The Kingdom of Back

Marie Lu. Putnam, $18.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-5247-3901-0
Lu (Rebel) deftly layers fantastical elements and historical fiction to craft an expansive tale of rivalry based on two Mozart siblings, both talented pianists and composers. In 1759 Salzburg, eight-year-old Marianne “Nannerl” Mozart is poised to play in front of royalty, but the audience she must first impress is distracted when her younger brother, the nearly four-year-old Wolfgang “Woferl,” enters the room, leading to a small error in her playing. Blaming Woferl for the mistake and fearful of his burgeoning talent, Nannerl makes a wish that is heard by a magical entity, Hyacinth; he promises to help Nannerl achieve immortality through her music if she helps him regain his crown in the Kingdom of Back. Initially the siblings are intrigued, enjoying adventures in the fantastical kingdom, where they explore magical grottos and outsmart a witch, but when things take a darker turn, Nannerl begins to understand that she has entered a Faustian pact. Carefully constructing a magical kingdom while crafting the historical cities of Europe where the Mozarts played as children, Lu shows her knack for creating detailed worlds while seamlessly building a complicated sibling relationship with a balance of rivalry and love. Ages 12–up. Agent: Kristin Nelson, Kristin Nelson Literary Agency. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 01/23/2020
Release date: 03/03/2020
Genre: Children's
Library Binding - 978-1-4328-7630-2
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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