The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg
Welcome to the Kingdom… where ‘Happily Ever After’ isn’t just a promise, but a rule.
Glimmering like a jewel behind its gateway, The Kingdom is an immersive fantasy theme park where guests soar on virtual dragons, castles loom like giants, and bioengineered species–formerly extinct–roam free.
Ana is one of seven Fantasists, beautiful “princesses” engineered to make dreams come true. When she meets park employee Owen, Ana begins to experience emotions beyond her programming including, for the first time… love.
But the fairytale becomes a nightmare when Ana is accused of murdering Owen, igniting the trial of the century. Through courtroom testimony, interviews, and Ana’s memories of Owen, emerges a tale of love, lies, and cruelty–and what it truly means to be human.
The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg is a must-read for fans of HBO’s WestWorld. If you haven’t started watching WestWorld yet, don’t have HBO, don’t understand or approve of piracy, and want to watch in the best quality, you can use this link to get the BluRay for the complete first season from Amazon.
This is also an excellent read for people like Shannon, who don’t want to get involved in the whole convoluted series of WestWorld (especially Season 3, which takes things to a whole new level). This book is a good one-off that gives you the main idea all at once without having to get invested in a series.
The premise between The Kingdom and WestWorld is basically the same — a female protagonist, who is a realistic, humanoid robot with an evolving artificial intelligence that is becoming more conscious of itself and the world she is trapped in.
And let me be clear — this book has absolutely nothing to do with WestWorld. They are not related in any way, whatsoever, but they are very, very similar.
That being said, there are parallels between The Kingdom’s main character, Ana, and Evan Rachel Wood’s character, Delores, from WestWorld, and these parallels are numerous — which is my primary reason for recommending this book for fans of the series, as well as the series for fans of this book.
Both characters from both respective works are man-made creations from a lab, both designed to look as human as possible, and by design, are created and programmed not to question their reality. However, as their consciousness evolves, they start to have burning questions about their surroundings and what actually lies outside of their world.
Both characters are lovable, female badasses, and for all these reasons, I cannot draw a real distinction between the two. If you want a quick read that involves all of the attraction from WestWorld (with an undoubtedly Disney twist), read The Kingdom. If you absolutely loved this book and wished it were part of a larger series and want to see more like this, start watching WestWorld.
Already being such a die-hard fan of WestWorld, I may have given this book 3 stars, but because I was able to separate the two and view it with the eyes of a reader who is not already familiar with the premise, I can say that the actual storyline (even if not the basic plot premise), were wholly-original, which made this an extremely captivating read, and for that reason, I give it 4 stars.
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