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Gripping, intense, and downright eerie This is an adrenaline filled thriller that brings a mother s worst nightmare to life and explores the anxiety and terror involved in protecting one s child.The characters are a mix of protective, determined and strong, and young, callous and ruthless The writing is compelling and sharp And the plot, which is told in real time over a period of three hours is bursting with tension, angst, violence, fear, panic, instinct, and survival I have to say that overall this is an insightful, harrowing novel and even though I would have liked some of the subplots to be wrapped up just a little bit it definitely kept me on tenterhooks from start to finish.Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.All my reviews can be found on my blog at The ol Animal Kingdom.Some species walking on all fours in cages Some species walking on two and needing desperately to be caged.Gin Phillips creates a familiar environment known to the majority of us spreading landscapes of various attractive foliage surrounding outdoor and indoor exhibits animals from the colossal in size to the very miniscule harbored in settings of man made imaginings The viewers and the viewed.A shady enclosure in the woods at the edge of the zoo is the ideal place for mother and child to relax and enjoy each other s presence Joan and four year old Lincoln perch in this comforting place of restorative bliss They are regular visitors here and trek the usual walkways each week Lincoln plays with his plastic dudes and jabbers away Joan keeps an eye on the time as the zoo will be closing momentarily for the day An unexpected explosive sound rings out in the area Horrified, Joan recognizes it as gunfire Trying not to frighten her young one, Joan grabs him up in her arms and tries to make it to the only exit at the front of the zoo Since it is closing time, the number of visitors are few And what Joan and Lincoln come upon on the sidewalks is shocking Mother and child feel the rivoting bolt of pure fear as they scramble for a place to hide Panic sends them climbing into rock walled exhibits Ironically, humans don t seem to possess the camouflage needed to blend in Joan knows that these human predators, armed with weapons, now take presidence over the scattering underlings in deadly turmoil Philips proceeds with countless nerve wracking scenarios throughout her story in which Joan must make snap decisions that will favor the survival of Lincoln and herself Now here is where there will be deep discussions by the readers Here is where reviewers have ratcheted down on the stars Here is where Joan pitches her cell phone far into the brush in a diversion tactic that, may or may not, work against these predators Yep, I get it loud and clear Plenty of faulty decisions, plenty of characters that have flimsy cardboard innards, and plenty of fault with the police take down Plenty of if I were in that zoo I would have But our main character doesn t seem to possess our gladiator survival skills, folks She does it her way And for that very reason, you will be locked into the story to the very end Gin Phillips sends your imagination into overdrive regardless of what your Navy Seal attributes tell you You ve just got to know how this story spills out, rooting for Joan or pulling your hair out in clumps A fast, page turning read that will light you up one way or another.I received a copy of Fierce Kingdom through Giveaways on Goodreads My appreciation to Viking Books and to Gin Phillips for the opportunity. 3.5 They spent many happy days at the zoo, Joan and her 4 year old son, he playing with the action figures he lived The playground at the zoo, and the zoo itself were wonderful places to mother and son, until the day that changed The day, when after the announcement that the zoo was closing, and they hurried to the exit, Joan saw bodies and saw a man with a gun Now her only thought is to keep her son safe.What I liked the novel set in actual time, the times posted at the beginning of each segment, the restraint the author showed in describing the carnage of animals and people, the timeliness of this story, when shootings of this type in public places are something we all fear, and the abiding love between mother and son What I liked less the flow of the novel was inconsistent, a little too slow in parts, especially the first half, and a few plot points left me with a niggling doubt view spoiler Had a hard time with the thought that a mother who had found a safe place to hide would risk all to go to a food machine with son in tow just to get him the cheese crackers he wanted Yes, he was hungry, but this all takes place in about three hours so surely she could have made him wait I know it was necessary for this to occur to move the plot forward but seemed very unrealistic to me and I had a hard time getting past that hide spoiler Here it is evening already Evening , and I haven t even thought about the dirty dishes or unmade bed, never mind dinner I have been in the Zoo with Joan and her precocious four year old son Lincoln They are hiding in the porcupine enclosure In the primate zone There are armed gunmen out there in the zoo who are killing people They are hidden from view but must remain very quiet She must keep Lincoln calm and engaged, hushed and still Calm and engaged Not shot Not dead Focus Just how far would you go to protect your child Want to punch out for a while Come on in Four adrenaline fueled escape stars My thanks to Penguin Random House Canada, Gin Phillips and NetGalley for an opportunity to read this book. This is a suspenseful novel that takes place entirely during a few