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All booksYoung adultThe Kingdom of Back
The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu
Young adult

The Kingdom of Back

by Marie Lu

Quick take

Mozart’s older sister makes the deal of a lifetime to secure the same musical opportunities as her prodigal brother.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Feminist


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FamilyDrama

    Family drama

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Magical


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Real-life-characters

    Real-life characters

Why I love it

Juliann Nelson
Content Producer, Fortune

I was beyond excited when I heard that Marie Lu would be tackling historical fiction—based on the Mozart family, no less—in her newest book, The Kingdom of Back. As a major band geek, I loved getting to read about Mozart’s lesser-known, but equally talented, sister and the lush fantasy world she finds herself drawn into.

Everyone knows the name Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, but his older sister Nannerl, a talented performer and genius composer, wants to be remembered, too. A daunting task made near impossible by an unsupportive father and a society that doesn’t recognize women composers. When a strange figure from a mythical land offers to make her wish come true, Nannerl has to learn who she can trust and what she’s willing to give up to be remembered.

As with Lu’s other novels, The Kingdom of Back has that something special that keeps me, and many others, coming back for more. Longtime fans will love seeing Lu stretch her creative muscles in a totally new setting, and new readers will enjoy an excellently crafted, utterly entrancing book on one of history’s forgotten figures.

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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.

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Get an early look from the first pages of The Kingdom of Back.

Member thoughts

All (449)
All (449)
Love (170)
Like (222)
Dislike (57)
471 ratings
  • 36% Love
  • 47% Like
  • 12% Dislike
  • Marina Del Rey, CA

    Not my usual genre, but wanted to learn more about Mozart's sister who may have also been a prodigy and possibly more talented than her brother. I also enjoyed the fantasy elements of this book.

  • Portland, OR

    The magical realm within this book was exquisitely established and there was a combined sense of wonder and horror throughout. Would highly suggest for anyone who loves music as well as fantasy

  • Chicopee, MA

    This was such a feminist read in a quiet way while telling a story about a historical figure I have never heard about. I recommend to anyone who loves history, classical music and magic.

  • Colchester, CT

    the setup through the entire story for the climactic ending was amazing. I loved the connection of the real world to the mystical created kingdoms, magical realism at its best.

  • Windermere, FL

    Beautiful balance between real and fantasy world. Intriguing blend of feminism. Perspective is eye-opening, since not many know of Mozart's sister and her prodigal talent.

  • Stuart, IA

    A wonderful mix of fantasy and historical fiction. I would say it's higher on the side of historical fiction. I loved the way it blended Wolfgang with his sister Nanerl.

  • Phoenix, AZ

    The writing was gorgeous and the story interesting. Watching Nannerl's growth as she is torn between her own needs and those of her family was incredible. Loved it!

  • Springfield, MO

    This book was so unique and was a real page turner for me once I got into it. It is very slow paced but that why I liked it so much. Highly recommend!

  • Gladstone, ND

    Marie Lu has done it again. I love her descriptive writing style. I was transported to the Mozarts life with the adventures is the Kingdom of Back.

  • Golden, CO

    She weaves a fairy tale with edge, familiar enough that you know it, but you different enough you dont know it all. Loved the unique spin on history.

  • Lehi, UT

    Beautifully written. Had the fantastical elements of the Kingdom of Back not been added, this would have been quite a sad story. Beautifully done.

  • Thornton , CO

    This was a beautiful book! It was a bit darker than I expected, but the descriptions of the Kingdom and how she related to music were wonderful.

  • Warner Robins, GA

    The ending was bittersweet, but I loved the feel of a fairytale or a folklore being told to me with historically famous characters!

  • Alfred, NY

    I'd never really read about Mozart and his life so it was a fascinating read but also extremely enjoyable with the fantasy twist.

  • Fords, NJ

    This story captures me from the beginning - a new and fresh concept that brings you into a beautiful and magical world.

  • Winona, MN

    Such a great Historical Fiction story. Loved every minute of it. Helped me forget my own world for a while ????

  • Dacula, GA

    Nonnerl’s story was so incredible and a sobering reminder of how marginalized people were kept from the arts!

  • Annapolis, MD

    I love historical fantasy, forgotten women of history, and creepy faeries. This book has all of that.

  • Irving, TX

    Loved the blend of historical fiction and fantasy and how musical the writing itself felt.


    I loved the entwining of history and fantasy. The music aspect of it was so entrancing.

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