Doubleday | June 2017 | 288 pgs
Source: Library

A visit to the zoo one day has become a nightmare for Joan and her four-year-old son, Lincoln, when two teenage boys go on a shooting spree. A regular visitor to the zoo, Joan is familiar with every nook and cranny of the place but it still pose a challenge hiding with her son, Lincoln. Like any child of his age, Lincoln is a curious and an imaginative boy who likes to question things and creates stories with his toys. Under the circumstances, Joan has to think of ways to distract her son as well as to plan ahead to escape from the zoo in one piece. 

Fierce Kingdom is one taut read that will keep the reader (especially a parent) on edge. The first half of the book is a slow burn though and focus much on the bond and conversations between Joan and Lincoln. Despite the action-less scenes in this part, it still made a captivating read as it shows a strong maternal side of Joan and I'm sure many parents would be able to relate to her love as well as her frustrations in raising a young child. Her husband, Paul, doesn't take much of an appearance in the book since he isn't with them at the zoo, though he does communicate with Joan via phone texts and question about their safety. Although there are some perspectives from the shooters and two civilians who are also on the run, it was a pity that there wasn't much characters development and the motives of the shooters remain vague. 

Fierce Kingdom may be classified as a thriller but in my opinion the focus was more onto the maternal bond between mother and child and what she would do to protect her child under dire circumstances. The book has a promising premise but the execution part was a little disappointing. I'd expected to have more intense moments and more actions between the shooters and the victims who are trapped in the zoo but this wasn't the case; and even if there are they were minimal. I think what bothered me most was some decisions made by Joan; I can understand that a person may not make the best decision under stressful circumstances but what she did was totally beyond me (I won't mention the issues [least the ending] since I think it isn't fair to readers who want to find them out themselves). Overall it was an average read to me but I wished there was something more aside from the bond between Joan and Lincoln, which I think was beautifully described.

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12 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    It sounds like an interesting premise that the author didn’t utilize. At least she got the mother child bond right.

  2. Lark Says:

    Another one I won't be picking up any time soon. That's too bad. Sounds like it could've been really good.

  3. Melody Says:

    Jenny - It does have an interesting premise, doesn't it? Perhaps it was more of a story between mother and child than anything. Oh well.

  4. Melody Says:

    Lark - I think it read well if we don't expect it to be action-packed.

  5. jenclair Says:

    The frightening thing is that in today's world the possibility of violence can appear anywhere. I'm curious about the decisions Joan made that bothered you. I'm always questioning decisions fictional characters make.

  6. Melody Says:

    Jenclair - True, violence is everywhere in today's world. We just don't know when the next bad thing will happen and where. I've seen a few reviews and some readers also mentioned that Joan's decision bothered them, too.

  7. Iliana Says:

    Well, I'm curious to read about Joan! Definitely an unusual setting for something like this, then again with so much violence in the world I guess anything can happen!

  8. Melody Says:

    Iliana - Yes, I'd expected it to be an intense thriller filled with actions but I guess the direction is focus on other thing instead. Then again, I'm glad I'd read it despite my expectations of it.

  9. How frightening! I can imagine this would be a nail biting one for a parent, especially. It's good to know this isn't quite the thriller one might expect, as I would have gone in expecting high intensity as well. You have me curious about the choices Joan made and what troubled you, but this doesn't sound like a book I will rush out to read.

  10. Melody Says:

    Wendy - I think I'd have appreciated the book more should I went in with a different mindset and expectations. That said, it was still an OK read to me.

  11. Susan Says:

    I like the premise of this one. Definitely sounds like a good set up for an intense thriller. The pacing problems may bug me on this one, but I think I'll still give it a shot. Thanks for bringing this book to my attention!

  12. Melody Says:

    Susan - I hope you'll enjoy this book more than I did.

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