Review: Fierce Kingdom

Fierce Kingdom

Fierce Kingdom
By Gin Phillips
Penguin Books, 9780735224520, July 2018, 288pp.

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.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

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19 thoughts on “Review: Fierce Kingdom”

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. As you said, it kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. Plus, it reminded me of that fear and stress of when your children are small and completely reliant on you. So good!

    1. I was thinking about this book the other day because there are quite a few poor reviews out there. Many of them question if the things in the book could actually happen or argue that the mom’s actions aren’t believable. I have to disagree. As a mom I immediately went back to when my kids were young and how difficult they were to appease sometimes. How much WORK it was to just have a meal in a restaurant like a normal person and not have your kid talking too loud, or crawling around under the table. They are so unpredictable sometimes so when the main character ends up putting one fire out after another, in the area of her kid, I totally believed it.

      The only part I did not believe was the cell phone thing. Other than that, I felt it was pretty spot on.

  2. I’m not surprised someone has picked it up for movie. I had kind of forgotten about it, but now I remember wanting to read it. Thanks for the reminder! And I do remember having a little one and how it was hard to get them to be quiet exactly when you wanted – and that might have been things like church and not a scary situation like this. Bet my library has it on audio.

    1. It’s the cat and mouse thing that gets ya! The hiding and the tension. Made me jumpy! But the actual violence that is shared in the book is minimal.

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