Hi friends! I’m here to review a book I should have finished a while ago but school is hating me right now llike chill buddy, it’s only Ocotober. ANYWAYS ignore my insane rant, it’s time to talk books!
a small disclosure: disney world is better than disneyland. wbk.
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.
Before we begin, I want to state possible trigger warnings for suicide, animal abuse, implied sexual assault, and murder. There may be more that I missed, so please do research or be very careful when reading it!
In general, I have mixed feelings on this book. I think most people feel ehhhh about this. So let’s talk about it!
Say what you will about the behind the scenes of The Kingdom but this “theme park” is INSANE. I want to see dinosaurs! I want to visit castles and do VR exploration and ride rollercoasters*. The Kingdom is basically Disneyland but much more advanced…and much darker. Although despite the darkness I want to go. I’m a wild child.
*okay so maybe i can ride rollercoasters in real life but still.
I do appreciate the author trying to incorporate many real-life issues, such as environmental change, abuse, and assault. Ana being a robot, who allegedly fell in love with a human, brings up thoughtful questions. Her treatment towards her sisters, towards Owen, towards the animals, as compared to some of the humans, is unsettling yet fascinating.
The last 150 pages I blew through in one sitting. I kid you not, I let out a slight scream when that twist hit. You know, the one that everyone else probably predicted and I probably did too on a subconscious level but that doesn’t matter. This story is pretty fast-paced, if I weren’t wallowing in endless school books I would have finished it pretty quickly.
I also very much adored the format, with transcripts from the trial and Ana’s own perspective!
There’s nothing I really actively disliked about this book. It just never blew me away, ya know? The characters didn’t stick in my heart, the plot, despite being a bit dark, never hit me hard. It felt like the author was trying to do too much.
I closed this feeling…nothing. Okay, maybe a little shock, but nothing that I’ll remember fondly in a month. The entire setting, the characters, the romance, the plot evolution, the topics being discussed – each of these aspects are good on their own but they kind of end up feeling shallow when put together. This just didn’t feel coherent, memorable, special. I’ll probably read the author’s next novel, but I didn’t end up adoring this one.
That’s it! Have you read this? You can add this to Goodreads here!