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The Kingdom of Back

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From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu comes a historical YA fantasy about a musical prodigy and the dangerous lengths she'll go to make history remember her—perfect for fans of Susanna Clarke and The Hazel Wood. 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 ev From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu comes a historical YA fantasy about a musical prodigy and the dangerous lengths she'll go to make history remember her—perfect for fans of Susanna Clarke and The Hazel Wood. 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.


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From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu comes a historical YA fantasy about a musical prodigy and the dangerous lengths she'll go to make history remember her—perfect for fans of Susanna Clarke and The Hazel Wood. 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 ev From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu comes a historical YA fantasy about a musical prodigy and the dangerous lengths she'll go to make history remember her—perfect for fans of Susanna Clarke and The Hazel Wood. 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.

30 review for The Kingdom of Back

  1. 4 out of 5

    Emily May

    I am going to tell you a story you already know. But listen carefully, because within it is one you have never heard before. Without a doubt, this is Marie Lu's most fascinating book to date. In school, we studied Virginia Woolf's concept of the fictional "Shakespeare's sister". In A Room of One's Own, Woolf imagines that Shakespeare had a sister who was as talented, as imaginative, as capable as her brother, but because she was a woman, she had to stay home. She never had the opportunities Sh I am going to tell you a story you already know. But listen carefully, because within it is one you have never heard before. Without a doubt, this is Marie Lu's most fascinating book to date. In school, we studied Virginia Woolf's concept of the fictional "Shakespeare's sister". In A Room of One's Own, Woolf imagines that Shakespeare had a sister who was as talented, as imaginative, as capable as her brother, but because she was a woman, she had to stay home. She never had the opportunities Shakespeare did. This idea was to demonstrate how much talent has been wasted throughout history... just because it belonged to women. What I didn't know is that we don't need to imagine a fictional sister of a talented man-- we have one. Nannerl Mozart. I knew nothing about this before reading The Kingdom of Back. I knew nothing of the girl who was a child prodigy, a musical genius alongside her brother, but forbidden from composing by her father. I didn't know that, as adults, Wolfgang begged Nannerl to send him her compositions in letters. I didn't know that the young Mozart siblings came up with their own fantasy world while they were touring Europe and called it "Das Königreich Rücken”. The Kingdom of Back. This book is Lu's passion project; her first novel, put on hold for over a decade while she wrote the more widely-appealing dystopian and fantasy works we've come to know her for. Here, she combines historical fiction - the stifling feeling of being a woman in 18th Century Europe, the airs and graces of the courts, the spectre of smallpox - with fantasy. As Nannerl sees the future she longs for, the acknowledgement and immortality she craves, slipping away from her, The Kingdom of Back beckons. She strikes a bargain with a Fae boy: complete several tasks for him and he will help her achieve her dreams. But all is not as it seems, of course. How far is Nannerl willing to go to be remembered? I wasn't immediately sold on the fantasy aspects, to be honest. Nannerl completes fairy tale-like quests in The Kingdom of Back - retrieving a sword from an ogre and a night flower from a witch, etc. - and I didn’t fully understand it at first. But it did all come together quite wonderfully. But it is the searing unfairness of it that made me keep reading on anxiously. I found myself telling everyone I talked to about this book… I was so affected by it. So angered, saddened and frustrated that so much talent could be allowed to go to waste. As Lu says in her powerful Author's Note: What legacy could Nannerl have left if she’d been given the kind of attention and access that her brother enjoyed? What beautiful creations were lost to us forever because Nannerl was a woman? How many other countless talents have been silenced by history, whether for their gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic circumstances? Facebook | Instagram

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    Who spread the rumor that Marie Lu has replicated herself and the army of hers is going to attack us with a million books during the upcoming years?

