The writing process: Developmental Edits pt. 1

typewriter-1144164-639x426It has been awhile since I have blogged about my actual writing. It isn’t because I haven’t been writing (I have, back off!) but more so I was waiting until I was done with what I was working on to comment. The last month or so, I have been doing a developmental edit on my fantasy series, in particular the first book Longinus Unbound. I will divide up this whole process into parts because there was a lot done to cover in one post.

Now, this process has been an interesting one. The reason I started a developmental edit was that I actually paid a professional (a pro agent and editor) to go over my manuscript with a viscous and critical eye. I found this gentlemen via the Writer’s Digest bootcamp I did back in October. And let me just say up front, this was worth the money!

I’m sure all you fine writers out there understand what a developmental edit is, but for those who don’t, basically it boils down to having a person who understands your genre very well read the manuscript and give honest critical feedback. Some of the things they touch on are line edits, setting, pace, tension, flow and overall feelings.

For me, this was important. Writing in SFF, the genre is pretty open, but also constricting in terms of setting, plots and systems. I had my original manuscript edited by a dear friend, but she doesn’t read this genre, so it was more of a line edit and grammar check. While incredibly helpful, I needed someone from the source who could tell me how much my writing sucked (he said it didn’t, so for that I am grateful!).

However, he was able to pick out the flaws of my writing, specifically the areas in which the book falls flat. Before I go into what I changed and why, I will say that after listening to him and reading his notes, the areas he wanted to see me work on were definitely in need of some editing/re-writing. Most of it revolved around my main POVs, mostly because they were written years ago. This gentlemen enjoyed my side characters more because their stories were better written, and this is because I added them later/recently with more flair and better writing.

First, my main female character Brynn, my main male character Finn and my second main female character Hunter all needed some changing. Brynn and Finn were too stereotypical heroes. Yes, they had flaws, but I didn’t make their flaws stick too long, derail them too much. They didn’t fester too much to give a bigger sense of urgency, sense of tension. Main characters need this to have a successful story.

Brynn was a stock princess character, a badass with magic and one that had the fortitude to go on the journey the plot needed. However, even though I made her a lesbian character (mainly because I use religion and this comes to the fore in the second and third books, not because I wanted to spice it up like a fanboy), Brynn wasn’t all that special, merely a vessel for the plot to move forward. Speaking with the editor, he pointed out that the protagonist needs some reason to go on the journey, mentally and physically and that readers want people to relate to. I had thought Brynn was this way, but I realized she was only partly there, she needed some oomph (however it is spelled). Since my setting contains major steampunk vibes, I decided to alter her from a typical princess to more of an outcast in her family – she is a gearhead, swears a ton, loves to learn about everything, skeptical of the magic she can use, not a true believer in the Church, trusts easily at the beginning and once betrayed, becomes a hardened character. I also changed the gradual reveal of her preference for women to be at the beginning, not as I had it when she first met Hunter. All of these changes made Brynn a robust character, flawed and capable, hopeful and sorrowful. She is the hero of my trilogy and she needed to be the strongest character I write (which I can say from later books, she certainly became one due to my writing getting better).

One thing that I needed to change was less badass characters and more human characters. My main party was all badasses. Making Brynn less open to using her magic helped that, but changing Finn was the key to that success. I completely removed him as a POV character, giving his scenes to his sister Hunter and some to Brynn. This allowed me to make Finn complex. He had a rough backstory, but instead of having the reader be in his mind, I took that out of view. The readers now have to put the puzzle of Finn’s contradicting emotions together from the views of others. It made him easier to write this time around. Finn is a heroic character, but he was betrayed in the past, banished from his army life, and the chosen of the magical Longinus blade. While it was originally fun to write how the power of the blade takes over Finn, it was even more interesting to have other characters view his change, because it makes Finn more unstable, his actions less expected. Finn, the drawn character, the deep character, the open, yet closed off character, all comes out now because we aren’t in his mind.

