Reviews

The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu

zoeth03's review

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adventurous dark emotional fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.75

firvida's review against another edition

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4.0

A ver si consigo calmar la llorera y escribir algo con sentido. Porque igual este no es el mejor libro de fantasía histórica que vas a leer en tu vida, pero sí es de los más emotivos. Porque, para las que tenemos la ausencia de las mujeres en la historia muy presente en nuestra vida (paradójicamente), este libro es un disparo al corazón.

Admiro muchísimo la originalidad de Marie Lu: coge dos personajes históricos reales, Mozart y su hermana Nannerl, y los rodea de un halo de fantasía para reflexionar sobre cuestiones tan importantes como el papel del sexo en el reconocimiento artístico, el deseo de fama, la culpa, el amor fraternal o el deseo de aprobación paterna. Todo eso, en apenas 300 páginas y con un tipo de fantasía clásica nada complicada, de reino de duendes y hadas, que Nannerl y Wolfang inventaron en su niñez. Leyendo la nota final de la autora, además, descubres que ese "Reino del Revés" fue realmente una invención de los niños Mozart en sus interminables giras por Europa, con lo que es imposible no emocionarse imaginando a los dos hermanos, aburridos y rebosantes de imaginación, creando un mundo ficticio para ellos solos. Un poco como las hermanas y hermano Brontë con Gondal.

El libro es mucho más que un libro de fantasía, porque se nota mucho, y para bien, que la intención de Marie Lu es reivindicar la figura de Nannerl, con tanto talento como su hermano, y, a través de sus ensoñaciones sobre el "Reino del Revés", mostrar sus miedos, sus deseos y, sobre todo, sus frustraciones porque Wolfang vaya a poder seguir sus inclinaciones musicales pero ella, en tanto que mujer, no. Insisto, todo esto en un libro de fantasía autoconclusivo de 300 páginas. El duende que ambos hermanos imaginan, Jacinto, articula toda esta mezcolanza de emociones de Nannerl. Me parece admirable ser capaz de unir todo ello en un relato coherente y, todo hay que decirlo, bien escrito.

Ahora, si esperas una historia de fantasía al uso y, francamente, las reflexiones sobre el papel de la mujer en el canon a lo largo de la historia te la bufan, es probable que el libro te aburra. Para mí, en cambio, ha sido excelente y su final...un océano de lágrimas.

keitacolada's review against another edition

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adventurous dark emotional mysterious sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

2.75

dalinarsreads's review against another edition

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5.0

absolutely love when books come full circle.

thebooknerdscorner's review

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4.0

A wonderful tribute to close sibling relationships, following one's dreams, and creating music that will last for time immemorial. 

Marianne "Nannerl" Mozart is the other Mozart. Everyone has heard of her prodigal younger brother, Wolfgang, but she was performing music before her brother ever saw a piece of sheet music. Despite the jealousy she feels towards her brother being able to achieve her dreams, she loves Wolfgang more than anything else. They may practice and perform together across Europe, but the two of them love spending their free time creating their magical Kingdom of Back. When the Kingdom becomes a little more real than Nannerl ever expected it to, she has to balance what is really important to her. 

I wasn't one hundred percent absorbed into the plot of this story, but I loved learning more about the Mozart siblings in such a fun, magical way. I never knew that Wolfgang had a musical older sister who was just as talented in playing and composing as he was. It was fun to learn about Marianne, and it was heartbreaking to learn how her creative talents were suppressed by society. 

I was shocked to learn that the Mozarts had  actually invented a childhood game surrounding the Kingdom of Back. I think knowing this was based in truth made the story that much more cool. I thought Lu completely made it up, so hearing it was something that actually existed in the Mozarts' lives was really neat. 

The themes that Lu tackled with this story were really cool and obviously close to her heart. It sucks how long women and other minority groups have been suppressed, especially in the creative and scientific fields. I love that Lu wrote this story for all the Nannerls out there in the world. 

I didn't love all the Kingdom of Back aspects of this book, but I eventually got more invested in the magical world as the story progressed and the Mozarts got more involved. It was very reminiscent of Narnia and Neverland, and the magical prince gave me extreme Puck vibes. He was obviously sketchy, but it makes sense why Nannerl trusted him so much. 

