The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu

For anyone who didn’t know, The Kingdom of Back is a STANDALONE and is a retelling of sorts of Nannerl Mozart’s story—Wolfgang Mozart’s sister, who was an equally prodigious musician and whom he was really close with. From the first page to the last, it’s full of music and magic and a girl who just wants more than anything to be remembered. Hers is a story that will stay with you long after you’ve closed the last page. It’ll sit with you like a memory made in music playing on repeat in your head and your heart.

I can’t get over how beautifully lyrical the writing was in this book. It was like one big elaborate piece of music and I adored it. Something about the whole vibe it gave the story makes me feel warm and soft. It’s like the words translated to music and were vibrating quietly inside of me the entire time I was reading it. Even just thinking about this book makes my heart feel full to the point of bursting with a song I can’t find the words to sing. This whole book is magic. Marie Lu has a gift for writing that I will never not be in awe of.

Reading this story and knowing that Nannerl was a real person in the history of time somehow adds a newfound depth to this story. Marie Lu wanted to write this book to give a voice to a girl who didn’t get the opportunity (or have the liberty) to have one and I truly can’t express how effectively she managed to do just that. She didn’t just bring Nannerl’s voice to life—she brought HER to life and immortalised her in time, right here in this book. The feelings that follow that realisation hit hardest when you’ve read the whole book and understand the significance of it. (It was in fact reading the Author’s Letter at the end of the book that pushed all the warm feelings out of me in the form of tears, so I HIGHLY recommend you don’t shut the book and put it away before reading that—the story isn’t over until you’ve read the reason it was written!)

The sibling relationship in this book was such a rare and special one and it made me treasure this book so much more. I can’t even begin to find the words to find how touched and moved I was by the relationship between Nannerl and her little brother, Wolfgang. It built this book to what it was and made me really think hard about a lot of things—I don’t know how to explain without spoiling, but you’ll get what I mean when you read the story!

Look, the truth is, we’ve all been Nannerl at some point in our lives—if we aren’t currently. All anyone wants in life is to be good at something and to be remembered for it. We crave that validation. I think that’s a piece of ourselves we can all connect with Nannerl and it made her story feel like everyone’s story. Add to that fact that it was so easy to put myself into her shoes and feel the way she did. There was something that felt really personal about this book. An attachement that makes you ache. This book will make itself a part of you whether you want it to or not.

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