The Kingdom of Back
By Michael Berry,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Mozart's sister steps up in witty historical fantasy.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Presents new perspective on life of Mozart and his sister Maria, also known as Nannerl. Lots of details of European musicianship. Offers opportunity to discuss ways in which women's art is suppressed.
Young women can grow up to be remembered forever. Brothers and sisters can work together to achieve greatness. Jealousy is counterproductive.
Positive Role Models
Maria "Nannerl" Mozart is a talented musician in her own right, but she's overshadowed by her genius brother, Wolfgang. Nevertheless, she treats him lovingly, works for benefit of her whole family. Mozart is portrayed as a loving sibling with a competitive streak.
Violence & Scariness
Wolfgang wastes away, thanks to a magical spell cast by Hyacinth. At Hyacinth's urging, Nannerl kills the beast who guards the moat of the castle.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A young man flirts with Nannerl.
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Parents Need to Know
Where to Read
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What's the Story?
As THE KINGDOM OF BACK opens, Nannerl Mozart is a gifted teen musician whose virtuosity impresses the nobles of Europe. Unfortunately, she is overshadowed by the genius of her younger brother, Woferl, even though she's in some ways the better composer. Dismissed because of her age and gender, Nannerl can't help but feel resentful, and when she meets a mysterious stranger called Hyacinth, she confides that her greatest wish is to be remembered forever. That confession has unexpected ramifications, and soon she and Woferl are brought to an enchanted kingdom to do Hyacinth's bidding. Soon, Nannerl will have to weigh her ambitions against Woferl's health and decide how to make her mark in music.
Is It Any Good?
Some of the best stories can be found in history's footnotes, and this intricate historical fantasy uses the early childhood of Mozart as a springboard for an enchanting tale of sibling rivalry. In The Kingdom of Back, the relationship between Woferl and Nannerl is described with insight and sensitivity. Author Marie Lu expertly mixes fantasy and fact as she follows the struggles of Nannerl in her efforts to build a legacy that will last forever. Heartbreaking, rapturous, and witty, The Kingdom of Back is a major change of pace for Lu, completely successful and worthy of a wide readership.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how The Kingdom of Back presents an alternate history of European music. How do authors use fantasy to offer a different perspective on history?
Why have women been excluded from participating in business and the arts? How have they struggled against such oppression? Are women still excluded in some areas today?
How do artists find sponsorship for their art? Is it important for individuals, charities, and governments to support them?
- Author: Marie Lu
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Arts and Dance, Brothers and Sisters, Great Girl Role Models, Music and Sing-Along
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
- Publication date: March 3, 2020
- Number of pages: 383
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: March 27, 2020
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