  3. 4 out of 5

    jessica

    i love it when stories have the power to inspire action. i love that feeling when you turn the last page and you arent ready to let go of the story just yet, so you do something to make its presence linger, to keep the story in your heart just a little longer. this made me pick up my violin, which i havent touched in about a year, and play one of mozarts violin concertos that i learned when i was a teenager. it was a struggle, but i loved that this story motivated me to do that. i think fans of i love it when stories have the power to inspire action. i love that feeling when you turn the last page and you arent ready to let go of the story just yet, so you do something to make its presence linger, to keep the story in your heart just a little longer. this made me pick up my violin, which i havent touched in about a year, and play one of mozarts violin concertos that i learned when i was a teenager. it was a struggle, but i loved that this story motivated me to do that. i think fans of marie lu will be really surprised by this novel. gone is her dramatic dystopian storytelling and in its place is a light and whimsically crafted tale. and i really like this look for her writing. it feels fresh and quite beautiful at times. this is perfect for readers who love historical fiction, fantasy, and stories about the special bond between a bother and sister. ↠ 4 stars

  4. 4 out of 5

    Cardan Greenbriar

    “But be wary of what you wish for,” he went on. “Wishes have a habit of surprising their makers.” I SHIT YOU NOT THIS BOOK REMINDS ME OF MY KINGDOM and me What great injustice that after 4 days of release this book only has less than 400 ratings Who set the date similar to another *ahem* overly hyped book's release date? anyway talk about a motherfucking book hangover I am such a mess that i don't even know how to properly review I have never cried this much during a happy ending So our very belove “But be wary of what you wish for,” he went on. “Wishes have a habit of surprising their makers.” I SHIT YOU NOT THIS BOOK REMINDS ME OF MY KINGDOM and me What great injustice that after 4 days of release this book only has less than 400 ratings Who set the date similar to another *ahem* overly hyped book's release date? anyway talk about a motherfucking book hangover I am such a mess that i don't even know how to properly review I have never cried this much during a happy ending So our very beloved Marie Lu has presented us with a beautiful historical fiction entwined with a dark lush fantasy world This book is euphony itself - the music description is magical and glorious. Set in an aura of greed and want, this is a story of rising - not one- but many's prominence and influence. I love how Marie has woven a true historical story with a concocted fantasy world. Since Maria Anna Mozart (Nannerl's) story is real i'm not gonna give away too much or else i'll spoil the interesting parts. All i want to give away is that in the "human world" Nannerl and her brother Wolfgang are child prodigies in music. They are really close together and adore each other very much. Their father (Leopold) greedily pressures Nannerl and Wolfgang to play even finer in their childhood days so that the onlookers can be impressed and dazzled more, resulting in more money and glory. He makes Nannerl perform a great many before her marriageable age. Leopold also wants Wolfgang to improve his performance more than his sister. Nannerl wants to be remembered and honored forever. And I think Wolfgang wants to slap all of them (y do i think that i don't know). And then Hyacinth a mysterious (oh so beautiful) creature appears being all : “You have your desires, and I have mine.” He leaned his head closer to me. “You want immortality. I want my throne.” This book conveys through two worlds; the real one where Leopold wants fame, money and control over his children. Nannerl and her wish to be remembered and praised. The Mozart's family's trips through Europe and their musical performances for Royals and other great audiences. And the Kingdom of Back from where Hyacinth comes from. It's a beautiful, magical place filled with dark secrets. and after reading the book when i saw this beautiful map at the end AM-A-ZING BOOOHOOOO I WANT A SEQUEL

  5. 5 out of 5

    Hamad

    I just started this and I have forgotten how magical Marie's writing style is!! I just started this and I have forgotten how magical Marie's writing style is!!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Claudia Ramírez

