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Fierce Kingdom

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  22,413 ratings  ·  3,236 reviews
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 keep ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published July 25th 2017 by Viking
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Christi Poulsom There's not that much about the animals in the zoo; a few have been killed but its not graphic. However there are a couple of quite unpleasant referen…moreThere's not that much about the animals in the zoo; a few have been killed but its not graphic. However there are a couple of quite unpleasant references to animal death / cruelty outside the setting which will stay with me, and they weren't even necessary to the plot. Having said that, I would still recommend the book - when it starts about cats and later goats just skip a paragraph or two.

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Average rating 3.57  · 
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 ·  22,413 ratings  ·  3,236 reviews

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Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
My reviews can also be seen at: https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpr...

2.5 Stars

I really struggling with a rating for this book. I think I landed on 2.5 because I was caught up in the story and had to know how it was going to end. However, I did have some issues with it.

When I read the description for Fierce Kingdom I was really looking forward to reading it. It sounded like it was going to be an intense read.

Joan is relaxing with her four-year-old son, Lincoln in one of their favorite areas
Miriam Smith (A Mother’s Musings)
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 m
Diane S ☔
Jun 09, 2017 rated it liked it
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 se
Jun 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

3.5 Stars

There 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 time.

”’Do 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, s
Carol (Bookaria)
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 more 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 refer
Britta Böhler
Intriguing premise but the execution was rather 'meh'. Pity. ...more
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,
No matter how this book described the zoo where this entire story took place, I could not stop picturing my local zoo. I am not sure if I have ever read a book where a location was so automatically ingrained in how I picture something. The author could have said the zoo was on top of a mountain, but I still would have pictured our flat-land zoo here in Indianapolis.

But I digress . . .

Fierce Kingdom, even though I took my time reading it, was a pretty quick read. In fact, the book practically tak
Sep 18, 2017 rated it did not like it
This could have been such a good concept, but I was so so so bored. Video review: ...more
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ove
Sep 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
I’d been looking forward to reading Fierce Kingdom since it first came out a few years ago, as the premise of this suspense story intrigued me. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as good as I’d hoped. The story takes place over one evening, where Joan and her 4 year old son, Lincoln, get trapped in a zoo, when a group of gunmen enter in the early evening as the zoo is about to close.

I read this book in two sittings and enjoyed the first sitting (approximately one half of the book) more than the second, b
Liz Barnsley
Apr 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow Fierce Kingdom is like a rocket launched right at you - beautifully written, highly tense, this is without doubt a one sitting read (I rattled through it last night) and it is so utterly gripping I was slightly dazed when I came back out of it.

This works on many levels - first of all as a thriller, with our protagonists trapped in a Zoo not knowing when salvation might come - and then as a really emotive relationship drama that shows the maternal bond in all its glory - how far would you go
Rachel Hall
A brilliant premise which immediately gets readers hearts racing and beads of sweat forming, Fierce Kingdom tells the nail-biting story of Joan and her four-year-old son, Lincoln, trapped inside Belleville Zoo with a gunman on the loose. Whiling away the hours until closing time, Joan and Lincoln are in The Dinosaur Discovery Pit, a woodland sanctuary away from the more popular zoo attractions that compete for attention. Drifting away, with her mind half on Lincoln's superhero chatter and half w ...more
Sep 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A grippingly fierce and emotional story about a mother and her young child on a perilous adventure.
Joan and her 4 year old son Lincoln are on one of their frequent visits to the zoo. Right before closing they hurry toward the exit until they are stopped in their tracks when they hear and see something horrible. Someone at the zoo has opened fire.
What follows is a suspenseful three hours of running, hiding and doing everything possible to escape becoming victims themselves.
A thrilling, rollercoas
Jan 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
A quick read, this novel, explores what a mother will do to protect her child. Meant to be a fun day at their favorite spot, the zoo, 4 year old Lincoln and his Mom, Joan, stumble upon horror. Protecting him through this nightmare is her only thought.
Aug 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Disclaimer: This is probably the hardest review that I've submitted since I activated my Goodreads account.

3 stars
The story takes place in real-time, with the plot unfolding within two or so hours, at a zoo featuring Joan and her 4 year old son Lincoln. Joan and her son are about to wrap up their trip to the zoo when something has gone drastically wrong, sending her to hide with her son and plan for a means of escaping. Fierce Kingdom engages the audience by exploiting the love that a par
Jan 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: kobo
This is one of those reviews where I am relieved I waited until morning to write my reactions. I was completely engrossed in this highly dramatic situation where a mother and her 4 year old son have to hide from three gunmen who have taken over a zoo. Gin Phillips just kept me turning the pages and all I had wanted to read was a chapter before bed.

BUT as page turning as the story was, it suffers from lingering effects of unresolved issues. In the beginning, it's a mother protecting her son and
"She is trying to work herself back into the right mood to talk to him—quiet, as quiet as possible—to make everything normal and alright. A considerable part of parenting is pretending moods that you do not entirely feel. She has thought this before when she’s listening to little plastic people act out a battle scene for hours at a time, but now it seems like maybe all those eternal battles were a good thing—maybe they were practice. She is good at pretending. She will start doing it aga
Sam (Clues and Reviews)
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have been eagerly anticipating the release of Fierce Kingdom, by Gin Phillips, for MONTHS; I had read multiple posts during the blog tour for the UK release and it shot right up to the top of STAFF PICKS at Chapters-Indigo upon its release in Canada, but since the US released it later on in July and I was reading it with Jessica and Chandra for one of our July #cjsreads picks, I held off for as long as possible! Now that I have read the title, I feel as if the hype is justified but feel like t ...more
Jan 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller-mystery
The only reason I didn't read this in one sitting is because I had to start it right away...on the commute.

