The Kingdom of Back
By Marie Lu
Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy
Publication Date: March 2020
Content Warnings: None
What a twist! I did not see the end coming, and yet I did. In the back of my mind, I knew…
But I’ll stop talking now, for fear of ruining the plot to all the unsuspecting readers who wish to dive into this trickery called The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu.
The Kingdom of Back is a fantastical retelling of Wolgang Amadeus Mozart’s life, from the perspective of his sister, Anna Maria–or as they are called in the book, Woferl and Nannerl. It focuses more on Nannerl than her brother, and the wish she makes–a wish to be immortal.
In steps Hyacinth, a princeling who leads the Mozart children off to a new world called the Kingdom of Back. In between composing, concerts and travels, Nannerl and Woferl whisper about this kingdom to each other, the world completely theirs.
Throughout the first half of the book, Lu captures the clear and innocent imagination of childhood, making The Kingdom of Back altogether wistful and nostalgic. But underneath all the wistfulness of childhood are the undertones of impending adulthood and all the things that come with it.
I loved this book. It was amazingly written and it lifted my spirit on the wings of music. I’m a writer, not a musician, but I’ve always had a special love for music. And I was amazed at how Lu painted the music with her words, allowing me to see it, as well as hear echoes of Mozart’s pieces in my mind.
And then the ending. What an ending! Just when Lu had me believing one thing, she went and turned it on its head, just as everything in the Kingdom of Back was a mirror of the real world. It was cleverly done, and I was glad that Nannerl learned a very valuable lesson along the way. I don’t think I can say anything else without spoiling the plot, so I’ll just leave it here.
I Rate It: 4 1/2 stars
About the Book:
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.
(Description taken from Goodreads)