    3.5 stars

  7. 4 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    **4.5-stars rounded up** Let's begin at the end, shall we? In the Author's Note to this enchanting tale, Marie Lu tells of her real-life inspiration for this story. A book over a decade in the making, you can tell she poured her heart and soul onto these pages. Lu, known for her complex and forward-thinking YA science-fiction, takes a sharp turn with The Kingdom of Back, a dark fantasy with lyrical prose. Even though this is not her typical story, I think it shines a bright, bright light on the lev **4.5-stars rounded up** Let's begin at the end, shall we? In the Author's Note to this enchanting tale, Marie Lu tells of her real-life inspiration for this story. A book over a decade in the making, you can tell she poured her heart and soul onto these pages. Lu, known for her complex and forward-thinking YA science-fiction, takes a sharp turn with The Kingdom of Back, a dark fantasy with lyrical prose. Even though this is not her typical story, I think it shines a bright, bright light on the level of her skill as a writer. I am the first to admit that I am a big sucker for any story involving music or musicians, particularly classical musicians. Growing up, I played classical violin, piano and dappled with the clarinet. I was in multiple orchestras, yes, first chair violin, and I think that world always remains a part of your soul. Lu mentions that she too was a musician in her early life and after reading a biography of Mozart developed the idea for this story. Unlike my normal reviews, I am not really going to give details as to what this story is about. I feel strongly that it is best if you go into this not knowing what to expect. Mainly following Mozart's unknown sister, Nannerl, this story quickly transforms from a historic fiction account of the Mozart family's life, to a dark fantasy with a portal to another world and a Faustian bargain of sorts. In addition to the fantastical elements of the story, there is also a great examination of the role of women in this time period and the affect that society's expectations had on their productivity and spirit. If you do pick up this book, I implore you to please, please, please read the Author's Note at the end. Reading Lu's words and thoughts on this story and why she wrote it, bumped this up from a 4, to a 5-star read for me. I was so impressed with this story. It was a dark, delicious delightful read and further solidifies my belief that Marie Lu is an absolute treasure!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    This came in my March Owlcrate. Pretty silver, shimery edges. And candle, socks, notecard, Art, lip balm, etc. Omg! I had no idea Mozart had a sister that was just as talented, but held back for being a girl. Girls weren’t allowed to compose!! Marie talks about this in her acknowledgments so read that as well. She’s added some fantasy to the world with a bit of truth. I’m thoroughly impressed and enjoyed the book! Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾 This came in my March Owlcrate. Pretty silver, shimery edges. And candle, socks, notecard, Art, lip balm, etc. Omg! I had no idea Mozart had a sister that was just as talented, but held back for being a girl. Girls weren’t allowed to compose!! Marie talks about this in her acknowledgments so read that as well. She’s added some fantasy to the world with a bit of truth. I’m thoroughly impressed and enjoyed the book! Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

  9. 4 out of 5

    Miranda Reads

    I've been burned so many times... and yet here I am, crawling back for more. Can you smell the desperation? YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Snapchat @miranda.reads I've been burned so many times... and yet here I am, crawling back for more. Can you smell the desperation? YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Snapchat @miranda.reads

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mara YA Mood Reader

    3/29/2020: Well that was depressing. A sad story, beautifully told. And so unlike most YA Historical Fiction/Fantasy, it was most refreshing. The Kingdom of Back was not at all what I expected it to be. And I suppose that was the saving grace in my experience. Although, still, I was not especially enthralled. The YA genre needs books like this though. Wether it not be much in my tastes, it is true that the genre is often filled with unrealistically ridiculous romance plots that we both eat up an 3/29/2020: Well that was depressing. A sad story, beautifully told. And so unlike most YA Historical Fiction/Fantasy, it was most refreshing. The Kingdom of Back was not at all what I expected it to be. And I suppose that was the saving grace in my experience. Although, still, I was not especially enthralled. The YA genre needs books like this though. Wether it not be much in my tastes, it is true that the genre is often filled with unrealistically ridiculous romance plots that we both eat up and also eye roll at the same time. There is no romance here. No boy pining. No girl pining. No unrealistically and ridiculous handsome or gorgeous love interests. No one is throwing themselves at cruel boys that treat them poorly but are “oh-so-hot” we hate to love them and love to hate them. And there’s no slow burn, drawn out over 3-5 books romance or mystery or coming into their powers tropes here either! This is a stand alone! Very Refreshing! And if the lack of tropes is not your thing than I highly recommend Wintersong instead of The Kingdom of Back. In fact this reminded me so much of Wintersong but sadly lacking, that I almost feel compelled to read Wintersong again because what I was wanting and hoping for in The Kingdom of Back was just not there as it is in Wintersong. 3/22/2020 The story you already know is set in a real land, full of kings and castles and courts. There are long carriage rides and summer concerts and a little boy in a royal coat. The story you have never heard is set in a dream of fog and stars, faery princelings and queens of the night. It is about the Kingdom of Back, and the girl who found it. I am the sister, the other Mozart, and the girl who found it. *eeeeek* Will the unboxing of my exclusive Owlcrate edition finally prompt me to read? And will this beautiful book bring an end to what has become the longest reading slump of my life to date? 2/2020: Sounds a bit like Wintersong with the musical siblings in a time of female opression. And I’ve never read Marie Lu before???

