Thursday, January 19, 2012


by Richard Adams, published in 1972.

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Fleeing the intrusion of man and the certain destruction of their ancestral home, a band of rabbits encounters harrowing trials posed by predators and hostile warrens — driven only by their vision to create a perfect society in a mysterious promised land known to them as Watership Down. First published in 1972 to world-wide rave reviews and now a modern classic, this is a powerful tale about the destructive impact of our society on nature — written in the same vein as Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit.

My thoughts

I don't agree that this story is all about the "destructive impact of our society on nature," although many of the elements certainly point to that. But I found it first and foremost a thoroughly enjoyable adventure tale.

The story starts out with a young rabbit, Fiver, telling his brother Hazel that he has had a vision of something horrible happening to their warren, and they must leave immediately. Hazel, having learned from past experiences that his brother's visions come true, decides to leave the warren against their chief rabbit's orders with as many rabbits as will come with them. Thus begins a long journey in search of a home, full of peril and adventure.

Each rabbit has their own distinct personality, and the author does a wonderful job of making them seem "human" and at the same time showing the differences between a human and a rabbit society. I love how the rabbits have their own language and legends. On their journey, they run into predators like foxes and dogs, make some unlikely friends, solve disputes among themselves, and most interestingly, they come across several other warrens that operate much differently than what they are used to.

Even though I generally prefer human to animal characters, I really enjoyed this story, and recommend it for anyone looking for a classic fantasy read, cleverly told.

This post is inspired by the Little Red Reviewer's SciFi Not-a-Challenge for the month of January.


  1. This remains one of my favorite books of all time, and one of the few times I saw the movie before reading the book.

    The movie scared me (I was very little when I saw the cartoon and they were fairly realistic with the blood & claws) but I'm glad I went on to read the book because it's one of those that stay with you for awhile.

  2. I used to watch the movie as a kid, and I remember parts of it were very scary but other parts I really liked. It actually stays quite close to the book plot!

  3. The song when Hazel dies gets me to do the ugly cry every time I watch it now.