Overall, I found "The Kingdom of Back" to be an interesting read. I didn't love it nearly as much as I've loved Lu's other books, but I learned quite a bit from this read. I wasn't entirely invested in the characters or the kingdom, but I still very much enjoyed my time with the Mozart siblings.

hellohannahk's review

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4.0

A clever and engaging story. I enjoyed getting into the world of the young Mozart and his sister Nannerl. I've actually been to Salzburg, Austria and seen the Mozart residence, so it was neat to be able to picture the setting. The book kept up a really good pace even though the story happened over the span of quite a few years. The fantasy element was a little different than what I'm used to (think a sort of sinister Peter Pan), but I enjoyed it. I was surprised that it wasn't actually Nannerl who battled and defeated the villain at the end. I thought it would have been more powerful if she fought her own battle instead of being easily rescued by someone else.
Also the book was completely wholesome, so thumbs up for that! I'm interested to read some of this author's other books.

kassyfineface's review

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adventurous inspiring mysterious fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.0

valeria14vq's review

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4.0

Actual rating: 4.5

“He was here and then gone, a brief, brilliant shard of life, a flash of stardust that ignited the sky... She is not the stardust but the steady wick, the one who burns low and quiet...”

Before this book I couldn't have recognized the name of Maria Anna Mozart, now there is no way I can forget it. I'll not do it. This story reminded me of the fear that many of us have gone through, of being forgotten when we die. Will my contribution to the world be really valuable so that decades later someone will pronounce my name? Or even as long as I live, will my work be appreciated and will I deserve at least for a second to be praised? I have listened to Woferl's music many times but until now I wonder if there are traces of Nannerl there, that piece of her soul that no one can steal from her as she says in the book.

“...You do not see her by the way she lights up the sky but by the way she steadies herself against the darkness, alone, at night, beside a window while the world sleeps around her.”

Edelweiss growing on sheets of music, a magical world that was the reflection of the real one. This was a wonderful story, which leaving aside all the fantastic things related to the kingdom and Hyacinth, it was also cruel and caused me strong feelings of frustration and anger, but also sadness. I almost cried when Woferl on his deathbed tells Nannerl that his dream was to be like her. That although her father stole the sonatas and signed them under his name, the music belonged to her. But the oratory was different. I signed them Mozart, for both of us. I really had to stop to accept what was happening and the inevitable end of this story. Because if you hadn't heard Maria Anna's name before, we already know where everything is going.

One moment that really hurt me was when the father took Woferl alone to protect him from smallpox, leaving Nannerl behind. It was as if he told her that only Woferl's life was valuable to him, as if the world could go on without her but without her brother it would be a great loss for music. You know, she was more than a companion to her brother, but her father didn't see it. Or maybe he did appreciate his daughter's music but didn't allow himself to admit it out loud because something was very clear in society: Composition was a man's realm. Something of great weight in Nannerl's youth was knowing that each year that passed was one less in front of the harpsichord. The older we were, the less magnificent. The feeling is bitter when Woferl goes on his first tour without his sister. She is condemned to stay home as her years as a prodigy have come to an end. Just because she was a woman, she had to see him leave for a world they both shared before.

“Stay true, daughter. One day, you will see it all go up in flames.”

If someone told me now that I can't create music because I'm a woman I'd say it's totally absurd. When I read it I was shocked that such an idea existed centuries ago, but I cannot say that I didn't expect it. I really appreciated the fantasy in the book, but I can't compare it to how amazing the historical fiction part was for me. Although the author mentions that many parts are speculations, I loved the development of Nannerl's character and the relationship with her brother, because now we are aware of how history was in charge of silencing her music and forgetting her name.

Favorite character: Nannerl

hrobison11's review

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4.0

Now I can safely say I understand what an historical fantasy is!

I love this world that Lu created. This idea that a famous musician would actually be the woman in the family, not just the man, is fabulous, and there is a lot to suggest that may have been the case.
The Kingdom of Back was so well written. I could see the world Lu was creating. I have a picturesque image of the princeling, and I can also picture what Europe must have been like in that time as well.

Overall, well written, and well done. I'd recommend this to any music lovers, anyone who adores fantasy, and anyone interested in what history might have been like. If you are a Mozart fan, I'd challenge you to review some of the pieces and the history just to see if you can differentiate Nannerl from Woferl.

katherineclimber's review against another edition

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3.0

I really liked how this book took the topic of Mozart having a sister (something I knew nothing about) and turned it into a fantastical story, but kept enough of the truth there to still learn from it. I loved these characters so much and overall this book was just really heartwarming but without being too happy-go-lucky the whole time, I mean the characters went through hards times too. I listened to this on audiobook, and I think that's why I didn't realize how beautifully written it was until the end, which makes me sad I didn't appreciate the writing throughout the whole book. I haven't read any of Marie Lu's other books, but this makes me want to just so I can experience more of her gorgeous writing.