When I had a trusted friend tell me that he had a riveting, suspenseful book for me to read I was excited. When he told me that the book was about bunnies, I thought of ‘Thumper’ from Bambi, in some sort of Schwarzenegger movie with grenades and machine guns. However, the trust I have in my friend outweighed the ridiculous images I had in my mind of the Easter bunny as a pirate, or Bugs Bunny driving the van in a heist.
All that being said, ‘Watership Down’ by Richard Adams is an extremely suspenseful book that makes your heart-rate skyrocket while you bite your nails, and pull your hair in anticipation of the unfolding, brilliant plot. The tale is about a group of rabbits, primarily Fiver, a peculiar runt that has prophetic abilities, and Hazel, a good hearted rabbit thrust into a position of leadership. The two decide to leave their warren with a few others due to the odd supernatural feelings Fiver receives concerning the future of their home.
Their departure results
in a compelling page turner that effortlessly engages the reader. At face value, the story really only has events that you would imagine occur in the dull life of rabbits: finding food, mates, and shelter. But Adams has a keen ability to create a sense of desperation within the reader for the rabbits to accomplish this task and does so through his masterful character development. Each rabbit has their own distinct characteristics: some are eerie, some likable, some hysterical, and some downright frightening. The quirks, speech, and other unique qualities drove me to caring deeply for the outcome of Hazel, Fiver, and all of their peers.
There are also segments blended within the ‘Watership Down’ of the rabbit’s mythology and folklore that read as entertaining children’s stories. These elements mixed with the ‘Lapine’ glossary in the back of the book to help you decipher rabbit words for things like: tractors, badgers, and droppings, envelop the reader in a fantasy world that is actually a beautiful depiction of a real place seen through the eyes of wonderfully crafted rabbit characters.
Watership Down is a must read that I will proudly place on bookshelf number 4 of 5.