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Title: Fierce Kingdom
Author: Gin Phillips
Publish Date: July 25, 2017
Genre: Mystery Thriller
My Rating: 3/5
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.
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?
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A mother and her young son get trapped in the zoo after gunmen show up near closing time. The mother tries to evade the gunmen and keep herself and her son safe.
Most of Fierce Kingdom is told from the mother’s point of view. A few chapters are told from the point of view of other characters (others trapped in the zoo and a gunman). I enjoyed the occasional glimpse of other characters, but the real story is about Joan and Lincoln, the mother and her 4-year-old son.
The mother and son relationship is key to the plot. They have a strong bond, and Joan will go to great lengths to protect her child. As a mother of a young son, I can relate to how the mother’s sole focus was keeping her son safe. I probably enjoyed this story more because I could picture my son as Lincoln – wanting to play with superheroes, making up fun stories, wanting her to carry him, etc. One line was definitely true, “She sometimes wonders if his determination not to do a thing is in direct proportion to the amount of enthusiasm she shows for it” – every parent can relate, amiright?
Fierce Kingdom starts off strong and I was interested in what was going to happen. I did have a few issues with the plot, but they were minor issues that, for the most part, were there to keep the story going. The plot had enough action that I wanted to see how it would end, which made it a fast read (I read it in one night). This book is 275 pages, so a good choice if you like thrillers but don’t have a lot of time to read.