Category Archives: Book Review

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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Review: Exit West

Exit West

Exit West
By Moshin Hamid
Riverhead Books, 9780735212206, February 2018, 256pp.

The Short of It:

Not at all what I was expecting.

The Rest of It:

When my book club selected this book several months ago at our yearly selection meeting, I was eager to read it because of all the reviews I had read but I skimmed those reviews because I didn’t want to know too much about it.

Well, I have to tell you that the story is very unique. In an unnamed, war-torn country, two people meet. Nadia is more head-strong and determined and Saeed is more soft-spoken and sincere but the two marry and find themselves transported to other countries as they try to escape the current war zone they are in. They move from country to country by going through doors, sometimes guarded, sometimes not.

It took me a little while to realize that they were actually going from country to country by these doors. Yes, it’s very “Narnia” and to be honest, I didn’t love this fantastical element. However, after discussing it with the group, I do understand the author’s choice to use it as a means to convey their immediate situation. It would be difficult to enter into a country and not know the language or to be hated, instantly, upon your arrival. Open the door, step through and immediately find yourselves in an uncomfortable situation.

Given the current state of the country I live in, I feel that the author did a good job of raising our awareness without shoving it down our throats. It hit all of us while discussing the book that the immigration issue is only going to get worse as people flee their countries out of desperation.

In the end, this was not a “fun” or entertaining read but it’s not a dark or depressing read either. The author keeps it somewhat light but it’s definitely a story that stays with you.

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