Hunter wasn’t changed all that much, but one thing I did alter was making her be more secretive with her knowledge. A true believer in the Church, Hunter’s arc was always to follow the religious aspect, but being a lesbian contradicted her beliefs. I added Hunter to the story way after the original manuscript was written so I had more opportunity to create and develop Hunter as a complex person who was struggling with the choice of belief vs her heart’s desire (in this case Brynn). But by making her be a manipulator of others – especially Finn – puts Hunter into even further shades of grey characterwise. Hunter has clairvoyance, almost like Min from WoT, and I brought that to the fore in this new edit. She uses people to get what she wants, as opposed to just being able to see what others are thinking. And this manipulation has cost her, it makes other characters harsher on her, makes her more deplorable and less honorable than she previously was. This helps create not just tension among the main party, but also makes her difficult choice of religion vs love even that more difficult for her.

One of the biggest changes to the characters in this book was the combination of what was once book 1 and book 2 of a four part series. I melded those books together to create one book and now a trilogy. The new book is called The Fallen Unbound (a combination of the two titles). I will go into more detail on the combination, but for this part, I now have my Ashe character back in book 1.

Ashe, a teenage street urchin, is one of my favorite characters. In this book, she doesn’t interact with the other characters but very very briefly, but she plays an important role in the rest of the series. The reason I love Ashe so much is that she is a commoner, a person without skill (minus being a street rat, which come on, is a heroic thing in itself!), someone who doesn’t understand the greater world around her. She is a character that the readers can relate to easily enough. I enjoy Ashe, I love writing her and it made me happy to bring her back in the first book, instead of her being in the second book.

The editor thought my three side characters, Marcard, Evander and Darko, were all more interesting than my main party. These guys were different in many ways and had lived completely different lives, while also being entertaining. Marcard is a military man, straightforward and to the punch. He didn’t change all that much, but I highlighted his loyalty conundrum even more in these new edits, while also making him more gruff. Evander is a sick bastard with devious thoughts. He is really the villain of the whole series and I made him even more the bad guy. In what was book 2, he becomes quite powerful, but in the first book, he kinda disappeared after a while because he was in captivity. So in this new edit, he escapes and does what he did in that book 2. He becomes even more an asshole and darker as a character. Darko didn’t shift much, but I did make him a little bit more conflicted on his choices.

Overall, the characters were some of the biggest changes I had to make with this edit. They needed polishing, needed more complexity, needed more secrets, more distractions, more tension. And I think I accomplished that pretty well with this first round of new edits. I know there is more to be done with them, but that will come soon enough.

The next post will bring up the other changes I made regarding setting, religion and magic.

What I’ve Read: Graceling

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Graceling by Kristin Cashore is a young adult fantasy set in a world where people can have  a magic-like power, called a Grace. But unlike magic, Graces only enhance one particular ability, such as cooking, fighting, or swimming.

Brief Summary:

Now, this is a young adult, so there is only one POV character and the story is all about her. Katsa is a Graceling, one Graced with what she believes is fighting. Katsa, a seventeen year with two different color eyes – the symbol of Gracelings – lives in a kingdom where she does bully work for her uncle, the king. When we meet her, she is rescuing a prisoner of another king, because since it is a young adult novel, our hero must also be a saint – she forms a council of do-gooders – all at the ripe age of 17. Then she meets this guy named Po, who of course she has to fall in love with later on, who can stand up to her fighting like no one else could. Turns out, this guy is the nephew of the prisoner she saved, so the two of them must journey to find out why the guy was kidnapped in the first place. Along the way, they learn her Grace is survival, not fighting and the other guy has mind powers – you know, pretty standard fare. They save a princess (cousin to the guy Po and named Bitterblue for crying out loud) and they defeat the evil king – super quickly by the way. They love each other, but don’t want to marry one another for reasons and they go their separate ways to promise to come back to one another for more reasons. Everyone wins!

The Good:

Let me just say this up front: I typically don’t read young adult, even fantasy novels which are my jam. However, I read this because I was toying with writing a young adult story and wanted to dip my toes in the genre to see what it was like. That said, I did enjoy this novel quite a bit.

