The Kingdom of Back
The Kingdom of Back

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Annotation: "Desperate to be forever remembered for her music, Nannerl Mozart makes a dangerous pact with a mysterious stranger from a magical land, which may cost her everything"-- cProvided by publisher.
Catalog Number: #255303
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright Date: 2021
Edition Date: 2021
Pages: 313 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-524-73903-0 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-8943-8
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-524-73903-4 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-8943-1
Dewey: Fic
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
The author's name recognition, a beautifully evocative cover, and a feminist angle on Mozart's older sister, Nannerl (a talented pianist and composer in her own right), will have readers grabbing for Lu's latest title. Basing her story loosely on facts lfgang and Nannerl were indeed very close, the children were in fact paraded through the courts of Europe, and their father absolutely did not nurture what could have been a wonderful musical career for Nannerl, because of her gender uses the Mozart children's history as backdrop for what is primarily a fantasy revolving around a Faustian deal. Nannerl meets the compelling Hyacinth, princeling of an enchantingly beautiful magical kingdom that she and Wolfgang visit, and he agrees to help her achieve recognition of her musical talent r a price. Betrayal, illness, and estrangement follow, and Nannerl ultimately accepts her fate as a wife and mother rather than musician and composer. An affecting epilogue finds Nannerl a grown woman with children of her own, revisiting her beloved brother's memories and the disintegration of her own dream.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: As Lu adds to her ever-expanding repertoire with this historical fantasy, her legion of fans will only grow, too.
Kirkus Reviews
The year clavier prodigy Maria Anna Mozart's younger brother, Wolfgang Amadeus, begins to show an even more astonishing musical genius, a mysterious boy from a fairy land enters her life.Lu (Rebel, 2019, etc.) interweaves 18th-century historical figures and events with a fantasy land called the Kingdom of Back, an alternate world actually invented and named by the real Mozart siblings, Nannerl and Woferl, where trees grow upside down and a prince and princess are missing. Hyacinth, a beautiful, shadowy boy, pale and blue-eyed, is the go-between who offers Nannerl figurative immortality in return for her help. As Nannerl craves her father's attention and wishes to escape the inevitable anonymity that womanhood promises, she agrees. Over the next decade, she straddles both worlds, performing, composing, and navigating relationships with Woferl and her domineering father in one while battling supernatural foes for Hyacinth in the other. But as she grows, so do her doubts. Is Hyacinth the benevolent fairy he claims to be? Is success at her brother's expense really what she wanted? Lu's melding of history and fantasy is a clever idea, but the Kingdom of Back and its denizens feel like stock figures compiled from generic fairy tales in contrast to her portrayal of the real Mozarts' lives, which is much more remarkable, emotional, and compelling than the fantasy land.A historical fiction/fantasy mashup with crossover appeal. (maps, author's note) (Historical fantasy. 12-18)
Publishers Weekly
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
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 7 Up Sci-fi/fantasy heavy-hitter Lu brings her talents to historical fiction in this magic-infused telling of the lives of the young Mozart siblings. Nannerl Mozart, elder sister to Wolfgang, is skilled enough at the clavier that her father believes she could gain renown as a child prodigy. Her passion for music extends beyond her exacting father's expectationsshe composes music in secret, dreaming of achieving fame despite it being a craft forbidden to women. But as she grows and Woferl's superlative talents begin to become apparent, Nannerl realizes that it is assumed she will eventually abandon her art to become a wife and mother while Woferl pursues musical glory. Hope arrives unexpectedly one quiet afternoon when a magical world opens up to the siblings: the Kingdom of Back, a faerie realm illuminated by twin moons, populated by forests of mysterious trees whose roots stretch up into the sky, with edelweiss blanketing the ground. Hyacinth, the mysterious fae-like boy who inhabits the forests, promises that if Nannerl completes tasks for him, he will grant her deepest wishes. But as the years pass and events in the Kingdom of Back correspond unsettlingly to real-world calamities, Nannerl begins to question Hyacinth's true motives and weigh her intense desire to be remembered against potential consequences and her fierce love for her brother. Lu strikes a perfect harmony between fantasy and historical fiction that is at once satisfyingly intricate and excitingly paced. In Nannerl she has created a passionate voice that will resonate particularly with readers learning to wield small defiances as the large weapons they can be. VERDICT A beautifully composed historical fantasy that will enthrall readers, especially those with music in their hearts. A first purchase. Darla Salva Cruz, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
School Library Journal Starred Review (1/1/20)
ALA Booklist (12/1/19)
Horn Book (8/1/20)
Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
Word Count: 87,974
Reading Level: 5.6
Interest Level: 7-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.6 / points: 14.0 / quiz: 507240 / grade: Upper Grades
Lexile: HL790L
SALZBURG, AUSTRIA
1759
 
MOZART BY THE OCEAN
 
Sometimes, a day comes along that seems possessed by a certain shade of magic. You know those moments. There is a peculiar pattern to the silhouettes of leaves quivering against the sunbeam on the floor. The dust in the air glows white, charmed. Your voice is a note suspended in the breeze. The sounds outside your window seem very far away, songs of another world, and you imagine that this is the moment just before something unusual happens. Perhaps it is happening right now.
 