hours of fear in the zoo The story is told from different points of view but the prominent character we spend time with is the mother of a four year old child The novel was thrilling and well written but I was disappointed by the ending.Initially, I resisted reading the novel because the cover reminds me of a circus and circuses have always creeped me out I m not referring to the Cirque Du Soleil type of circus, I m referring to the ones that traveled around with animals and force them to perform In my childhood memories those poor animals always looked sad and underfed Overall, I enjoyed the novel but would have liked it if the ending would have been different Still, I recommend this book to readers of thrillers and contemporary fiction.ABOUT THE ENDING view spoiler The ending was ambiguous Sometimes ambiguity works and makes the novel intriguing, in this case it did NOT work for me.During the novel we had spent most of the time with the mother, at the end we don t know if she lives or dies So, overall, I did not liked the ending at all hide spoiler 3.5 StarsThere is a moment, in the beginning, where sweetness reigns, the innocence of youth, those moments where parents are reminded of the sweetness, innocence and goodness that abounds in their children in those snippets of timeDo you want a nose, Mommy he asks I have a nose, she says Do you want an extra one Who wouldn t His dark curls need to be cut again, and he swipes them off his forehead The leaves float down around them The wooden roof, propped up on rough round timber, shades them completely, but beyond it, the gray gravel is patterned with sunlight and shadows, shifting as the wind blows through the trees Where are you getting these extra noses she asks The nose store She laughs, settling back on her hands, giving into the feel of the clinging dirt It is their favourite part of the zoo, a quiet spot, and quiet is something rare in her life these days, as Lincoln rarely goes a minute without talking Villains and heroes, superheroes are his latest obsession, her purse no longer her own, a temporary lodging for his superheroes, their swords and whatnots His stories, the adventures he creates for these plastic architects of extraordinary doom and mayhem The afternoon is fading, and the zoo is closing soon, but Lincoln and Joan must head home, Lincoln lost in his latest episode he s creating between Loki and Thor, Joan lost in thoughts of what to get a friend for their wedding gift, and now they ve waited a bit too long and must hurry in order to get to the gate before they re locked in.And then she hears sounds in the distance, like fireworks or balloons being popped Another And another And another.But the zoo is closing in just a few minutes, so they must rush if they are going to make it, and she s trying hard to convince him of this and to make sure she has all of his superheroes safely in tow, she doesn t have time to contemplate and analyze what she s heard.And as they are rushing as quickly as a mother with a young boy dragging his feet can go, she notices that some of the scarecrows the zoo had put up for decorations have fallen, laying on the ground And then she realizes those are not scarecrows.She grabs hold of her son and hoisting him up to carry him She runs.When my oldest son was little, we lived not too far from a small Warner Bros owned theme park, where a friend of ours worked as one of those mascots who dress up in costumes, sweltering in the heat Since we could go for free, courtesy of our friend, and since my son was young then, and it was mostly wooded and cooler than our home, we went often The attraction was supposed to be the animals, but they were supposed to be in a wild natural habitat, not caged, so the only way to see them was to drive through which might have been worthwhile, but suffocating in a car without A C Apparently there were enough people not dissuaded by the voice telling you repeatedly of the dangers involved in rolling down your windows, since there were frequent enough deaths, and you heard about all of them if you lived close enough More, if you had a friend who worked there Local folklore says the animals were all set free, and that those who live in that area still see some of those lions and tigers and bears Oh my, indeed.This was where my mind kept returning as this story progressed, picturing my much younger self with my then young son, trying to find places to stay safe, trying to keep him placated enough to keep him from crying or talking too loud or getting angry at the unfairness of it all Dealing with hunger Questions My stomach is past being tied up in knots, it has turned into one knot this large one has consumed all the little knots inside My brain is throbbing from holding my breath so much while reading this intense story.This is not my usual fare, I m always leery of reading suspense books because I don t like feeling this knot in my stomach, but lately the few I ve read have not touched on a topic that is so timely, and one that I could imagine, knowing every day when the news comes on, that these types of actions seems to occur frequently Why, I will never understand.This is intense, although there are parts where the tension does let up for a bit and then returns, kind of like the movement of a hammer being raised just to strike once again, overall, the feeling is just intense The author left open ended some of the threads of the additional characters I could understand, perhaps, leaving all but one open ended, but that one No I think if it had been the last thing I had said, I would have made sure that someone knew I loved having the timeline for this story, seeing how the minutes were ticking by Joan