The Kingdoms

- Natasha Pulley

Goodreads Book Blurb:

Joe Tournier has a bad case of amnesia. His first memory is of stepping off a train in the nineteenth-century French colony of England. The only clue Joe has about his identity is a century-old postcard of a Scottish lighthouse that arrives in London the same month he does. Written in illegal English—instead of French—the postcard is signed only with the letter “M,” but Joe is certain whoever wrote it knows him far better than he currently knows himself, and he’s determined to find the writer. The search for M, though, will drive Joe from French-ruled London to rebel-owned Scotland and finally onto the battle ships of a lost empire’s Royal Navy. In the process, Joe will remake history, and himself.


My Review:

meh, nothing special:
I tried to DNF The Kingdoms at least four times. Every single time, the overwhelmingly positive reviews convinced me to keep going. I will admit that the narrative started to pick up around halfway through, but I struggled to connect and become engaged in the story. I kept hoping for a twist or a surprise – anything to make my commitment to reading worthwhile. Unfortunately, the predictability let me down.

Pulley seems to be on a mission to write as few words as possible; the writing is bare-bones to the point that the emotions are unrealistic. I had to keep going back to reread to figure out if I had skipped something to make the scene make sense. Jumping from one thing to the next, you had to intuit the actions behind the words.

A wry little voice pointed out that you were unquestionably in hot water when you were grateful for a familiar murderer.

I know there’s a big Missouri Kite fandom out there, and I definitely understand that. My heart broke for his loneliness and circumstances, but he makes it hard to root for him …
… particularly when he goes around murdering people for the most insignificant reasons.
His need to keep secrets from Joe, in my opinion, is a massive plot hole.
Why is it okay to tell him everything on the third (or fourth?) meeting but not any of the other times?

Kite believed strongly that, whether you liked it or not, five minutes with someone kind and clever was cleansing, like green tea, or confession.

The Kingdoms didn’t wow me, and while the concept was interesting, the narrative was too convoluted. Everything seemed much more complicated than it needed to be, and the characters’ personalities were inconsistent and difficult to pin down. It feels like I could have DNFed this one without missing out on too much.

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