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Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips
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Fierce Kingdom

by Gin Phillips

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Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
The Short of It:

A tense, gripping story about a woman and her young son fighting to stay alive during an active shooting situation at the zoo.

The Rest of It:

After a lovely day at the zoo, Joan and her four-year-old son Lincoln, slowly make their way to the exit when shots ring out. At first, the sounds do not make any sense. Fireworks? At the zoo? At the end of the day? As Lincoln chatters away, Joan sees the first body. She’s barely had time to process what’s she’s seen before she is picking Lincoln up and running for their lives.

This book will have you sitting on the edge of your seat. I chose it for my birthday read but it was far from relaxing! Phillips does an awesome job of setting the scene. It’s the zoo, after all and while reading I could “see” all of the animals, the foliage, the enclosures and I could “smell” everything too. I was right there with Joan and Lincoln and let me tell you, it was like I was living it myself.

The entire book is Joan and her son trying to survive. As you can imagine, keeping a four-year-old entertained and quiet is hard on any day but when you are trapped in an enclosure and every sound could give you away, finding ways to keep your son happy becomes a priority. Lincoln is a great kid but he gets hungry, thirsty and needs to go to the bathroom. He doesn’t understand what is going on or why they have to hide even though he’s clear who the bad guys are. It’s all an adventure to him but for Joan, she is beside herself with worry. Will they make it out alive?

I really enjoyed this book. It gave me such anxiety to read it but I read it in one sitting and it just seemed so authentically written. The mom stuff, the kid stuff, and the setting. With so few characters, I’m sure the challenge was how to keep it going but Phillips did.

If you want to spend a few hours totally riveted, then pick up a copy of Fierce Kingdom. It’s been picked up for a movie adaptation too.

For more reviews, visit my blog: Book Chatter. ( )
  tibobi | Sep 18, 2018 |
I couldn't put this book down. I hadn't read the synopsis in a while so I had forgotten what the story was about but within the first few pages I was hooked. I got a little frustrated around the middle of the book because I was ready for the nightmare to be over. I wanted to know where the story was heading and how it was going to end. The ending, however, was incredibly disappointing. I was left feeling like the story was unresolved and the book was missing the epilogue. ( )
  cwhisenant11 | Jul 31, 2018 |
Joan is spending an afternoon at the zoo with her four-year-old son Lincoln when, just before closing time, she hears a burst of what she only belatedly realizes is gunfire. Then things quickly get nightmarish for her as she finds herself running and hiding, desperately trying to protect herself and her kid.

This isn't a particularly complex or intricate thriller, but it's a nicely effective one. I will admit, I wasn't sure for a while just how well it was going to work for me, as it seems quite deliberately designed to play on the fears, instincts, and emotions of parents, which I most definitely am not. And despite Phillips' use of a lot of really wonderful little details that make this woman's relationship with her son and her experience of being his mom feel very real, my own initial feelings were less a distressed "OMG, child in danger! He must be protected!" and more of an annoyed, "Aaargh, this is the problem with little kids: they have no sense of perspective, and even in an actual life-or-death situation, you can't get them to shut up! What a liability!" But Phillips does such a good job of getting into Joan's head, and of building the tension as the story goes along, that even hard-heartedly non-maternal me got sucked into things, so much so that I ended up delaying some important errands just so I could finish the last fifty pages.

Rating: 4.5/5. Because, hey, any book that makes me that unwilling to put it down surely deserves that much. ( )
1 vote bragan | May 30, 2018 |
Lincoln is enjoying the last few minutes of playtime at the zoo, a place he and is mother Joan often visit. They’ve explored the hidden pathways, walked through exhibits both new and old, ridden on the carousel. They know which exhibits are under construction and which place each of the zoo’s animals call home.

With the zoo about to close, Joan is urging her son toward the exit. But she sees something so terrifying she grabs her four-year-old and turns and runs back into the zoo where, for the next three hours, her sole purpose for living will be to keep her child safe.

With the zoo-at-night setting serving as a character in this frightening tale, readers will find much to appreciate in a narrative alternating tender mother-child moments with breathless, heart-stopping moments of pure terror. Joan’s introspective moments, as she contemplates the changes in her child over the years of his life, are appropriate to the telling of the tale; mothers will easily recall times they have had similar thoughts and reminisces about their own children.

While the plot includes difficult, horrific events taking place in the story, the telling of the tale is not overly graphic. The true-to-life characters, caught in a situation beyond their control, will pull readers into the narrative and the pulse-pounding terror and building suspense will keep the pages turning. Although some readers will find themselves wishing for more details at the final resolution, readers are likely to find this masterful narrative of survival, of love, and of desperation difficult to set aside.

Highly recommended. ( )
  jfe16 | May 10, 2018 |
So good! ( )
  Martha.Louise.Owen | Apr 23, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
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Book description
In a dangerous world, we must protect those we love.

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 — transform her into the hero she and her son need to stay a step ahead of danger.

A masterful thrill ride and an exploration of motherhood itself — from its tender moments of grace to its savage power — Fierce Kingdom asks where the boundary is between our animal instinct to survive and our human duty to protect one another. For whom should a mother risk her life?

Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0735224277, Hardcover)

“It tore at every maternal fiber in my body. I couldn’t put it down.” —Fiona Barton, New York Times bestselling author of The Widow

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.

Suddenly, mother and son are as trapped as the animals. Joan’s intimate knowledge of this place that filled early motherhood with happy diversions—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. 

A masterful thrill ride and an exploration of motherhood itself—from its tender moments of grace to its savage power—Fierce Kingdom asks where the boundary is between our animal instinct to survive and our human duty to protect one another. For whom should a mother risk her life?

(retrieved from Amazon Fri, 27 Jan 2017 01:08:33 -0500)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"An electrifying novel about the primal and unyielding bond between a mother and her son, and the lengths she'll go to 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. Suddenly, mother and son are as trapped as the animals. Joan's intimate knowledge of this place that filled early motherhood with happy diversions--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. A masterful thrill ride and an exploration of motherhood itself--from its tender moments of grace to its savage power--Fierce Kingdom asks where the boundary is between our animal instinct to survive and our human duty to protect one another. For whom should a mother risk her life?"--… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

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