THE KINGDOM - *****
Ana is a Fantasist, a programmed Disney-style Princess who lives with her 7 sisters in The Kingdom – a theme park where all of your dreams come true. But what darkness is lurking under the surface of paradise?
The Kingdom is easily one of my ‘Kindig Gems’ for this year. Think of it as Westworld meets The Belles – two of my favourite universes and you can see that I had little choice but to love it! I devoured it in a day over two sittings, the writing style flows nicely and Ana makes for a great narrator even for someone (objectively!) not human. I really enjoyed how the flashbacks and retelling of the events leading up to the crime were interspersed with courtroom interrogations, recorded interviews and CCTV footage description. It was paced so well as to keep you guessing but you never felt tired or wanted to jump back into the main storyline too quickly.
I loved the world that was created, although we never get to have too much of an insight into the world beyond the gates of The Kingdom deliberately. The actual theme park though is well constructed and believable, with a hint of Disneyland but also newer technology such as VR which is used in a realistic way. I liked the fact that menace and darkness run through the book but some of the more triggering events are just alluded to rather than explicitly stating what is happening as it goes right over Ana’s head. I also liked that although the story is left open for a possible sequel there is a satisfying ending to Ana’s story as well – that said if there is a sequel announced I will definitely be picking it up!
Overall The Kingdom is one of my favourite reads for 2019, it’s a fast paced thriller set in a menacing fantasy. Thank you to NetGalley & Pan Macmillan for a chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.