THE KINGDOM by Jess Rothenberg


Age Range: 13 - 18
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Ana is flawless, and she lives in a fantastical place of perfection where her job is to please.

Ana and her Fantasist “sisters” are human/animatronic hybrids. They perform as gorgeous princesses for paying guests in the Kingdom, a kind of futuristic Disneyland. At night they settle in for update installations, their wrists bound with velvet straps to their beds. But hybrid creatures throughout the Kingdom, from butterfly to polar bear, are starting to malfunction. The Fantasist women are acting out of character too. Ana finds herself having strange sensations such as desire and anger…feelings. As Ana evolves, she begins to wonder why her sisters can’t remember what happens behind the scenes when powerful visitors get time alone with the Fantasists. And then—as punishment for a bizarre act of violence—one of her sisters is abruptly replaced. As her discernment and fear grow, so does Ana’s obsession with 19-year-old Taiwanese-American Owen Chen. The textured narrative unfolds through court documents, trial transcripts, and first-person narration from Ana, cleverly conveying her motivations. This sublime blend of The Stepford Wives and Westworld is richly composed and intricately plotted. Ana and most major characters are white; there is some diversity among the Fantasists.

Breathtakingly imagines humanity entangled with artificial intelligence. (map) (Fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: May 28th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-250-29385-5
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2019


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