Fierce Kingdom

Fierce Kingdom

A Novel

Book - 2017
Average Rating:
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"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?"--
Publisher: New York :, Viking, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC,, [2017]
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780735224278
0735224277
Branch Call Number: FIC PHIL
Characteristics: 275 pages ; 24 cm

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s
susan_findlay
Oct 01, 2017

This is a quick read; I read it in one sitting. The pacing is good, and the author does a good job of building and maintaining suspense. I appreciated that she incorporated the omnipresence of cell phones today - both positive and negative features.

The primary narrator is Joan, a mother who is trapped in a zoo with her young son. They had been about to leave, but ran into the tail end of a mass shooting. So, they had turned around to hide in the zoo to escape becoming the next victims.

After the first several chapters, you expect Joan to be the only narrator. So, it's quite disorienting when, about a quarter of the way into the book, there's suddenly a set of short chapters each narrated by a different person also trapped in the zoo. I really didn't think those chapters improved the book at all; I would have cut them.

There are also several chapters narrated by another character. Unlike the ones narrated by other victims, these chapters add a lot to the book; however, I didn't feel that they went far enough in accomplishing their presumed purpose.

All in all, this was a decent book but it felt a bit incomplete (and would have benefited from dropping all but the two main narrators).

p
pattymerry
Sep 22, 2017

I nearly stayed up all night the first night I started this book. I had to finally say, "no I have to stop now or I won't stop!" If you are a mom, you will "get" this mom's inner monologue about her son. It was nonstop action, hard to put down. I will say the end was a little off for me, but still good.

p
Ponto1
Sep 06, 2017

Intense, fast-paced read. 3.0 for the thrill factor, 3.5 for the the exploration of the mother's relationship with her son during this terrifying experience. It would have been more satisfying to have had closure with some of the secondary characters introduced in the book.

sugarmountain Aug 26, 2017

The premise of this title is quite exciting, but it didn't deliver. There was too much reflection on the part of the mother about little things that her son said and did which detracted from the suspense of the situation at hand. Only a fair title.

r
rsoccer70
Aug 10, 2017

I picked up this relatively short and fast paced novel after seeing an online ad for it. It sounded exciting and it turned out to be somewhat less so than expected. The flap doesn't say what causes the mother and her preschool child, at the end of their zoo visit, to "keep on running" for the entire novel. An alien invasion? Flood waters? A lava flow? Since the promoters don't spoil it, I won't either. Suffice to say, what causes the conflict is mainly background to drive a story about maternal love and how much a mom knows and protects her child. Overall, I was generally satisfied with the plot, except for one ridiculous coincidence which moves the story forward, but made me exclaim in disappointment, "Really?" It didn't take me that long to read the book, so this frustration with a plot manipulation doesn't make me regret reading it. Yet, did author Phillips really need to rely on something that would take long odds to actually happen?

r
Reads_A_Lot
Aug 06, 2017

Great premise of a mother and young son trapped in a zoo with a shooter, but not as exciting as I expected it to be. The close mother-son relationship is endearing, but too much time was spent on the mother's thoughts and reflections of their history while they are hiding and waiting. Not much edge-of-your-seat action. Also disappointed that the ending did not give full closure. A few things were left up in the air. Not bad, but not great.

d
dirtbag
Aug 06, 2017

Reminded me of a script for TV. Very readable.

j
JazZelda
Jul 28, 2017

I picked this up from the library, came home, cracked it open and read it straight through in one sitting. It has such an interesting premise, and I just got sucked into the story. It's not a long book, but still, it's rare that I get that absorbed in a story and finish the whole book in a couple of hours. I could see this as a plot for a TV police/crime drama.

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swimmer10_0
Aug 04, 2017

skimm says you'll finish this in one sitting

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