Book Review: Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips

4⭐️’s from me

Goodreads Summary: “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?”

My Review:

I have always been a fast reader, but man I was surprised at how fast I finished this one. This is a book you can devour in one setting.


Gin Phillips tugs on the heart strings of mothers as she describes the horrifying drama of a mother tr

ying to protect her son at the zoo. Articulating the terrifying ordeal of maintaining rational thought while protecting our young is no easy task. Yet, Phillips’ writing has it all – the emotions are raw, frazzled, and intense. Survival mode.

I particularly liked how Phillips switched point of views from the mother to the shooter and occasionally other characters. This technique allowed Phillips to delve into the motivations of individuals, questioning whether its even possible to identify potential killers before these horrific events happen. A poignant reminder of how fragile life is and how our lives can be scarred forever from just one event – especially given today’s reality.

Without saying too much, I did want more from the ending. I ultimately wanted to know more…

A thrilling roller-coaster of a ride, this is one of the best thrillers that I have read this year.

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