I Wanted to Be Like You: A Review of The Kingdom of Back

34213299. sy475 Two siblings. Two brilliant talents. But only one Mozart.

Born with a gift for music, Nannerl Mozart has just one wish—to be remembered forever. But even as she delights audiences with her masterful playing, she has little hope she’ll ever become the acclaimed composer she longs to be. She is a young woman in 18th century Europe, and that means composing is forbidden to her. She will perform only until she reaches a marriageable age—her tyrannical father has made that much clear.

And as Nannerl’s hope grows dimmer with each passing year, the talents of her beloved younger brother, Wolfgang, only seem to shine brighter. His brilliance begins to eclipse her own, until one day a mysterious stranger from a magical land appears with an irresistible offer. He has the power to make her wish come true—but his help may cost her everything.

Hoo. Okay.

I went into this book with the highest of hopes. Mozart, my favorite composer? Check. Salzburg, my favorite place on earth? Also check. Fantasy? Heck yes, check.

But why did it fall a bit flat for me?

I truly loved Nannerl, and her willpower. She knew she was just as talented as her baby brother, and knew that they would take the world by storm. I guess I just found her motivation a bit lacking?

Hyacinth, the princeling from another world, promises her that if she helps him, he will do whatever he can to make sure she’s never forgotten. Seems like a pretty great bargain, if I’m being honest. Steal a flower, steal a sword, and steal a crossbow. Not too outrageous.

But her jealousy over how much attention Wolferl gets is a bit…much. She knew he would be more prized than she, based solely on the fact that he’s a boy. Leopold Mozart, daddy Mozart, just…sucks, honestly. Yes, it’s the whole we-didn’t-value-women-on-the-whole-until-the-1800s thing, but dang.

Usually, Marie Lu’s books are five star reads for me, because she creates these amazing worlds. I wish I could say the same for this one.

What should have been a home run turned into a frustration. I give The Kingdom of Back 3.5 out of 5 clavichords. Thank you to BookishFirst for providing a copy in exchange for review.

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