  11. 5 out of 5

    Simona Bartolotta

    I think new series should be kept secret until, say, six moths before the release, especially if it's an author like Marie Lu we're talking about, because jeez, my heart plummets when I look at that hideous "Expected publication: 2019". Just sayin'.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    If you enjoy sibling stories and classical music, this may be one you’ll want to pick up. It reminded me a lot of Wintersong by S Jae Jones, but with no romance. It has that same kind of darker fairy tale element to it, with the theme of music and family bonds.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    Star Rating: —> 4 Stars What a wonderful fairytale filled with all the ingredients to make a story an absolutely joyous adventure to read! This made me feel like I was a little girl again, in one corner of the house or another, reading in the sunlight. Truly a beautifully and elegantly woven tale, about Nannerl Mozart, the brilliant sister that time almost left forgotten, & her brother Wolfgang, their secret kingdom, music, faeries, magic, & most of all, love. 💙 Star Rating: —> 4 Stars What a wonderful fairytale filled with all the ingredients to make a story an absolutely joyous adventure to read! This made me feel like I was a little girl again, in one corner of the house or another, reading in the sunlight. Truly a beautifully and elegantly woven tale, about Nannerl Mozart, the brilliant sister that time almost left forgotten, & her brother Wolfgang, their secret kingdom, music, faeries, magic, & most of all, love. 💙

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sylvie

    3.75 This was one of the most magical books I've read! Review will be posted very soon.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tucker (TuckerTheReader)

    "Perfect for fans of The Hazel Wood" *********** Kingdom of Back? Like is everyone a spine? | Goodreads | Blog | Pinterest | LinkedIn | YouTube | Instagram "Perfect for fans of The Hazel Wood" *********** Kingdom of Back? Like is everyone a spine? | Goodreads | Blog | Pinterest | LinkedIn | YouTube | Instagram

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mary S. R.

    To be remembered in this world, she created another. Thou who hath pranced amidst this land, Thou who hath walked upon thy hand, And thou who hath danced on the river's strand... Behold my quietus, my quiet stand! Behold these tears and please withstand, My wailing and waning and weening, and, Behold my death—of thee, I demand! Oh lo and behold my life so damned, And watch my dawning demise, so grand; Then seize my murderer, oh that I command— Bury and bind the book in this sand, Within my grave, this durin To be remembered in this world, she created another. Thou who hath pranced amidst this land, Thou who hath walked upon thy hand, And thou who hath danced on the river's strand... Behold my quietus, my quiet stand! Behold these tears and please withstand, My wailing and waning and weening, and, Behold my death—of thee, I demand! Oh lo and behold my life so damned, And watch my dawning demise, so grand; Then seize my murderer, oh that I command— Bury and bind the book in this sand, Within my grave, this during brand... And it shall be no longer bland. —from “The Infatuated Ineffable Ramblings of Mary the Merry” (NOTE: (view spoiler)[the book just inspired me, okay?? Hush now 🤐 (hide spoiler)] ) With eyes that devour and envy every hand holding a musical instrument, and drown in every detail of the makings of one, I hope... With lips that speak the language of music better than their mother tongue, spending each and every second building new rhythms on the air, I whisper... With fingers that have never had the chance to touch a piano's keys, yet spend every waking moment desperate for a dream where they get to play its strings, I write... This is the gift I never knew I wanted 💙 (NOTE: (view spoiler)[and trust me, I always know what gift I want; I even tell people what to buy me exactly—best way to get books! 😁 (hide spoiler)] ) A historical and fantastical tale of music, siblings, dreams, and Mozart. 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.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Candace Robinson

