Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Book 47 of 2013: Watership Down by Richard Adams

I've had a copy of Watership Down by Richard Adams for years. It came from my great uncle's house and I've tried picking it up to read several times but never got very far. That didn't stop me though, and when I saw Plague Dogs, also by Richard Adams in a charity shop a few years ago I picked that up too. Both ended up languishing in book boxes until my last bookcase reshuffle when it was about time I paid them some attention!

I found this to be quite a slow read at first, taking me from the 25th August to the 12th September to get through. It took me ages to get in to and if I hadn't been admitted to hospital with no other reading material there's a strong chance I'd still be reading it.

Once I did get into it, I really enjoyed it. I just struggled to keep going with it when I had other things going on.

Most people are familiar with the film, it's been years since I saw it but I think it's a fairly good adaptation. The book follows Fiver and his brother Hazel after Fiver has a vision that something bad will happen to their warren.

They set out with a small band of rabbits for a new place to live, encountering other rabbits and wildlife along the way on their quest to create a new warren.

At times it really reminded me of Tolkien, mainly because there was obviously a fantastic history in the story. The rabbits have their own language and series of myths, but you're only ever given little glimpses of these so you're always aware that they fit into a bigger picture. I couldn't help but wonder what Tolkien would've made of it.

Some of the rabbits did kind of blend together for me, especially if I only read a little bit of it at a time. Most had identifiable characteristics, like a tuft of hair, a scar, the shade of their fur, but if they were just mentioned by name I could easily get then muddled up. If I'd read it a bit quicker I wouldn't've had that problem.

Despite having seen the film many years ago, I couldn't really remember the end. That meant there were a few bits where there were cliffhangers or rabbits didn't look like they were going to make it out of a scenario alive and I was genuinely worried. I like it when a story makes me feel that way.

I thought the ending was perfect. Stories like this which go on and on can sometimes have a disappointing ending, but this one was perfect. It went along nicely with all the little rabbity folklore stories throughout the book.

The Plague Dogs is up near the top of my list for the next book book I'm planning to read, after my next ebook on my Kindle, and my next couple of course books.


  1. Love Richard Adams' stuff, especially Watership Down; brilliant book and a film that equals it. Plague Dogs however is, if anything, even bleaker and as such it and I do not get along as well!

    1. I'm going to have to watch the film again at some point. Although the bit with the rabbits trapped underground used to really freak me out as a child and it's put me off as an adult, hehe.

      I'd heard that Plague Dogs was quite depressing, I'll have to make sure I'm in the right frame of mind before I start that one!


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