Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Review: The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu

I have waited a long time to read this book. Though, confession, I do not know anything about Mozart. I may have heard some of his music before, but I cannot remember it. Yet I still wanted to read this book. Because I adore Marie and have loved many of her books before. But I was expecting too much from this story.

And so I ended up being a little let down by this book. Giving it three stars, as parts of the book were so good. But not higher as this book was not everything that I wanted it to be. Which was all kinds of depressing. I had expected a great fantasy book about siblings, with romance included. This was not what it was about.

Will begin by saying that the writing was lovely. I had no issues with connecting to the characters or this world. I liked the words a whole lot. But sadly that didn't save this book for me. For most of the time I so adored Nannerl. Her relationship with her brother Wolferl was so beautiful at times. She was about four years older than him. He was the younger brother who always looked up to her. And their connection was so lovely to read about. But it was not this all the time. Nannerl was so jealous of him. And because of this their relationship was strained so many times. It was painful. She hurt him. He was not all innocent, but he was so young and only wanted to please her. I understood her too, somewhat. Still. I wish they did not have bad feelings between them.

What confused me most about this book was that I was certain it was YA. Goodreads says it is. Summary mentions Nannerl as a young woman. But for over half of the book she is less than twelve years. I mean, I love middle grade books. So much. But that is not what I thought this book would be. This should have been made clear before I started the book. Hmph. But still. I adored Nannerl. And I enjoyed reading about her growing up. But it was a little too boring for me at times. Sigh. I wanted more action, some romance.

Because there was no romance in this book. There are mentions of a boy she meets, who writes her two letters. Then no more mentions of him. But yeah, this book was more a sibling story. There was nothing wrong with that. I simply wanted a little more. Because there was too much pain between these siblings. I also thought the ending would be different. The whole book is about Nannerl wanting to be remembered, wanting the world to know she can compose music like her brother can. She's never remembered for this.

But anyway. There was some fantasy in this book too. Nannerl and her brother creates a world together when she is only eight years old. A world she sees in her dreams. Unsure if this world was real or not, as things seemed to be just as she made them up. But even so, this world was exciting to get to know. They named it The Kingdom of Back. And getting to know how this world worked and the creatures that lived in it was interesting. A little weird at times, but still good to read about. Exciting. For the most part, anyway.

Because there was a person from this world that kept visiting Nannerl for almost ten years after they first made this world. A faery princeling, her age. He wanted to help her get her wish to be remembered. She only had to help him with a few things first, before he would help her. At first these things that she helped him do in the kingdom seemed easy and harmless enough. Until later, when things got darker. And with Nannerl on the edge of sacrificing her brother. I did not like how she seemed to hate her brother at times.

Anyway. I do not know what else to say about this book. It was a story about two siblings. And their crazy father who wanted more than anything to make money out of them performing and making music. They were both so good at making music. But their father was not always doing what was best for them, which was depressing to read about. With this book being set far in the past, things were not as they are today. Women were not allowed to write their own music, not allowed to defy their fathers or anything like that.

And so Nannerl did not have an easy life. Which was also sad to read about. I wanted more for this girl. And it makes me even sadder that she ended up being forgotten by the world; with only her brother being remembered. So yes. I wish this book had ended differently. But I still thought that The Kingdom of Back was an interesting book to read. Exciting and fun at times, with lovely siblings. But a little too boring and weird at other times. Still, I'm glad that I read this book. And very curious to know what others think of it.

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