    I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started this. I also knew nothing about Wolfgang Mozart besides him being a famous pianist. As for Nannerl, I had never heard of her! As the pages turned, I wanted to know more about them! Not just in the story, but in real life as well! I was pleasantly surprised about how much I loved this! Nannerl was a girl I truly felt for, especially during this time where women weren’t truly equals. But her brother, Wolfgang, AKA Wolferl, was so freaking adorable, cute, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started this. I also knew nothing about Wolfgang Mozart besides him being a famous pianist. As for Nannerl, I had never heard of her! As the pages turned, I wanted to know more about them! Not just in the story, but in real life as well! I was pleasantly surprised about how much I loved this! Nannerl was a girl I truly felt for, especially during this time where women weren’t truly equals. But her brother, Wolfgang, AKA Wolferl, was so freaking adorable, cute, and sweet! I really did love their bond. The entwined fantasy elements were so cool and deliciously strange. I’m a lover of all things weird and odd, so I was so on board with the Kingdom of Back’s fantasy world. I’ll also admit that I think this may be Marie Lu’s best writing that I’ve read from her! Beautiful, haunting, magical, and mesmerizing!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jananie (thisstoryaintover)

    THIS WAS ENCHANTING. Hands down one of my favourite books EVER. Haunting, lyrical, and beautifully written. This might even be my favourite Marie Lu book ever. It's definitely more literary than her other books and also one that could appeal to any age, young or old. Highly recommend!!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Amy Imogene Reads

    3.5 Two siblings. Two brilliant talents. But only one Mozart. Concept: ★★★★★ Magical elements: ★★★ Pacing: ★★ 1/2 Emotional resonance: ★★★★ Everyone knows of Mozart. The brother, that is. How many of us know the history of Mozart's talented older sister, Nannerl? The Kingdom of Back is a soft, fantastical portrait of the historical lives of Nannerl and Amadeus during their childhood in Austria. Following Nannerl, it imagines the childhood of a girl—one given amazing musical talents, and yet born durin 3.5 Two siblings. Two brilliant talents. But only one Mozart. Concept: ★★★★★ Magical elements: ★★★ Pacing: ★★ 1/2 Emotional resonance: ★★★★ Everyone knows of Mozart. The brother, that is. How many of us know the history of Mozart's talented older sister, Nannerl? The Kingdom of Back is a soft, fantastical portrait of the historical lives of Nannerl and Amadeus during their childhood in Austria. Following Nannerl, it imagines the childhood of a girl—one given amazing musical talents, and yet born during a time when women were not given agency over their creativity, their name, or their destiny. Nannerl's childhood tours with her younger brother, "the" Mozart, are the main backbone of this story. But as this is a fantasy take, we're taken on a journey that deviates from the original: Welcome to the Kingdom of Back, where everything is backwards, blue, and desperately empty save for a mystical princeling. This mystical princeling seems to know Nannerl's deepest wish: to be remembered. He promises her that he can make it happen. She just needs to accomplish some tasks first. But as the game gets darker and her younger brother seems to flounder, Nannerl begins to wonder what the princeling deems a proper cost. What would you do to be remembered? What I liked: I loved the concept. Focusing on music? Fantastic. Focusing on the female Mozart? Brilliant. I loved highlighting Nannerl, especially as we were giving voice to a woman who has been largely forgotten by history. The strength in this novel lies in its poignant and heartbreaking focus on what it meant to be a girl in that time period, and the terrible boundaries and lost hope that lay at the end of every story. What I didn't like: Without getting into spoiler territory, I felt the magical elements were weak. I was really excited to read about the faerie-goblin, music-vibe, fantastical other world, and found myself really disappointed at the lack of time we spent there. I also found the events that occurred in the Kingdom of Back were, personally, unsatisfying. Spoilers: (view spoiler)[Nothing felt like it had real stakes. Outside of the extremely obvious (Mozart's life seems to wane as Nannerl fulfills the princeling's quests), Nannerl's time in the Kingdom of Back seemed simple to me. The tasks had no threat of death or darker themes. It felt similar to a Disney movie, which I struggled with because that's not how I hoped this faerie/goblin world would go. I thought this novel would go deeper, make the Kingdom of Back a twisted version of truth, but it came across as a different version of what I was anticipating. I wanted more action, consequences, and follow-through. (hide spoiler)] . I think in part because of these issues, I had a hard time with the novel's pacing. It took too long for us to reach interesting plot points, and not enough occurred chapter to chapter to keep me engaged. I kept fighting the urge to put this down. However, despite what sounds like a lukewarm response, I do think this is a memorable historical fiction novel—with a dose of the fantastic—and is worth reading for anyone interested in the blurb. I hope others enjoy it more than I did! Blog | Instagram

