May 14, 2019

DNF ARC Review--The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg

Welcome to the Kingdom... where 'Happily Ever After' isn't just a promise, but a rule.

Glimmering like a jewel behind its gateway, The Kingdom(TM) is an immersive fantasy theme park where guests soar on virtual dragons, castles loom like giants, and bioengineered species--formerly extinct--roam free.

Ana is one of seven Fantasists, beautiful "princesses" engineered to make dreams come true. When she meets park employee Owen, Ana begins to experience emotions beyond her programming including, for the first time... love.

But the fairytale becomes a nightmare when Ana is accused of murdering Owen, igniting the trial of the century. Through courtroom testimony, interviews, and Ana's memories of Owen, emerges a tale of love, lies, and cruelty--and what it truly means to be human.

I received this ARC in a fair trade with a fellow blogger. My review is completely honest and voluntary and I was in no way compensated for this review.

Well, it happened again. I’ve encountered yet another book I just cannot get into no matter how hard I try. This time it’s The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg. I was really excited about this one. An amusement park where the animatronics have lives of their own. But for whatever reason I couldn’t really get into the story.

I’m wondering if it was due, in part, to the formatting. We go back and forth between the past and the future, where the future is told through transcripts of interviews post trial. The story already clues us in that Ana is a half-human, half-android princess who is programmed to make other people’s dreams come true. But, naturally, Ana finds herself acting against her programming and doing one thing that she shouldn’t be capable of, falling in love.

There’s also the murder of said boy she loves, Owen. Ana is accused of murdering him, though I never really got up to that part. I was in the beginning stages of Ana’s fascination with Owen. I read about 100 pages before deciding to throw in the towel.

What wasn’t working for me, I suppose, was the pacing. I get the desire to add these transcripts of post-incident, but for me, they weren’t really working. I mean we were getting these transcripts and such before Owen ever came onto the page. It was just kind of disaster for me. I mean, none of them talked about the incident, but the characters involved in it and prior to it.

I don’t know how else to describe it really without confusing myself more. The pacing and structure was just off for me. I had expected to fall in love with this story but it just wasn’t jiving for me, much to my dismay and with a TBR pile that grows by the week, I decided I wasn’t going to force myself to read a book I clearly wasn’t connecting with.

If the story sounds of any interest to you though, I still highly recommend checking it out. The structure I think is what threw me off the most. To be reading about the aftermath of an event that had yet to happen really didn’t do well for my mind’s abilities apparently. Having read about 100 pages, I wasn’t really able to obtain anything I read because I felt like we had yet to reach the start of the actual story. So yeah, this sadly was a DNF for me.


  1. Seeing your review I can understand that you DNF-ed. I always decide to read or not to read after 100 pages.

  2. Thanks for this review! I think I'm going to pass. I'm not a fan of books told in transcripts. Here's to hoping your next read is fantastic!

    Jamie @ Books and Ladders


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