Review: The Electric Kingdom by David Arnold
If you’ve read David’s other stories, you know the characters come first and the plot next. And by characters I mean the the people and the world building, which plays a critical role in The Electric Kingdom. Check out my thoughts below, and preorder The Electric Kingdom before it releases on February 9th!
TY Penguin Teen for the ARC, which does not impact my thoughts below.
The Electric Kingdomby David Arnold
Published by: Viking Books for Young Readers
on February 9, 2021
Genres: Young Adult, Sci-Fi
When a deadly Fly Flu sweeps the globe, it leaves a shell of the world that once was. Among the survivors are eighteen-year-old Nico and her dog, on a voyage devised by Nico's father to find a mythical portal; a young artist named Kit, raised in an old abandoned cinema; and the enigmatic Deliverer, who lives Life after Life in an attempt to put the world back together. As swarms of infected Flies roam the earth, these few survivors navigate the woods of post-apocalyptic New England, meeting others along the way, each on their own quest to find life and light in a world gone dark. The Electric Kingdom is a sweeping exploration of love, art, storytelling, eternal life, and above all, a testament to the notion that even in an exterminated world, one person might find beauty in another.
While most YA stories drop you in the middle of the action, The Electric Kingdom slowly unrolls the world through a variety of experiences.
You have the adults, who lived in the before. Before a deadly pandemic swept the world. The world we currently live in. You have the youth, Nico and Kit, who live in a lonely world without the social constructs we are so accustomed to.
And then you have The Deliverer, a mysterious entity that reminds you this isn’t your typical apocalyptic book. This isn’t the apocalypse story of the early 2010s, where teens are trying to save the world. These youth are trying to save their humanity and understand the world they live in – and shifting it into the future, rather than changing back to the before. I’ll just leave it at that.
The scary part of this book is that it takes place in a not too distant future, primarily in the 2040s but beginning in 2025. As a person living through a current pandemic, a fictional pandemic that is started by humanity trying to genetically engineer an actual problem hits a little different. David, is there something we need to know?
The world is brutal and David does not shy away from describing it that way. These kids have had to grow up far too fast, running for their lives as swarms of deadly flies literally carry off their loved ones, never to be seen again. Through Nico and Kit’s eyes, we see the world and their motivations. The ending left me in tears and wanting more, satisfied and uplifted…needless to say, I felt a lot of things.
And yes, the dog makes it in the end.
cw: pandemic, suicide, murder, and a bunch of unnecessary HP references.