The Kingdom of Back

Marie Lu

fiction fantasy historical young adult
adventurous slow-paced

336 pages | first published 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 Times bestselling author Marie Lu spins a lush, lyrically-told story of music, magic, and the unbreakable bond between a brother and sister.

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adventurous 68%
emotional 61%
mysterious 45%
dark 30%
inspiring 25%
hopeful 21%
sad 20%
reflective 18%
tense 16%
informative 10%
lighthearted 10%
challenging 9%
relaxing 3%
funny 2%


medium 55%
slow 32%
fast 11%

Plot- or character-driven?

Character: 73% | A mix: 20% | Plot: 6%

Strong character development?

Yes: 81% | It's complicated: 17% | No: 1%

Loveable characters?

Yes: 63% | It's complicated: 21% | No: 13% | N/A: 1%

Diverse cast of characters?

No: 85% | It's complicated: 8% | Yes: 4% | N/A: 2%

Flaws of characters a main focus?

Yes: 79% | It's complicated: 10% | No: 8% | N/A: 1%

Average rating