While I normally don’t enjoy single POVs (mainly because I love epic fantasy with big scopes), Katsa was engaging and fun to follow. When I think of YA, I think of kids not acting like adults or learning to be adults. Katsa was neither. She was dark and brooding and interesting. Ms. Cashore doesn’t spend too much time exposing Katsa’s emotions, but rather lets them come out in the course of the story. Katsa was a hidden person, keeping emotions at bay, but then she slowly learns to grow and interact with people. It was a slow burn that made the story excellent.

I truly enjoyed the “magic” system in this story. It made the characters human and it was interesting that Graces could manifest in anything, not just badassery, though Katsa got one of the better ones. It was cool how Katsa and Po both had this initial idea of their Graces and because people with Graces in this world are semi-loners, they were totally wrong about it. But what was great storytelling was how these characters brought it out of each other, though it did resolve itself a bit quickly for my taste (see further below).

Like I said above, even though this is YA, it was a darker tale than what I am used to in this genre. Though it isn’t gritty or super dark, there is an underlying shadow on this world, not all ribbons and rainbows, which makes it more enjoyable for someone like me. There is intrigue in the kingdoms and Ms. Cashore doesn’t shy away completely from the truths of reality, which was a breath of fresh air.

The Bad:

Since I don’t typically like YA, this part is only “bad” because it isn’t my favorite genre level. I thought things moved too fast and too conveniently. For example, the defeat of the evil king was so easy and over so quickly, that I was disappointed. And the way in which they figured out the king’s Grace was way to simplistic for the characters to deduce. Like they literally had a thought about it and then poof, its true. Then they win. It would have been way more satisfying to draw out the Grace of the king, because it did have some serious potential.

Also, Katsa, though only seventeen, was way too adult for my vision of the character. I understand that she lived this crazy life of fighting from a young age and that makes a person grow up quicker than others, but I found it difficult to envision her starting this global secret council doing public service. Just seemed like she wouldn’t have had the experience to do something like that, just too young in the sense of the world. But then again, teenagers were considered adults way back when.

Another thing that bothered me was Katsa always called Bitterblue “child.” I understand Bitterblue was like ten, but Katsa is not all that much older. Just sounded strange to read/hear from Katsa so often in the book, way too grandmotherly.

The last thing that bothered me, and again, this is small potatoes in the scheme of things, I didn’t like how the evil king was defeated and then there were some 50-100 pages left to go in the story. This is where the YA/romance trickles in and they have to set up how Katsa and Po are going to live after they won. I think it could have been scaled back tremendously since this book is standalone (though there are very loose continuations by Ms. Cashore).

Rating:

4 out of 5

What I’ve read: The Darkling Child

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The Darkling Child by Terry Brooks.

For this review, I am going to do something different than the others, and the reasoning is simple: Terry Brooks does not write a bad book, but this one, like the last few, have not been all that great.

What I mean is this book is a standard Terry Brooks book. Though this is the second book of a loosely connected trilogy, it has all the same things that has made Brooks’ books famous. There is an orphan who is an Ohmsford. There is the Druids. There is the quest for something. There is the Wishsong. There are a number of different things that show up in his works, including the same way to describe people, like their “shock” of black hair, etc.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have been reading Terry Brooks for twenty years now and have read every one of his books up to this point (though I still have his most latest to read) and I will continue to read his books because they are enjoyable. I have re-read the original trilogy, the Scions and the Voyage arcs multiple times. But, they are starting to get a bit bogged down by the history of those earlier books. There was multiple points in this book where one character tells the history of the Wishsong to another and then not much later, they tell more history about previous books, almost like Mr. Brooks is reminding himself of what he wrote twenty+ years ago.

The characters aren’t original or that complex. I do enjoy the fact that a Leah is the main protagonist, but Paxon is not a very interesting character. I’ll be honest, I skimmed most of his chapters as he was almost a side character thrown in to keep it a Shannara book. I think this book could have been much stronger outside of the Shannara world, or without having that connective character like an Ohmsford or Leah. But then again, that goes counter to Mr. Brooks’ narrative that all Shannara books are one big family history.