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tani

    RATINGS: 2.5 STARS "Look hard enough, Fräulein, and the kingdom will show you every truth that your world doesn't." Kingdom of Back is a historical retelling of the Mozart siblings, Nannerl and Woferl, with faeries. It's magical realism. Although the concept of the book had much potential, it misses it's mark. It's predictable and dismal. The story is based upon the childhood of Marianne 'Nannerl' Mozart and Wolfgang 'Wolferl' Mozart. Like her brother, Nannerl has talent of music and composure. RATINGS: 2.5 STARS "Look hard enough, Fräulein, and the kingdom will show you every truth that your world doesn't." Kingdom of Back is a historical retelling of the Mozart siblings, Nannerl and Woferl, with faeries. It's magical realism. Although the concept of the book had much potential, it misses it's mark. It's predictable and dismal. The story is based upon the childhood of Marianne 'Nannerl' Mozart and Wolfgang 'Wolferl' Mozart. Like her brother, Nannerl has talent of music and composure. She longs to be validated by her father and the world for her talent. Due to medieval patriarchal system, her talent is overshadowed by Wolferl's gifts at a younger age. Hyacinth, a faery princeling, offers Nannerl with acknowledgement and fame for her talent in exchange for three tasks. Surprisingly, Kingdom of Back was created by the real Mozart siblings and the author took a chance to write a story on it. The books adheres to facts while straying towards the faeries and their dubious natures. The world building was on point, at least in terms of YA level but the overall story is unimaginative. It reminded me of Shadow and Bone with tad less drama and more concrete prose. Anyone could've smelled the ending miles away and the plot wasn't engaging enough to compensate for it. The author put efforts towards symbolism and preaching so the book missed it's mark way too lower than it should. After reading the author's note, I felt like I was cheated. Some parts of the plot line that I thought was created by the author were actually the real incidences. Not only the characters were one dimensional but their somewhat appealing traits were the tidbits of the real people. If you cut out Hyacinth's story, which I think you can predict from the blurb, there's nothing new here. Nothing. Abso-fudging-lutely nothing. Thanks for putting me in a reading slump.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Zoë ☆

    THIS WAS FREAKING AMAZING, I’m crying right now it was so beautiful 😩😢💗 Go read this!! ---- The Kingdom of Back is SUCH a beautiful and enchanting read! I LOVED the magical world so much, and the combination with historical fiction made it an amazing and PERFECT read for me! The best thing about this book though was easily the writing. It was so enchanting and wonderful to read. Whenever I picked up the book, I was completely sucked into the world! Thinking back on it (I finished it almost a week THIS WAS FREAKING AMAZING, I’m crying right now it was so beautiful 😩😢💗 Go read this!! ---- The Kingdom of Back is SUCH a beautiful and enchanting read! I LOVED the magical world so much, and the combination with historical fiction made it an amazing and PERFECT read for me! The best thing about this book though was easily the writing. It was so enchanting and wonderful to read. Whenever I picked up the book, I was completely sucked into the world! Thinking back on it (I finished it almost a week ago), I still don't really have the words to describe how amazing this was!! I just loved it so much and I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone to be honest! The fact that it's a historical fiction (mostly) combined with a magical world I feel like makes it more approachable to people who don't generally read fantasy maybe? Another important and impressive aspect of this book was definitely that we actually discovered the story of Nannerl! She is Wolfgang Mozart's sister and inspiration: she was every way the talented composer and piano player that he was. AND WE DIDN'T EVEN KNOW IT! Especially the author's note made it even more special.. so if you read the book, definitely do not skip it! It made me cry again 😂😭💕 ---- Thank you so much Penguin Random House for sending me a copy of this book along with amazing goodies!! 😭

