Fierce Kingdom

Fierce Kingdom

A Novel

Book - 2017
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"What would you do to protect the ones you love? After school on a late October day, Joan has taken her four-year-old son, Lincoln, to one of his favourite places on earth: the zoo. Just before closing time, as they need to go home, she hears some loud pops like firecrackers. Not thinking much of it, they head for the exit...until Joan realizes the eerie human emptiness means danger, then sees the figure of a lone gunman. Without another thought, she scoops up her son and runs back into the zoo. And for the next three hours--the entire scope of the novel--she does anything she can to keep Lincoln safe. Both pulse-pounding and emotionally satisfying, Fierce Kingdom is a thrill ride, but also an exploration of the very nature of motherhood itself, from its saving graces to its savage power. At heart it asks how you draw the line between survival and the duty to protect one another? Who would you die for?"--
Publisher: Toronto :, Random House Canada,, [2017]
ISBN: 9780735273191
Branch Call Number: FICTION PHI
Characteristics: 275 pages ; 23 cm


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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).

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.

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. I feel though, that it would have been more satisfying to have had closure with some of the secondary characters introduced in the book - or to not have introduced them at all.

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.

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?

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.

Aug 06, 2017

Reminded me of a script for TV. Very readable.

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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Aug 04, 2017

skimm says you'll finish this in one sitting

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