Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips
The description from Goodreads:
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 worst nightmares are kidnappings and mass shootings so of course I fed into my own neurosis and bought this book.
Fierce Kingdom is very well written, you can picture yourself right there, the atmosphere is described so well. I really enjoyed that the book only took place over the course of a couple hours.
I found the pace was odd at times, there were parts that seemed to drag on then other parts that I felt more could have been added. It was also a little wordy in spots, but usually that was attributed to the little bit of character development there was.
I spent the whole book agreeing and disagreeing with Joan’s choices, when to run, when to hide, and I couldn’t stop thinking if that were me, what would I do? Where would I go? Clearly I was really into it because after reading for a couple hours two nights ago, I dreamt of swimming with polar beers and being really scared but really excited.
Fiona Barton is quoted on the book jacket as saying “It tore at every maternal fiber in my body. I couldn’t put it down.” and it’s true, this book fills you up with maternal feelings of survival, you can relate to the main character Joan, who does all she can to keep her son safe.
KINDA SORTA SPOILER ALERT BELOW…
I felt there was a lot of ends that weren’t tied up. I would have liked the ending to include the husband (but maybe that would have been to cliche). Also, what happened to Robby? The baby? Mrs.Powell?
OK, SPOILERS ARE DONE
I think a book like this could have had more of a grand, heroic end and it just kind of ended all the sudden, which disappointed me a bit.
I give this book 4 stars.