The Kingdom of Back Review – Family, Ambition, and Music

I am usually kind of hit-or-miss with Marie Lu’s books. For example, I didn’t like Warcross, but I did like the sequel, Wildcard, and I also enjoyed most of the books of the Legend series. I picked up this book because it was something that was available as an ebook through my public library. I thought the premise was interesting, but I wasn’t sure if I would like it. I am so happy to say that this book was one of the best books that I read in May.

The Kingdom of Back is a historical fantasy that follows the Mozart siblings as they travel around Europe playing for royalty and the wealthy. It is told from the perspective of Nannerl, the older sister who longs to be a well known composer and pianist. But she is constantly overshadowed by her brother, and as a woman she is not allowed to compose.

When the children meet a stranger from a magical world, he makes Nannerl an offer. If she helps him become king in the magical world, she will not be forgotten. But as time goes on Nannerl questions his true motives and wonders if it’s worth being remembered if you lose who you love most in the process.

I liked that this book was based off of some real events. The Kingdom of Back was an imaginary world that the real Mozart children created to pass the time during their travels. I liked how this book took that imaginary world and used it as if it had really existed.

I thought that Nannerl’s character was really well developed and was easy to relate to. As a female musician who plays in a fairly male-dominated section (I play the double bass, where I am one of the only females who plays in my whole school, which has four different orchestras). I could really relate to her struggles of wanting to be the best and wanting to show the powerful men in her life that she could be the best.

I would suggest reading this as physical book. I read it on my Kindle, and the formatting didn’t work super well, plus the maps were hard to read.

The pacing of this book felt a little strange, with the real world getting much more page time than the magic world. I wish it had been a bit more equal, that I had gotten to see the world really develop. The characters didn’t really travel to the Kingdom of Back very much, and I wish I could have seen more of it. Also, the pacing felt kind of uneven in terms of the time it took things to happen.

However, I was able to look past these things because of the amazing writing and engaging story. I was immediately sucked into the story because of the writing style. Overall, I recommend this book to anyone who loves classical music or who is looking for a story about family. I learned so much more about the Mozarts and classical music by reading this book!

Have you read this book? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

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