Kingdom of Secrets
Published August 3, 2021
About Kingdom of Secrets
Prismena’s father is the hot air balloonist in the peaceful kingdom of Oren. She assists him by mending torn balloons, but she yearns to build and fly the complicated machines herself. One day, a waif named Abi steals Prissy’s only remaining memento of her deceased mother – a silk scarf – and promises to return it only if Prissy smuggles a mysterious box onto one of her father’s flights. Since balloon travel is strictly regulated in Oren, that single act of rebellion results in her father’s arrest and kicks off a spiraling series of events that will yank Prissy out of her predictable life.
Along the way to free her father from jail, she’ll get caught up in a bar fight, nabbed by a sadistic schoolmistress, tossed into a home for unwanted children, schooled in the art of stealing, and thrust into the center of a brewing rebellion. On her journey through Oren – with its glitzy neighborhoods and its seedy underbelly – Prismena will uncover secrets that change the way she views her family, her kingdom, herself, and even her beloved hot air balloons. She’ll have to break a few rules – and even forge metal – to save the people she loves, but she may also get a chance to soar.
I love books featuring main characters with unusual interests, so when I learned about Prismena’s love for hot air balloons, I already loved this book. I had a lot of fun reading it. It’s a sweet story, but it does have some darker moments. Some chapters are written in Italics and tell a story from the past, and that has a lot more tragedy than the chapters from Prismena’s perspective.
The story really centers around Prismena and Abi. At first Prismena is hesitant to get involved in the revolution with Abi, but as she learns more about what’s truly happening in the kingdom as well as some new things about her own past, she begins to feel like fighting may be her only option. I felt like that transformation was well done and felt true to her character. I also really enjoyed the way that her interest in inventing things and flying hot air balloons were worked into the story.
I think readers who enjoyed THE DRAGON WITH THE CHOCOLATE HEART by Stephanie Burgis or THE UNICORN QUEST by Kamilla Benko will love this book.
Recommended for Ages 8 to 12.
Prismena is white but Abi is Black.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
A woman runs away to marry the man she loves.
References to and some descriptions of child abuse. Soldiers murder a man in front of his wife.
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