This review is spoiler free.
“In the end, it does not matter what a story is about. It only matter who gets to tell it.”
Published: 2019, by Pan Macmillan.
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Contains: Blood/Gore, Violence, Anger, Implied Sexual Assault, Death, Murder, Threats
‘The Kingdom’ follows the world of the Kingdom, where “Happily Ever After” is more than a promise. Ana is one of the seven “Fantasists”, a selection of beautiful princesses engineered to make guests dreams come true. However, when she meets, Owen, a park employee, she begins to experience emotions beyond her programming… which leads to an even darker path.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first picked up this book from YALC earlier this year, however, I was gripped from the very first page.
We experience the Kingdom through Fantasist, Ana’s, eyes, and what a place it seems to be. Reminding me of Disney World, (Being a bit of a fanatic myself) the Kingdom has a dark history for those behind the scenes and Ana gradually begins to unravel what she believed was a happy, wonderful place for everyone there to be. However, living her life within the park, she’s only told about the horrors of the outside world, knowing very little about the horrors that lurk within. Ana is an incredible protagonist, being naive, yet brave and curious. She’s drawn to the world she’s discovers, hating the fact she was once blind to reality and immediately attempts to understand it more.
However, what I loved most about this book was the concept, and the exploration of humanity. The way the Fantasists were treated really shows the ways humans treat those that aren’t alike to them. Ana had evidence she and the other Fantasists are capable of human emotions, yet the debate lasted throughout the novel’s entirety. The concept was one that really struck with me, reminding me of the guilt you felt as a child of whether your toys really felt left out if you played with another, or those animatronics on the It’s a Small World ride at Disneyland.
Overall, I loved this novel and was one I simply couldn’t put down. It was gripping, magical, and creepy; All the best things in one.
What’s your view on the theme of humanity within the novel? Do you think Ana and her sisters could really experience emotions?