about the Mozart siblings and enjoy some magical realism.
Thank you Times Reads for sending me The Kingdom of Back in exchange of an honest review.