The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu

This was so magical. I loved every second of it. Marie Lu officially owns my heart after this book.

Two siblings, two brilliant talents, but only one Mozart. Born with the gift of music, Nannerl Mozart has only one wish–to be remembered. But even as she delights audiences with her playing, Nannerl aches to be able to compose her own music. However, as a woman in the 18th century, it’s forbidden to her. As her 18th birthday continues to approach, Nannerl dreads what will happen to her as her father has made it abundantly clear that she will only perform until she is a marriageable age.

With every passing year, Nannerl’s hope grows dimmer and her younger brother’s talent only seems to grow. When a mysterious stranger named Hyacinth appears to her one day, he brings her an irresistible offer. Help him win back his mysterious kingdom and he will grant her wish. But who is Hyacinth truly and what will this bargain cost Nannerl?

I am a sucker for sibling stories. Especially ones where they have a close relationship. Nannerl and Wolfgang aka Wolferl were an example of this. I loved how close they were and how the Kingdom of Back starts as a story they made up together. Their love and support for each other was so precious. I was so sad that they did distance themselves from one another as they grew older. I wished there was a way for them both to be successful composers, but alas that is not the world of 18th century Europe.

The magic of the Kingdom of Back was so cool. It gave me a lot of Wintersong vibes, even though there are no goblins. I was swept away by Marie’s magical world and lyrical prose. This is a story I will not forget soon. There were so many times I was so close to tears because of the strain of success on both Nannerl and Wolferl’s shoulders and the unfairness to Nannerl just because she was a woman. The author’s note at the end did make me cry though. So many feels in this book and I already want to reread it.

I cannot wait for Lu’s next novel, it will not come soon enough.

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