But that leads me into another thing that has gotten a bit stale: the stock Ohmsford orphan character, this time named Reyn. Ever since The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara, there seems to be an orphan Ohmsford in all of his books. The Voyage characters were awesome and I loved that series, mainly because of Grianne Ohmsford’s arc, but Bek’s orphan was deep and flawed. Since then, the orphans or Ohmsfords have been really boring and uninspiring. It is unfortunate that the new series coming out, which is said to be the end of the chronological order of Shannara books, has another one of these characters. Reyn was just annoying and boring. Having a sixteen year old in each book fall in love and learn of his magic gets old after seeing it so many times before.

I will say, that on the other hand, I love Arcannen, the sorcerer. He gets much more screen time this time out and he is awesome. Complex and clever, but also caring in a strange sense. I loved his scenes and the more of him, the better. Lariana was interesting and great up front, but then she just fell by the wayside and “fell” in love with Reyn. I thought it was sort of a cop out with her at the end and I was left disappointed. Also, who is the Darkling Child? We are never told who that is, but the only hint is that it is Reyn because of his ancestor who went into the Forbidding, but I’m not so sure. I was hoping Lariana would have been one and the early version of her makes you think so, like I said, disappointing.

For those who love Terry Brooks, don’t be mad at this. I enjoyed the book but was definitely hoping for more. I will still read his new books with great anticipation, but I hope that the final four are much stronger than those written after the High Druid arc (the chronological line, so that doesn’t include Genesis and Legends).

Rating:

3 our of 5

Thoughts on writing: A whole new world…

dsc_6051Last year I finished writing my fantasy series after a decade of toil. It isn’t published yet (goal of the year!) but I have moved on from it for the time being- for the most part that is. I still have plans of doing some edits and like I said, it is my goal of 2017 to get this thing either published or on the road to publishing, whether it is traditional markets (preferred) or self-published.

That said, I have stepped away from that world I had spent so much time in. I wandered and meandered my way through that world for ten years and created some lasting memories with the setting and the characters that I will never forget. But it was time to step away for a bit and see what else there is out there. Although, I know I will be going back to that world shortly when I do some hack-n-slash with a broadsword to it, but that is a post for another day…

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This leads me to where I am currently. The world is called the Crystalium and it is governed by a Godking that breathes energy into the Crystal of Life. From the Crystal of Life come the 11 Crystals of Power and each crystal is kept in the protection of the 11 Queendoms. Only women can use magic, aside from the Godking, that comes from runes created from the shards of the crystals of power. The Godking only has twenty-five years of service to the Crystal of Life before he dies and the duty must pass on to one of his sons from the realms of the Crystals of Power. The current Godking only has one month left of service and his chosen heir has been murdered, this is where the story begins.

This world is completely different from the world of the Dies Irae that I just left. What is amazing about the SFF genre is that each story can be set in a different world, whereas contemporary works must be in the real world. I enjoy these other worlds with different rules and peoples. The world of the Dies Irae was one of religion and history based from the real world. The world of the Crystalium is nothing of that. Its God is the Crystal of Life and the Crystals of Power. The histories are stark changes from one another. Their peoples are different and the Queendoms of the Crystalium are detailed and as different from one another as the two worlds are.

The thing that separates the worlds are its people and places. Within the Dies Irae, it was based on our world, but far into the future. An event happened that caused the world to be altered and the people who rose from the ashes were reshaped by their religion and the gift of magic. These people are like us, they live in a world of steam and magic, so there are definitely steampunk attributes. But I also wanted to show this world as a gritty and dark place that our world can be. The people are real, they are dark beings with inner demons and the world they inhabit, though can be saved, is a dark place. Magic can sustain them, but there is also mistrust of its users. Science once destroyed this world and people are wary of anything relating to advanced science. There are wraiths, demons and the ascension of spirits from the underworld, but it is the people who drive this story. Each character has some sort of darkness within them, though others hide it better than the rest.

