The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu | Teen Ink

The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu

May 18, 2022
By Bella_Queen DIAMOND, Plymouth, Ohio
Bella_Queen DIAMOND, Plymouth, Ohio
81 articles 25 photos 79 comments

Favorite Quote:
Keep your face always toward the sunshine and shadows will fall behind you.
-Walt Whitman

The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu was shockingly lyrical. When I opened it and learned all about Nannerl Mozart, the forgotten sister of Wolfgang Mozart, I was immediately enamored. The world is lush, the message beautiful, and the bond between brother and sister touching. Marie Lu struck me dumb with her gorgeous writing style and insightful Author’s Note that is a must-read for fans of her work.

The story follows Nannerl Mozart and her fantastical journey through the fictional Kingdom of Back. Gliding through life feeling forgotten, Nannerl agrees to help the Princeling of Back, Hyacinth, regain his throne. In return, he promises he will help her leave a mark on the world that will ensure her immortality through history. But are his inventions pure?

Nannerl is the reason I got so swept up in the pages of The Kingdom of Back. Her wish to be remembered, at a time when women were considered less-than, made me want to cry. I found myself holding my breath at each turn of conflict, and crying for Nannerl when life threw her for a curve. She was so special, and I felt as though I was right there next to her, following her on her adventures and mourning the things that she mourned. Honestly, I wish such amazingly real women were not lost to history, hidden behind famous brothers, fathers, or husbands. 

Lu created Nannerl with such care and you can see that in her other characters. Wolfgang was just so pure and sweet. His love for his sister made me smile, and I was just as frightened for him as Nannerl. Hyacinth, however, I always harbored a deep suspicion of which I find was Marie Lu’s intention. She is a genius when it comes to making us feel such powerful emotions for her characters.

With the world, I also felt a strong connection. The premise reminded me a lot of Lu’s other book, The Young Elites. Both MCs felt lonely and lost, and the gothic yet magical feel of it all was very similar. Both worlds were extremely immersive, and I was shocked that the Kingdom of Back was a world the real Mozarts had created as children. The upside down trees, grotto, and field of edelweiss felt so real and I swear I saw mushrooms growing atop the pages of this book! Marie not only built such 3-Dimensional characters, she also created a world brimming with originality and fantastical elements.

Plot-wise, I was surprised that it kept my attention. I expected to lose interest in the halfway mark and just be going through the motions of reading, but Lu expertly weaved both a creative and realistic story. The dynamic between Nannerl and her brother and the amazingly original tasks she has to complete for Hyacinth were highlights. I loved seeing a brother-sister relationship that could break but mend itself just as fast. The conflicts were also expertly done and helped weave a solid portrait of how women were treated back then. All in all, the plot was solid.

To conclude, The Kingdom of Back was written beautifully, with a completely original and immersive world and a main character who tugged at your heartstrings. However, the thing that really takes the cake is Marie Lu’s Author’s note, which dives into her inspiration and gives you some background on the forgotten Mozart. Never will I forget this book and I hope plenty of readers will take up this delightful read!

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