s thoughts, as a mother, seemed realistic to me, as did Lincoln s behavior most of the time I loved the bond between Joan and Lincoln, their bond, the love and trust they had in each other was what spoke loudest to me, and what kept me turning the pages Published 25 Jul 2017Many thanks for the ARC provided by Penguin Group Viking Intriguing premise but the execution was rather meh Pity. 3 Kind of Hunger Games in the zoo Mother and four year old son are at the end of a tiring day after one of their regular visits to the zoo Lincoln seems to be a bright, somewhat different little boy who s quite clingy, but then again, Joan is pretty clingy herself As they re on their way out, she hears pops and cracks fireworks But we re aware of what we re reading, so we know better.She s on her way to the exit when she spots some bodies on the ground, so she spins around and backtracks, desperately searching for a way out or a safe place to hide She sees what she thinks are men with guns, but she doesn t see any people They visit the zoo often, so she knows the layout and which enclosures might be empty or not have dangerous animals.Lincoln begins to complain that he s hungry, and she has to keep reminding him to be quiet needing to scare him without terrifying him By this time, she s overheard men laughing about blasting people and animals to smithereens Shhhh, she says You have to be quiet O kay y, he says, in many syllables, moan than word She scans the darkness He is too loud too loud too loud She is running her hand over his head, pulling him closer to her, shushing and stroking, and none of it is working She does not know how to buy time He cannot make noise As they sit in hiding, she keeps reminiscing about his babyhood and how much she adores him This mother and child are a single unit With a lover you might have a perfect comfort with each other s body, a sense that his body belongs to you and yours to him, and you might have total unselfconscious freedom to put a hand on his thigh, to put your mouth on his in the way you know he likes best, for him to curl around you in bed, pelvis to pelvis but the two of you are still, ultimately, two different bodies, and the pleasure comes from the difference With Lincoln, the line between their two selves is blurred She bathes him and wipes off every bodily fluid, and he sticks his fingers in her mouth or catches his balance with a hand on the top of her head He catalogues her freckles and moles as carefully as he keeps track of his own scrapes and bruises He does not quite know that he is a being apart from her Not yet For now, her arm is as accessible as his arm her limbs are equally his limbs They are interchangeable This reminds me of the mother and son in Room, except those two were completely isolated, which made their relationship understandable In this story, I understand that she s frightened she might lose her precious little boy, but there was too much of this for me It felt like daydreaming rather than fear.The point of view sometimes changed unexpectedly from Joan to a killer or to another potential victim, which I also didn t care for Different sections are introduced with the time of day, but the changed point of view didn t coincide with this Perhaps the finished version is better.Thanks to NetGalley and Random House for the preview copy from which I ve quoted, so quotes may have changed in the final copy I expect there will be some thriller fans who will enjoy this than I did. When an ordinary day at the zoo turns into a nightmare, Joan finds herself trapped with her beloved 4 year old son She must summon all her strength, find unexpected courage and protect Lincoln at all costs even if it means crossing the line between right and wrong As a mother myself, I couldn t imagine the horror of trying to protect my children from gunmen trapped in a zoo and it was this frightening thought that kept the storyline going for me as I needed to see how the ordeal ended Once characters were introduced the story started to take shape I did find Joan a little frustrating at times, but who knows how you d cope in a terrifying situation like the one she and her son found themselves in.I found the first half of the book a little too slow for my liking, although it did pick up in the second half and by the end I had enjoyed reading it It s definitely a book in my opinion about the protective bond between a mother and son rather than a fast paced thriller so I imagine unless you actually have a child I m not sure you d be drawn to this book as much It wasn t a book that would keep me past my bedtime though still worth a read, it s well written, very descriptive and I imagine will do well If you like your thrillers to be slow burning, tense with an unusual setting and premise then Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips is the book for you. `Read ⇯ Fierce Kingdom ☂ Un Thriller Electrizante Sobre La Relaci N Nica E Indestructible Que Une A Una Madre Con Su Hijo Y Sobre Lo Que Ser A Capaz De Hacer Para Protegerlo Inteligente E Irresistible The New York TimesLincoln Es Un Buen Ni O Con Cuatro A Os Es Curioso, Inteligente Y Bien EducadoHace Lo Que Su Madre Le Dice Y Sigue Las Normas Hoy Las Reglas Son DistintasY Las Reglas Dicen Que Nos Escondamosy No Permitamos Que El Hombre Del Armanos Encuentre Cuando Un D A Feliz En El Zoo Se Convierte En Una Pesadilla Y Joan Se Ve Atrapada Con Su Hijo, Deber Hacer Acopio De Todas Sus Fuerzas Y Encontrar El Coraje Para Protegerlo A Cualquier Precio Incluso Si Eso Significa Cruzar La L Nea Entre El Bien Y El Mal, Entre La Humanidad Y El Instinto Animal Una L Nea Que Nadie Imaginar A Nunca TraspasarPero, A Veces, Las Normas Son Diferentes