An original, gripping, point-of-view thriller about a mother and her child in perilous circumstances. Gin Phillips puts you in the middle of the story.

Also a rare book that furnished a favourite quote: "Such a system of checks and balances - parenting - of projections and guesswork and cost-benefit ratios."
Kate Olson
Sep 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Sooooooo. I'm rating this book as 5 stars because it provoked SUCH a visceral reaction from me, and because I read it in 2 hours and couldn't put it down even though I wanted to. BUT, I wish I hadn't read it. As a teacher who suffers severe anxiety before, during and after mandated ALICE trainings at school, and as a teacher who has MAJOR thoughts on such trainings that I can't post publicly on the interwebs, this book was a massive trigger for me. I highly expected to be triggered as a mom, but ...more
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Joan and her 4 year old son, Lincoln, are at the zoo nearing closing time when Joan realizes she's living every parent's nightmare: shooters are on the prowl in the zoo.

Joan scoops up Lincoln and gives in to her first impulse: run. Eventually she can’t continue and must find shelter and hide. As she hears the gunmen closing in she uses her ingenuity to find shelter in varying spots. As a mother, I physically felt Joan’s terror, my muscles tensed, and I found myself holding my breath until I knew
Richard (on hiatus)
Sounds drift from the entrance of the zoo - 'Two cracks, then several more. Pops, like balloons bursting' and so begins the nightmare for Joan and her four year old son Lincoln. They are trapped in the familiar surroundings of their local wildlife park as an 'active shooter' incident unfolds.
Fierce by Gin Phillips is an unusual thriller in that the timeline develops at roughly the same speed that you read the book. The whole story spans only a few hours.
A minute by minute account of the experie
*I received an ARC from Goodreads First Reads in exchange for an honest & unbiased review. Many thanks to Viking Books, Random House & Gin Phillips for the opportunity.*

I'll admit I struggled with this one. The premise is fascinating - examining the lengths a mother will go to in order to protect her son when a group of shooters enter the local zoo. What ensues is a 3 hour duration of sheer panic as Joan must figure out how to keep her & her son, Lincoln, alive. Told in alternating chapters of
Aug 29, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: horror
Actual rating: 1.5

Let me start by saying that I was intrigued by this novel the moment I read the blurb for the dust jacket a few months ago. Truth be told, I thought the book was about something completely different before going into it-- I honestly thought it concerned a mother and her young son trapped in a zoo after hours with a lion on the loose (or something along those lines). Obviously, that's way off. What the plot actually turned out to be wasn't necessarily a letdown, but I was disapp
Purple Country Girl (Sandy)
Thank you to Netgalley for providing a copy of Fierce Kingdom in exchange for an honest review.

I was on the fence about picking up Fierce Kingdom due to the mixed reviews but I finally decided to give it a try. I really wanted to like this one but, for a book that comes in under 300 pages, it felt much, much longer. I thought it would be a fast-paced, suspenseful read about a mother and son trapped in an active shooter situation. I got the last part right but it was not fast-paced nor was it ove
Dannii Elle
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author, Gin Phillips, and the publisher, Viking, for this opportunity.

This book has the terrifying premise of following the perspectives of the multiple individuals involved in a terror attack. The intimacy the reader is provided to this horrifying event marks this a tragic and sorrowful read.

It may appear unfeeling to state that I didn't 'enjoy' a book with such an appalling premise and I don't mean to sound flipp
Aug 05, 2017 rated it liked it

A psychological thriller in which one of the most terrifying scenarios plays out. This was an intense read and to be honest I am not too much into the genre but the rave reviews leaded me to read this book. I actually enjoyed it! It is a fast read that can be read in one sitting easily.

Be aware though that not every characters survival or whereabouts is even answered at the end so there are loose strings that will make you look at the end for more pages.
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Gin Phillips is the celebrated author of The Well and the Mine (winner of the 2009 Barnes & Noble Discover Award for Fiction) and Come in and Cover Me (“original and strikingly beautiful” – Elle Magazine). Her recent novel, Fierce Kingdom, was named one of the best books of 2017 by Publishers Weekly, NPR, Amazon, and Kirkus Reviews. Her novels have been named as selections for Indie Next, Book of ...more

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“She cannot think of such things and still function, and she has needed to function, and she has never wanted to be one of those women who won't let their children eat raw cookie dough or wander a block down the street without a chaperone, and you have to manage the terror or you can never watch your child walk out the front door. And here they are where death is shoving its bloody snout in their faces, and she has not considered it, not really, because she has some vague idea of what she will unleash if she does, the great gaping chasm that will open up. That is what you do when you have a child, isn't it, open yourself up to unimaginable pain and then try to pretend away the possibilities.” 3 likes
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