First up to be reviewed is the first on my alphabetized-by-author’s-last-name bookshelves. “Watership Down” by Richard Adams.
Yes, this is a children’s book. It was recommended to me when I was a kid because at the time I was in love with the Redwall series, and there were some similar themes. I still like Redwall a lot more, but this book has won a lot of awards, so…
This book is about a group of anthropomorphized rabbits. Fiver is a young rabbit who happens to be a seer. He sees a vision of the future destruction of his warren and tries to warn the other rabbits. Most of the warren do not believe him, but some of them do and all together they set out on a quest to find a new, safe home. Fiver, his brother Hazel, and a group of rabbits including two former Owsla (warrior caste), Bigwig and Silver, face many dangers and trials in their journey.
Honestly, I was a little horrified by this book when I read it as a kid. There’s a fair amount of death and the book is not without it’s dark themes. I sort of thought it was depressing. These views are apparently in contrast to many other official reviews of the book, so perhaps take my views with a grain of salt. The book has won many awards, but I will admit that I don’t usually pay attention to such things, since I feel that my measure of a ‘good book’ uses different metrics than those of people who decide awards.
“Watership Down” is well-written and relatively long for a children’s book. The rabbit culture is interesting but not, I didn’t think, fully-realized. You get some hints, but I never really got the feeling that they were based on a wholly-formed underlying structure, which is perhaps not necessary for a children’s book, but that I always really got into world-building as a kid.
None that I can remember. There is violence of a ‘nature documentary’ type (ie things trying to eat or trap the rabbits), but I think that’s it.