  22. 5 out of 5

    Noura Khalid (theperksofbeingnoura)

    Thank you Penguin International for the gifted copy of The Kingdom of Back! The Kingdom of Back is the first book by Marie Lu that I've read. Historical fiction isn't a genre I usually read. My first one was The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi and it's one of my favorite books of all time! So I went into this one with an open mind and I was pretty excited to try it out. The best way to describe this book is historical fiction with a hint of wild magic. Marie Lu has wonderful writing. Her writing Thank you Penguin International for the gifted copy of The Kingdom of Back! The Kingdom of Back is the first book by Marie Lu that I've read. Historical fiction isn't a genre I usually read. My first one was The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi and it's one of my favorite books of all time! So I went into this one with an open mind and I was pretty excited to try it out. The best way to describe this book is historical fiction with a hint of wild magic. Marie Lu has wonderful writing. Her writing was so lyrical and I loved every moment of it! I also adored the story that she brought to the page. There are plenty of stories about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and hardly any about his sister, Maria Anna Mozart. She contributed in different ways to his music and he looked up to her, but hardly anyone mentions her. Diving into a story about her was wonderful. The book was mostly centered on the siblings and their strong relationship. I've hardly read any books that focus on sibling relationships and I really loved this one! Nannerl was a tough character in her own way. She definitely grew up in a female oppressive society. I felt like this was highly realistic. It did annoy me all the comments about a woman's place and what's expected from her, especially from her own father. She definitely made sacrifices but I feel like towards the end of the story she did defy those ideas in her own way. Wolfgang although he's a child through most of the book he definitely had emotional intelligence mostly towards his sister. I loved how he always questioned the reasons why his sister couldn't do things. It showed how society shapes us to think the way that we do. He wasn't really aware of the privileges that he had. I did enjoy seeing how supportive he was of his sister. Even though Nannerl felt how unfair things were towards her she still remained by her little brothers side. Of course there was also the magic aspect. The siblings share The Kingdom of Back. A story they make up that slowly  becomes a reality and is a part of their life for years to come. I loved alternating between both worlds and how much magic was in this. The book also gave me intense Peter Pan vibes! There was also all the magic that comes with music and I feel like Marie Lu embodied that need to play especially well. The story was a bit on the slow side. I had wished it was just a tiny bit faster. I enjoyed the second half of the book most because I felt like that was when things started happening. This story was unique in every way and a retelling unlike anything I've read before! I'm definitely looking forward to reading Marie Lu's other books!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Elle

    An elegantly beautiful story about a sister and brother told through the lenses of history and fantasy, I was unexpectedly touched by this offering from Marie Lu. This is a departure for the YA Sci-fi/Fantasy writer, and despite her Legend series being published first, I was surprised to learn she’d written The Kingdom of Back prior to it. The tone of this reminds me of Pan's Labyrinth, but centered around the childhoods of Maria Anna and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, known to one another as Nannerl a An elegantly beautiful story about a sister and brother told through the lenses of history and fantasy, I was unexpectedly touched by this offering from Marie Lu. This is a departure for the YA Sci-fi/Fantasy writer, and despite her Legend series being published first, I was surprised to learn she’d written The Kingdom of Back prior to it. The tone of this reminds me of Pan's Labyrinth, but centered around the childhoods of Maria Anna and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, known to one another as Nannerl and Woferl, respectively. In order to escape the wretched unfairness of being the child breadwinners of their family and the clear & constant favoring of Woferl by their father, Nannerl and her brother either discover or invent the mystical Kingdom of Back, where they can abandon their earthly troubles for new ones. Taking place in Europe in the mid-1760s, so before the United States was even a country, the gender roles are devestatingly restrictive. Passages like this are utterly heartbreaking, but somehow still resonate today: “He tells you to play, so you play. He tells you to curtsy, so you curtsy. He tells you what you are meant to do and what you are meant not to do, so you do and you do not do. He tells you not to be angry, so you smile, you turn your eyes down, you are quiet and do exactly as he says in the hopes that this is what he wants, and then one night you realize that you have given him so much of yourself that you are nothing but the curtsy and the smile and the quiet. That you are nothing.” As an older sister of two brothers, the youngest also being nearly five years my junior, I really felt for Nannerl immensely. The times where she would be blamed for not controlling her brother if he acted out or would be expected to care for him in lieu of the his two parents, whilst being a child herself, were so relatable that I almost didn’t believe that Lu was an only child. The love Nannerl has for her little brother despite how her family or the world treats them is steadfast and everlasting, no matter how frustrated she may be with him at the time. I feel lucky that I got to read this book several months before publication, and I’m glad that Marie Lu was finally able to publish it. I’d really love if she wrote even more standalones. I’m sure publishers like to put out sweeping series with loyal followings, but it would have been a shame if we never got to enjoy this sparkling, lyrical novel. If you’re an adult who doesn’t usually read YA, I’d still recommend picking this one up. It clocks in as Historical Fantasy before any other genre, and despite focusing on two adolescent characters, has lessons and reflections on loving your sibling that stretch far beyond whatever age you currently are. *Thanks to Penguin Teen & BookishFirst for an advance copy!

