Review: Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips

Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips

on July 2017
Genres: Adult Fiction
Pages: 288
Format: Physical Book
Source: Bought
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4 Stars

An electrifying novel about the primal and unyielding bond between a mother and her son, and the lengths she’ll go to protect him.

The zoo is nearly empty as Joan and her four-year-old son soak up the last few moments of playtime. They are happy, and the day has been close to perfect. But what Joan sees as she hustles her son toward the exit gate minutes before closing time sends her sprinting back into the zoo, her child in her arms. And for the next three hours—the entire scope of the novel—she keeps on running.

Joan’s intimate knowledge of her son and of the zoo itself—the hidden pathways and under-renovation exhibits, the best spots on the carousel and overstocked snack machines—is all that keeps them a step ahead of danger

You didn't go to the zoo this afternoon, did you? Let me know asap.

And so begins the thrilling and terrifying book of Joan and her son Lincoln, trapped in the zoo as gunmen hunt the walkways.

This was my Book of the Month pick (more on that another day) and I have to admit that I have been dying to read it since it showed up in my mailbox a couple of weeks ago. Finally sat down with it this week and wow, I was not disappointed. The mere fact that I can’t star another book until I’ve calmed down from this one should say something.

Being a new mom myself, I completely empathize with Joan, her deep love and concern for Lincoln and the sheer and total terror she feels when she realizes the zoo is under attack. As she navigates her surroundings through the dark paths, hiding where she can, I felt a keen sense of compassion and fear for them. Lincoln, in all his beautiful innocence as a child, is her most prized person in the world and also the one that could draw the men directly to her.

We also get a glimpse or two into one of the gunmen, and a couple of the other people who are trapped in the zoo.

The lengths Joan will go to protect Lincoln are both heroic and cowardly, yet completely understandable. It is her son and herself that she is worried about. And while we all want to be heroes in an action movie, real circumstances like this may prove us to be otherwise.

There is one scene that totally gutted me, which I won’t reveal but when you get to it, yeah. It was that one. I can’t even. I’m not sure what I would have done, but I don’t think I can blame her. Yet, I do. (It involves a trash can.) And I have to admit that I do wish there was a map of the zoo included. The zoo is it’s own character, along with the animals inside and I felt a little turned around while I was reading. I wish I was able to visualize the setting better. I got a little lost in relation to where everything was, especially towards the end when so much happened so fast.

In general, Fierce Kingdom was exactly what I hoped it would be. Thrilling, fast paced, edge of your seat. I felt a real sense of terror for all of the characters. I think anyone who reads this will be white knuckled holding the book, unable to sleep, heart racing. I was.


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