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Kingdom of Without

November 28

Illustrated cover for Kingdom of Without. The background is a cyberpunk cityscape of an industrial-looking area of Beijing. Three teens are in the foreground. One is a girl who is crouched down to face the viewer. She has a cybernetic right arm and left leg, and there's a red light near her left eye. Behind her are two boys, one wearing red armor and a demon-esque horned mask, holding a staff, and the other more in shadow, wearing a bandoleer  across his chest, a pauldron, with something dangling from his hand.Kingdom of Without by Andrea Tang
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

When Zhong Ning’er takes the job, she expects a smash-and-grab burglary she’s doing to make rent and help out a friend. What she doesn’t expect: a sad-eyed army boy who dreams of insurrection, a former rebel leader trapped inside a secret lab, a group of aspiring revolutionaries who are first collaborators, then compatriots, and then, perhaps, friends.

But this is Beijing, nearly a hundred and fifty years after General Yuan Shikai successfully declared himself emperor in 1915. His descendants rule the country from their seat in the imperial city, their gendarmerie—the Beiyang Army—run the streets, aided by cyborgs and the Brocade Guard. Walls have risen, dividing the city into districts called Rings—nominally only by geography, but in truth by class. Earthquakes devastate the northern farmlands, crops drown in the southern typhoons, and all over the country people are hooked on a drug they call Complacency.

As a Sixth Ring girl who watched previous uprisings crushed brutally by the court, Ning’er isn’t much of an optimist, and she’s certainly no revolutionary. But that might not be up to her—as the stakes get higher, the time for passivity is quickly running out, and she must decide if she wants to sit idly in her cynicism, or embrace the breathless, terrible possibility of hope.


November 28
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