Title: The Kingdom of Back
Author: Marie Lu
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Release Date: March 3, 2020
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu comes a historical YA fantasy about a musical prodigy and the dangerous lengths she’ll go to make history remember her—perfect for fans of Susanna Clarke and The Hazel Wood.
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 Timesbestselling author Marie Lu spins a lush, lyrically-told story of music, magic, and the unbreakable bond between a brother and sister.
Nannerl Mozart was the older sister of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. She was an excellent musician, but since she was a girl, she couldn’t write her own music or perform as a career, like her brother could. One day, she meets a mysterious stranger, Hyacinth, who promises to make her dream come true. If she helps Hyacinth regain his throne in the mysterious Kingdom of Back, he will make it possible for her to be a musician. However, this promise comes at a high price.
This story was based on a real history. Nannerl was the older sister of Mozart, and she was an excellent musician as a child. Since she was a girl, she wasn’t allowed to put her name on any compositions or perform past childhood. It’s scary to think about how many talented people weren’t allowed to practice their talent because of their gender, nationality, or race. I’m glad that Nannerl’s name is known now, but she could have made a contribution to the musical community if she was allowed to follow her dream.
I loved the way the fantasy was mixed into the historical narrative. The Kingdom of Back was like Narnia or Oz, because it was a magical place that the children could travel to through doorways and dreams. The Kingdom of Back is based on a story that Nannerl and Wolfgang made up. It was a great detail about their childhood that was expanded in this fantasy story.
I loved this historical fantasy novel!
What to read next:
The Mozart Girl by Barbara Nickel
The Guinevere Deception (Camelot Rising #1) by Kiersten White
Have you read The Kingdom of Back? What did you think of it?