My day of magic arrived on a bright autumn morning, when the poplar trees swayed against a golden city. I had recently turned eight years old. My brother, Wolfgang, was not yet four.
 
I was still playing through my exercises when Papa came through the door with Herr Schachtner at his side, the two of them discussing some matter or other about the archbishop, their hair blown wispy from the bustle of the Getreidegasse, the city's main thoroughfare, on which our home stood.
 
I paused in the middle of my arpeggios and folded my hands in my lap. Even now, I can remember the uneven stitching of my blue petticoat, my white hands against black clavier keys, the skeleton leaves clinging to Herr Schachtner's shoulders. His voice had been steeped in something rich and baritone. The scent of the street-- wind and smoke and baked bread--lingered like a perfume on his coat.
 
My lips were rosy and dry. My hair stayed neatly curled behind my neck in loose dark waves, held back with pins. I was still too young to fuss over my appearance, so my mother had left me in a simple state.
 
"Herr Schachtner!" My mother's voice sweetened with surprise at the sound of men in the room. She said this as if we were not expecting him at all, the esteemed court trumpeter of Salzburg, as if we had not planned everything in advance for his visit. "Such talk of the archbishop and the orchestra, it's no wonder you and my husband are always tired. Sebastian," she added, nodding at our manservant. "The Herr's coat and hat."
 
Sebastian hung up the court trumpeter's belongings. They were finely made, velvet encrusted with gold lining, his hat made of beaver pelt and trimmed with lace. Beside them, my father's coat appeared worn, the threads thin at the elbows. My eyes wandered to the hem of my mother's dress--it was fraying, the color dull. We were the look of a family forever on the edge of respectable.
 
My father was too busy with our guest to pay me any mind, but Mama noticed the stiffness in my posture and the paleness of my cheeks. She gave me an encouraging glance as she passed me.
 
Steady, little one, she had said to me earlier in the morning. You have practiced hard for this. Do not be nervous.
 
I kept her words in mind and tried to loosen my shoulders. But Papa had timed their arrival a bit too early this morning. I had only played my scales so far. My fingers had not yet shaken the cold from their tips, and when I pressed down on the keys, they still felt as if they were somewhere far away.
 
My brother stayed mercifully out of sight today, hiding somewhere in our parents' bedroom, no doubt up to some mischief. I hoped he would remain quiet until Herr Schachtner left, or at least until I finished playing.
 
The Herr gave Mama a warm smile that crinkled the edges of his mouth and molded his face into a pleasant sight. "Ah, Frau Mozart," he replied, winking at her as he kissed her hand. "I always tell Leopold how lucky he is to have found the rare woman with a good ear."
 
My mother blushed and thanked him for his kind words. Her skirts glided against the floor as she curtsied. "I can only claim my gifted ear from my father," she told him. "He was a talented musician, you know."
 
As she moved, I memorized the polite tilt of her head and the way she tucked a stray hair behind her ear. Somewhere in those movements must have been her true reaction to his statement, but her face remained as it always was, serene and secretive, sweet and mild. It was clear she pleased the Herr, because his grin broadened.
 
"Yes, God has blessed me in many ways," my father said. His smile was coiled as tightly as my nerves. His eyes flashed in my direction, hard and glittering. "Nannerl inherits her good ear from her mother, as you'll soon see."
 
It was my unspoken cue. At my father's words, I rose obediently from my bench to greet our guest. Papa disliked it when I curtsied without stepping away from the clavier or let my gaze wander anywhere that was not the floor. He said it made visitors think me a distracted and careless young lady.
 
I could not give Herr Schachtner any reason to find me rude.
 
Serene and sweet. I thought of Mama and tried to imitate the way she had lowered her head just so, the demure way she'd swept her skirts across the floor. Still, my curiosity stirred, and my eyes darted immediately to the court trumpeter's hands, searching for proof of musical talent in the way his fingers moved.
 
Mama called for Sebastian to bring some coffee and tea, but Papa waved her off. "Later," he said. It was best, perhaps, if the Herr did not see our porcelain set. I pictured the old saucers with their small chips, the teapot's fading paint. Mama had begged him for a new one for proper company, but it had been ages since we had a reason to entertain such guests. Until today.

Excerpted from The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu comes a historical YA fantasy about a musical prodigy and the dangerous lengths she'll go to make history remember her. Now in paperback.

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.

In her first work of historical fiction, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu spins a lush, lyrically-told story of music, magic, and the unbreakable bond between a brother and sister.


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