by Gin Phillips


OCT, 2017

  • Title: Fierce Kingdom
  • Author: Gin Phillips
  • Series: Stand-alone
  • Pages: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Viking
  • Release Date: July 25th 2017
  • ISBN-10: 0735224277

A trip to the zoo with her young son ends in a horrifying act of violence for Joan and her four-year-old. On the way to the exit, after a long day in their usual hang-out, Joan hears gunshots and sees what looks like sleeping people. Quick to react, she takes her son and hides in the zoo. It’s a simple premise but the books is a very deep look at motherhood and the things we believe we give up for this act. While hiding, Joan has a lot of time to ruminate about her life, and what she’s done as a mother.

For a mother, this was a scary book. But, it was also enlightening. As thoughts run through Joan’s head, macabre, dark, thoughts about what it means to be a mother — you realize that, as a mom, you aren’t alone in your dark and weird thoughts. This mother is in the worse situation possible with her young child, and she is thinking like you sometimes think. I thought that part of the novel was refreshing, scary, but refreshing.

The main character has to protect her child, all while trying to placate him, because of his young age and his tendency to have temper tantrums, it gets really difficult. I found the story engrossing, and real, but I wasn’t blown away by the premise. I think Phillips took an easy way out at the end when it came to the culmination, but overall it was a good story. I don’t think I would read it again, or it didn’t urge me to read more by the author. I’ve read a few novels similar to this one, while not about this particular topic. The slightly neurotic mother figure, placed within a stressful situation, with the constant self-analysis that shows a deep understanding of themselves, making decisions that they knew were self-absorbed but chose to make them anyway for the betterment of themselves and family.

Most people like Joan that I know personally, hell most people in general, don’t have this much insight into their own psyche.  But, it made for a good read. Overall, I recommend this book if you are looking for a good mystery thriller, that’s slightly different than the rest, and not as deep as others in the same category. It’s only 288 pages, so it passes quickly.

The narration by Cassandra Campbell was well done and captured Joan’s personality well. I highly recommend the audiobook, I don’t think I could have finished this one as a print book.


“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.”

Fierce Kingdom – Intensely “Real Horror” Novel

Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips

Narrator: Cassandra Campbell
Published by Viking on July 25th 2017
ISBN: 0735224277
Genres: Mystery Thriller
Pages: 288
Source: Publisher
3.5 Stars

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.

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About The Author


Rachel, whom you might know as Parajunkee, is the blog owner of and the design blog To make matters even more confusing she is now a published author under the pen name of Gillian Zane. Rachel has been blogging for over eight years, designing / web programming for over fifteen, but her real love, reading, has been her favorite hobby since childhood. Rachel has won numerous awards for her writing, the blogs she has created and her design work. If you want to check out more about her books click "The Books" on the navigation bar at the top of the page.