Thursday, January 11, 2018

Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips

Joan and her four-year-old son were wrapping up a nice day at the zoo when she hears the pops. She isn't sure what they are but as they near the exit it becomes clear - there's a shooter inside the zoo. Terrified but determined to protect her son, Joan runs, searching out a spot that will keep them safe and hidden until the authorities can arrive. But as the hours go by, Joan is faced time and again with decisions that could put them both at risk. Can they outwit the killers and survive the night?

This latest from Gin Phillips is actually my introduction to the author. And it's an interesting read in that it forces the reader to think about what they would do in Joan's situation.

I'm not even sure how to review the book, to be honest. Being faced with the question of what you'd do in Joan's situation hits a little too close to home these days. And I've faced my own, albeit not particularly dangerous, scenario where my reaction was definitely not what I anticipated. I know everyone imagines how they'd react. The zombie apocalypse is one of my own imaginary scenarios (and let's face it, I'm not cut out for physical or seriously stressful situations!). But as a criminal justice major in particular I had thought that I could maintain a cool head in certain situations I've been proven not to be able to. So yeah, faced with the question of what I'd do personally in Joan's situation makes me uncomfortable.

Obviously not to the point of avoiding a book about it, though. This book was intense and, in the end, quite thought provoking.

So Joan and her son are visiting the zoo, hidden away in a little shady area while he plays with his action figures. A quiet afternoon spent together and a way to keep the toddler busy and amused. But closing time is coming soon and they start to head out when the first shots happen. Joan sees bodies, she sees people running, and she takes off, seeking shelter in hopes they can evade the killer.

We get snippets of a few other characters' stories - a retired teacher and a teenager working at the zoo as well as one of the shooters - but Joan is the main focus of the story. And there wouldn't be much of a story if they found a hiding spot and stayed still until the end. So you can imagine, at least vaguely, how the story plays out. It's an emotional roller coaster and an extremely fast-paced read that took me one sitting to get through.

All of that said, I do have to admit that Joan makes a few godawful decisions! Like bafflingly bad decisions! It was akin to watching a horror movie and screaming at the heroine for going up the stairs to investigate the strange noise...

All told, this is a super readable and dark story. Fair warning!

1 comment:

Dianna said...

I don't think I could read this -- I'm already freaked out. Stories where kids could possibly get hurt bother me. Thanks for the warning!