The Kingdom – Jess Rothenberg

Cover Illustration: Helen Crawford-White

Stars: *****

At The Kingdom, all your dreams can come true. The seven Fantasists – made to represent people from all around the world – are half-human, half-android princesses designed to cater to your every wish. Ana is one of the Fantasists and always wants to help make the customers of the theme park as happy as possible – after all, it’s one of the rules she knows she needs to follow. Hybrids can mimic human emotion but everyone knows they can’t actually feel. Can they?

Ana is on trial for the death of Kingdom worker, Owen Chen. She has killed someone and now, they need to know why. She isn’t programmed to feel human emotion, so how can she have committed such a crime? Ana knows there is a truth that needs to be revealed, but sometimes, the truth can be the most dangerous thing of all…

I was recommended this book by several people who told me how incredible it was – I wasn’t disappointed! The Kingdom is fresh and original with lots of drama and action. I really enjoyed the way the story was interspersed with evidence and transcripts from the trial, leaving a trail of clues of us to follow until the end, where you’re still in for a surprise!

There are interesting moral dilemmas that the book raises about androids, freedom and emotions which pose brilliant discussion and provoke the reader to think. At what point can a human or robot not be held accountable for their emotions and actions? I also the insight we get into Ana’s innermost thoughts and feelings, some of which aren’t clear to even herself. The trial breaks up the story yet it still keeps it’s flow – you feel totally immersed in Ana’s case.

Owen is an interesting character who clearly develops as his understanding of Ana, and hybrids, becomes deeper. His emotions are as complex as Ana’s: he questions how he is feeling, and why it is happening. His actions and responses are carefully thought through by the author to build a meaningful and realistic relationship between him and the other characters, most notably, Ana.

The Kingdom had a brilliant ending that kept twisting and turning until the last pages, leaving you wondering what might happen for Ana next.

Like the sound of this book? Buy it from: https://amzn.to/2y8qytP

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