A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Kingdom is science fiction novel by Jess Rothenberg about a half-android/half-human girl engineered to be a welcoming "princess" at a fantasy theme park called The Kingdom -- who's on trial for murder. A bloody killing is at the center of the story, and there are also a near-drowning and hints at sexual harassment or assault. There's infrequent swearing (a handful of "hell" and "damn") and minimal sexual content -- just a couple of passionate embraces.
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What's the story?
As this story opens, android-human hybrid Ana, an engineered "princess" at a fantasy theme park called THE KINGDOM is on trial for an alleged murder that took place two years ago at the park. The testimony of various witnesses alternates with chapters that recount the events that led up to the killing. As she witnesses various events that cast a dark shadow over life in the park, Ana transforms from an unquestioning and perfect servant to a more complex individual who wonders what it means to be human and whether a being with artificial intelligence can ever fall in love. Little is as it seems, and Ana's friends and foes are equally shocked by the verdict.
Is it any good?
The idea of out-of-control amusement park attractions isn't new, but this intricate thriller about an android/hybrid and her search for freedom is a blast. The Kingdom imagines living, breathing "Fantasists" who interact with visitors, showing the dangers that might lurk in such a plan. With a great initial hook and a middle section that remains taut throughout, the novel sustains suspense while topping one twist after another. Ana is a strong and complex protagonist, and she's surrounded by a diverse supporting cast. Author Jess Rothenberg expertly choreographs the genuinely surprising revelations that occur at the narrative's climax. The Kingdom is a little like Michael Crichton-meets-Philip-K.-Dick, but it stands on its own as something fresh and intriguing.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how The Kingdom explores the future of robotics and artificial intelligence. Might there one day be human/machine hybrids that become hard to distinguish from real people? If so, how should they be treated?
Why do people enjoy amusement parks? How are they marketed to the public and what kinds of expectations do they foster?
Is there such a thing as "happily ever after"? Why do people find comfort in familiar phrases and sayings?
- Author: Jess Rothenberg
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Adventures, Great Girl Role Models, Robots
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Henry Holt & Company, Inc.
- Publication date: May 28, 2019
- Number of pages: 352
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: February 10, 2020
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