Review – The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu

Posted March 3, 2020 by Carole in 2020 New Release Challenge, Book Reviews / 17 Comments

The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 3, 2020
Date Read: March 1, 2020
Length:  336 pages
Source: Publisher via Bookish First

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.

My Review

I really enjoyed this story.  Believe it or not, this was the first time that I have read any of Marie Lu’s work.   I love music so I was really drawn to the premise of this story.  I read the bulk of this book in a single day and couldn’t get enough of Wolferl and Nannerl’s story.  I am so glad that I decided to give this book a try.

There was a point at the start of this story that I thought that this book was going to be mostly set in the fantasy world of the Kingdom of Back.  I was wrong.  This book really reads like an historical fiction with short trips into fantasy.  The fantasy elements were a nice addition to the story but I felt like the relationship between Nannerl and her brother, Wolferl, and their music was the main focus of the story.

Nannerl is Wolferl’s older sister.  The world knows Wolferl as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and he is remembered by everyone.  But who remembers his sister who shared his talent?  As children, they were both very gifted musicians and played for important audiences everywhere.  They were not treated the same though.  Nannerl is expected to help supervise her younger brother and knows that being a wife and mother is in her future.  She is allowed to play her music but composition is strictly considered a man’s domain.

I really enjoyed the magical elements of this story.  Hyacinth was a great character and I loved that I was never quite sure of his motivations.  I thought that the descriptions of the scenes within the Kingdom of Back made this world come alive.  All of the things that they were faced with in this land were exciting and helped to move the story along.

I would recommend this book to others.  I thought that this was a very well done story involving a historical figure from a unique point of view.  I wouldn’t hesitate to read more of Marie Lu’s work in the future.

I received a review copy of this book from G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers via Bookish First.

About the Author

Marie Lu is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Young Elites series, as well as the blockbuster bestselling Legend series, and the Warcross novels. She graduated from the University of Southern California and jumped into the video game industry as an artist. Now a full-time writer, she spends her spare time reading, drawing, playing games, and getting stuck in traffic. She lives in Los Angeles with her illustrator-author husband, Primo Gallanosa, and their dogs.

17 responses to “Review – The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu

  1. I've got a couple of her books on the shelf, but haven't read them yet. Yes, I love that Wolfgang's sister is getting recognition. I did her story as a report years ago as a kid. I'll have to grab this one.

  2. I hadn't seen this one but what a gorgeous cover. I am also a music lover. Robin has read some of her other books.

    Anne – Books of My Heart

  3. I really enjoy books which include music in them too as I am a huge lover of music and play an instrument too. I love Marie Lu's writing and it sounds like she did a great job with this one too. I hope you'll go on to read more of her books. She has some really good YA ones. 😉

  4. I've enjoyed Marie Lu in the past, even met her at a few book signings and she's sooo nice! I love that cover and the story sounds original and interesting. Glad to hear you enjoyed your first experience with her writing. 🙂

  5. Marie Lu has been on my TBR for years and I've heard nothing but good things about her but I've yet to pick up any books by her. This sounds like such a great read and definitely one I should pick up.

  6. I cannot believe this is your first Marie Lu book. Well, glad you enjoyed it. I have read 9 (11 if you count the Illuminae books she illustrated). I am on the fence about this one, because I am not a huge historical fantasy fan, but the music angle sounds interesting.