Book Review | The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg

Hey everyone! Happy Saturday! I hope everyone is having a lovely day so far. Today I wanted to give you guys a really good book review because….. ah this book. Honestly, where can I even begin with this book? Ummm… it f**king rocked okay?! It was amazing and thank god I just decided to pick it up on a whim. Let’s just get into the review shall we?

The Kingdom

The Kingdom

Jess Rothenberg

Pages: 352

Audience: YA

Genre(s): Science Fiction, Fantasy

Publication Date: May 28, 2019

Trigger Warnings: suicide, implied sexual assault, animal abuse, talks of blood/gross imagery, self-harm triggers

Glimmering like a jewel behind its gateway, The Kingdom is an immersive fantasy theme park where guests soar on virtual dragons, castles loom like giants, and bioengineered species–formerly extinct–roam free.

Ana is one of seven Fantasists, beautiful “princesses” engineered to make dreams come true. When she meets park employee Owen, Ana begins to experience emotions beyond her programming including, for the first time… love.

But the fairytale becomes a nightmare when Ana is accused of murdering Owen, igniting the trial of the century. Through courtroom testimony, interviews, and Ana’s memories of Owen, emerges a tale of love, lies, and cruelty–and what it truly means to be human. 

The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg | Sheaf & Ink
  • Dark – This book is very dark. I don’t normally include trigger warning in book reviews, but this one I had to because there are a lot of dark elements to this book. I knew it had some creepy and deep elements to it, but I never expected it to turn as dark and terrifying as it did in some spots.
  • Unexpected Turns – There were a lot of twists and turns in this book that I did not see coming AT ALL. It kept me guessing constantly of what may happen and what may not happen. It was so crazy and out there.
  • Ana and Owen – What a nice relationship! It wasn’t one that was solely built on attraction to one another, but based on deep conversation the two shared, that us as the readers got to see in a really nice way thanks to Rothenberg. It made the whole fact that he’s a human and she’s this cyborg princess a little less creepy.
  • The Sisters – I loved all of the sisters. Some weren’t as present as others, but some like Eve, Nia, and KAIA! All of the sisters seem to have different programming, and Kaia’s character honestly broke me every time I heard from her. Even though what she said literally had no reference to the current conversation that was being handled in the book (if you’ve read this I think you know what I’m trying to get at here), her words still had a deep, dark and terribly sad meaning. I need more KAIA.
  • Description of Park/Writing – I thought Jess did a great job with the writing and the description of the park was amazing.
  • Back and Forth Timeline – I don’t usually care for timelines that go back and forth between past and present, but man did I enjoy the hell out of this. I feel like this review would be a lot different if those little chapters to the ‘present’ where Ana is going through her trial weren’t included. They kept the reader want to keep reading, and it wasn’t long before it has me totally sucked in.
  • Pictures of Evidence in Book – Liked that there were some pictures included, and even fake notes. Loved that.
  • Disney References – There were a few Disney references in this book, one is my favorite quote from the entire book which is ‘Like Wendy, John and Michael Darling on the night Peter Pan taught them how to fly – I think one happy thought. In my pocket, I have a knife.’ In that moment I immediately wrote it down because I had felt a sharp shiver go all the way up my spine. Good lord.
  • Will there be a sequel? Because that ending! – I need to know what happens to a certain character which will remain nameless…… but I really need to know and I need a book 2 ASAP.
  • Backstory – I needed a little more back story. That’s literally the only complaint I have. I just want to know more about how The Kingdom came to be before Ana showed up.


Of course I would! I’m thinking this may be my favorite book of the year if I have to be straight forward with you guys. I will scream it from the mountain tops that I love this book. Although, I will warn you guys, it is VERY DARK. Like possibly could upset you dark. Could possibly put you in a bad head space dark? So just be fair warned about that.

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