Title: Fierce Kingdom
Author: Gin Phillips
Start date: July 4, 2017
Finish date: July 8, 2017
Note: I won a copy of Fierce Kingdom from a Goodreads giveaway.
✧ ✧ / 5
What an interesting concept that ultimately fell flat not even halfway through. There could have been so much more to the story, but I was left yawning and disappointed.
Fierce Kingdom is about “the unyielding bond between a mother and her son, and the lengths she’ll go to protect him.” A mother and son find themselves trapped in a near empty zoo with a couple of trigger happy gunmen. The only thing is we rarely encounter these gunmen and much of the action occurs near the end. If you’re looking for a “thrill ride,” this is not the book. Instead, it really is about the relationship between mother and son and that in itself was written wonderfully.
Readers are given enough insight to Joan and her son, Lincoln’s, relationship from the get go. Lincoln had to be the world’s most patient child; the type of child every mother wishes with every fibre of their being for their own kid to be like. Lincoln is pretty much the one kid you see on Jimmy Kimmel’s prank videos, who is pleasantly okay with the fact that his/her parents ate all of their hard-earned Halloween candy. It’s difficult to create a genuine and well-behaved characters and Phillips did a good job with Lincoln.
Joan was the one I had issues with. I understand her actions were based off the stressful and dangerous situation she was in; however, she made some pretty idiotic decisions in my opinion.
Click here for spoiler
The one being the fact that she threw her only form of communication to the outside world away. So what if the news coverage didn’t churn out an article right away about the zoo? For some reason, Joan was too impatient to wait. She could have kept the phone to call the police too, but the first person she called was her husband. She then could have continued to text her husband but she decided to shot put that handy device away like she was competing in an Olympic event instead of keeping it on herself on silent.
In the end, Joan did not need to be the heroine for everyone; she only needed to be one for Lincoln and I admired that about her. You have to applaud her for her bravery and commend her for the decisions she made with her son in mind.
What really drew me away from the story was the slow pace of the story. It remained stagnant for a huge portion of the plot, and all the interesting bits were over far too quickly. I was then lost during the narration switch at the beginning when we were introduced to Margaret, Kailynn, and Robby. We don’t see their POV until we near the end of the story. Logically, it makes sense to throw them in there to allow readers to see that there are survivors hiding out in the zoo, but the way it was placed a few chapters into the story (when I was already invested in reading about Joan and Lincoln), made no sense to me. By the time we encounter these characters again (we never hear about them for a long duration of the story), I realised that they were actually much more fascinating than Joan herself, and I wish I had been reading about them instead.
Another thing that bothered me was how Joan seemed to escape dangerous situations unscathed. I’m not much of a masochist and I’m not saying she needs to be put in harm’s way, but it was unbelievable how lucky she got. Every time a scene was about to get interesting, she managed to elude danger or strangers would show up and help her out. This resulted in a large portion of the story consisting of long descriptions of her sitting, waiting, and shushing her child. I skipped a few pages and found that I still did not miss much.
I wish this book was written in Margaret’s POV instead. The fact that she was a retired Elementary school teacher who once taught one of the gunmen far intrigues me than Joan’s story. I appreciate the way Phillips emphasized the bond between mother and son, but I felt it was not done in a captivating way.