First Impression: THE KINGDOM by Jess Rothenberg

Kingdom-FinalCoverThe book community was recently treated to not only the stunning cover for THE KINGDOM, but an intriguing excerpt as well.  This YA sci-fi thriller, which releases May 28th, 2019, is set in a fantasy theme park staffed by human-android hybrids.  Every day is a dream come true – until a murder happens.  Pitched as WESTWORLD meets SERIAL, the book will use a combination of court testimonies, flashbacks, and other documents to piece together what went wrong.

Some are going to turn up their nose at a YA WESTWORLD, but I personally am looking forward to a more “Disneyland” approach to the concept (it helps that I’ve never seen an episode of the HBO show).  If someone can bring something fresh to the space, let me see it!  In the excerpt, we’re introduced to a world of fairytale princesses adored by children – but definitely distrusted by parents.  I’m curious about this dynamic, the fact that the parents choose to take their kids to an amusement park where they’re still cautiously concerned about their child’s safety with the “performers.”  Was there a prior incident, or is it just wariness born of interacting with a not-fully-human entity?  And what exactly does a human-android hybrid entail?  The fact that Ana doesn’t leave the park at night indicates that she and her compatriots are considered property – was she born human, or cloned with technology woven in?

The excerpt has dropped enough questions into my brain to make me want more.  The biggest question mark of all is how well this book will play with time and perception as we untangle the murder mystery.  The narrative will be jumping around in time, and I hope it messes with our brains in the best possible way!  I’m cautiously optimistic that THE KINGDOM will be a fun twisty teasing thriller when it releases later this year.

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