**This review may contain a spoiler or two**

Animal Kingdom is a horror novel that probably isn't for the weak stomached or the faint of heart. It's graphic and visceral, and the imagery is quite detailed.

What starts out as a fun day at the zoo for Joe and his son Danny turns into an incomprehensible nightmare when a normally peaceful snake turns on its handler and strangles him to death during a show.

When Danny and Joe leave the building where the show was taking place, they discover something they never expected to see: people running for their lives, and animals out of their cages, attacking anyone and everyone.

Joe and Danny take shelter in a nearby building, but before they can get to safety with the others in the building, lions attack. Joe manages to save a woman named Grace, and a handful of others manage to avoid the wrath of the lions and hole up in a room together.

The group of survivors are a bit...stereotypical, I suppose. There is the romantic interest with a secret, a douchebag who wants to control everything and everyone, a religious nutjob, an ex-military man who happens to be a bit crazy/homophobic/racist, and a gay black man. Plus Joe, Danny, and one of the zoo employees.

It's a fight for survival against the animals. Humans are now at the bottom of the food chain, and it's going to take everything they've got to outsmart these creatures. Will they be able to pull it off? And what exactly is causing the animals to become intelligent and keen on slaughtering the humans? You'll have to read it and find out.

The book, for me, was pretty intense. I have a weird fear of certain animals(mostly farm animals), but Animal Kingdom was up there in the ability to frighten me. I thought it was paced pretty well, but at the same time, parts of it dragged on a little. The characters, for the most part, were either likeable or unlikeable. There really wasn't any in-between. You had a few you wanted to survive, and others you wished would be eaten alive by the animals.

Now, I have to warn you, the reason for the animals turning is not explained the in actual story. However, there are a handful of short stories after the epilogue that bring in some new characters who happen to be intertwined with the original characters, and you also get a story that does, in fact, explain what caused the sudden change in behavior. I do wish the short stories had been part of the actual plot of the original story to give it more meat and explain things a bit better, but overall, it wasn't a bad read.

If you're into pulse-pounding, in-your-face blood-and-guts horror, then definitely check out Animal Kingdom.