  24. 5 out of 5

    hannah ✧/ᐠ-ꞈ-ᐟ\ (on hiatus)

    update: look!!! every time I get new information about this book my heart swells with excitement _____ I ADDED THIS BOOK AS SOON AS I SAW MARIE LU'S NAME and when I read the description it got even better I've always thought it sad that Nannerl couldn't pursue music like her brother because 18th century gender roles are the worst. plus, it's MARIE LU, so this is basically guaranteed to be amazing but 2019....that's so far away.................. *weeps silently into bowl of cheerios* update: look!!! every time I get new information about this book my heart swells with excitement _____ I ADDED THIS BOOK AS SOON AS I SAW MARIE LU'S NAME and when I read the description it got even better I've always thought it sad that Nannerl couldn't pursue music like her brother because 18th century gender roles are the worst. plus, it's MARIE LU, so this is basically guaranteed to be amazing but 2019....that's so far away.................. *weeps silently into bowl of cheerios*

  25. 4 out of 5

    ELLIAS (elliasreads)

    As someone who played the piano for over 10 years, consider me INTRIGUED!!!?? Like what is this synopsis???!!! Whatever, I'm here for it:) Twitter | Bookstagram | Youtube | As someone who played the piano for over 10 years, consider me INTRIGUED!!!?? Like what is this synopsis???!!! Whatever, I'm here for it:) Twitter | Bookstagram | Youtube |

  26. 4 out of 5

    Andreea Pop

    Um.............. WHAT IS THIS????

  27. 5 out of 5

    Gaby (lookingatbooks)

    Marie Lu is just releasing new book after new book, I am so down for this. I will read her friggin grocery list if given the opportunity. She’s one of best ya writes ever

  28. 4 out of 5

    Helena of Eretz ✰

    I received this complimentary ARC from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

  29. 5 out of 5

    micolreads

    This book was a scream of all the women who want to be recognized for their talent and courage, who want to be on the first line and never stand back. Lu was amazing at showing what a woman would feel in a 18th century Europe, using a girl’s eyes as a camera, to show what being a woman was when women where considered nothing. I really appreciate the choice to give a lot of space to the fraternal bond between the main characters; I think it just added to the story in a way romance could not. Unfortu This book was a scream of all the women who want to be recognized for their talent and courage, who want to be on the first line and never stand back. Lu was amazing at showing what a woman would feel in a 18th century Europe, using a girl’s eyes as a camera, to show what being a woman was when women where considered nothing. I really appreciate the choice to give a lot of space to the fraternal bond between the main characters; I think it just added to the story in a way romance could not. Unfortunately, this book really dragged me into it after I read more than half. It was difficult, at the beginning, to understand the magic world and how it worked. Finally, to all the Nannerls out there. Whatever barriers are in your path, it is my deepest hope that you can shatter them, because we desperately need your talent. Keep going. Don’t give in. light up this world. Final vote: 3/5

  30. 5 out of 5

    ☆ Mira ✷

    I never thought I’d see Mozart become a YA legend. But Marie Lu has made me ship 15 year olds, cry for days, and fail my final exams, so I have complete faith that she will make it happen.

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