The Kingdom of What Is

Children - Fantasy/Sci-Fi
186 Pages
Reviewed on 10/16/2018
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Caitlin Lyle Farley for Readers' Favorite

Thirteen-year-old Kate struggles to adjust after her parents split up and her father leaves. One day, she leaves school early and goes to the park across from her home. Here, she receives a strange gift from a crow with a single white feather. Kate pursues the crow through a rose hedge and into the woods, a place her father always called the Time Out Woods. But this is not the place she remembers from countless walks with her family; here it’s summer and the strawberries are ripe. The pond is home to beavers and not old tires and rotting rubbish. Somehow, Kate has been transported to a magical world, and the Kingdom of What Is fast becomes an escape from the troubles of the real world. But the kingdom has its own problems, as Kate learns when people with faded features and vanished limbs capture her.

The Kingdom of What Is can be described as one part whimsical adventure and one part situational fantasy tackling the emotional turmoil young teenagers face when their parents separate. Karl Petersen crafts subtle yet meaningful metaphors through The Kingdom of What Is and these fold in well with the unusual personalities and plans of the monarchy to defend their kingdom from a cunning and persuasive villain. Kate’s relationship with her younger brother, Gavin, is so relatable, as is the friendship she shares with her best friend, Analyse, and Kate’s indecisive crush on Nolan. Fans of Lewis’s The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe will find much to love in this novel.