A Historical Fairy Tale: The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu


Release Date: March 3, 2020
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fantasy


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.”


My Thoughts

KingdomOfBack-coverNannerl’s relationship with the book’s antagonist (whose identity I will not reveal for spoilers) creates an interesting analogy for what happens when an abuser exploits and exacerbates their victim’s low self-esteem. The antagonist quickly finds the cracks in Nannerl’s foundation and tells her they are the thing keeping her whole, all while subtly fracturing her further. She trusts the antagonist without question because doing so means getting what she wants. Her father uses her in much the same way. Where he has long ago decided the cost of his children’s happiness is worth less than wealth and connections, Nannerl’s choice comes later in the novel. As much as she understands that men are not always right and that many see her as a tool to be used for their own personal benefit, she cannot recognize it up close. Or maybe she can but is unwilling to because doing so will upend what little security (and power) she has…

Read the rest of this review at Tor.com.


Thanks to the publisher for sending me a review copy.

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