In the Crystalium, the world isn’t as dark, though I can’t steer away from a little darkness…The Crystal Queens are as different from one another as the crystals themselves. The range of personalities in human-kind fits a broad spectrum of strengths and weaknesses, and these are brought out by the Crystals of Power. My three main protagonists couldn’t be more different, but none of them are as dark and brooding as the world of the Dies Irae. I wanted to keep this story and its characters grounded, but they also have this strength of a strict magic system with consequences and outcomes. Though there is still war and death, the scope of this story is fairly narrow  (hence only 3 POVs vs the Dies Irae’s 18).

As a writer, it is the best part of the job: creating these worlds. With SFF books, to make the world work, you need to be detailed about the people and the places within it. That is where the creativity becomes paramount. Though fun, it is also time-consuming and arduous. I bring this up because leaving the world of the Dies Irae for the Crystalium has been a task that I find interesting and strange. The Dies Irae was an old friend at this point. I knew the people, I knew the places, their histories, I mean I was in that world for ten years. I just recently entered the Crystalium and introduced myself to it. It is exciting to see where the journey takes me.

What I’ve Read: Elantris

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Elantris by Brandon Sanderson. Now this is a re-read for me, but it has been probably seven or eight years since I first read it, so it almost felt like a new book to me (though I knew the destination, I forgot most of the twists and turns).

Brief Summary:

Told in the POV of three characters – a prince of one land, a princess of another and a high priest of a third – the story is about the fall of the great city of Elantris and its godlike people. Ten years prior to the story, the great city was broken and everything was thrown into chaos, you know, pretty normal stuff in the fantasy world. The Elantrian people were gods and normal people could become gods themselves when this magical happenstance came about them. Well, we all know that wouldn’t make for a good story, so a great destruction came to Elantris and the people were no longer gods, but deadly corpses that walked and talked like normal, though they are mighty hungry (not zombies though, get that out of your head ASAP!) So fast forward to the start of the book and the prince gets lucky and undergoes the transformation, he is thrown in Elantris and must find a way to survive. The princess, from that second place, was coming to prince’s home to marry him, but since he was “dead” she is stuck due to a tiny line at the bottom of their contract binding the marriage. Thus she makes it her goal to stick her nose in all things politics and help reform the country, because the king is a moron. The high priest comes from a warlike empire and is given three months to convert the country before they are destroyed. The princess and the priest spar quite often in public and consider themselves friendly adversaries. In the end, the priest is betrayed by his empire and the prince discovers the truth about how Elantris fell, fixing it. A big battle ensues and the prince becomes King and marries the princess, the priest has a heroic moment and all live happily ever after – well not all of them, gotta have someone die for the drama to be worth it…

The Good:

What isn’t to say about Elantris? For Mr. Sanderson, this was his first major published book and to be honest, I don’t know if there is a topper. This is a stand-alone book and it sure does stand alone, but it has so much depth and creation in the world that it is stunning. I wouldn’t say it is a perfect book, but it is certainly damn well close, in my humble opinion.

The history, the languages, the religions, the politics, the robust characters are so amazingly crafted that it gives this aspiring author the want and need to emulate it. Each land is so well-crafted that you feel there. The conversations of the people are excellent and human. The religions are deeply thought out, but not extremely described which is perfect for a religion – there needs to be some mystery. The magic system is flawless and original, but it doesn’t take away from the real heart of the story – the characters.

Each character is perfect. Raoden, the prince, is thoughtful, energetic and compassionate. Even when struck with this disease, he tries to help the cause. Sarene, the princess, is clever, tactful and deep. She comes to care for a country she has no knowledge of only because she sees it as sport and duty, but then as hers. Hrathren, the priest, starts out as a holy ass, but he is beset by the tempting of all religious people, the question of why do you believe? His arc starts out as hateful and scornful, but he becomes an anti-hero toward the end, one that you will root for.

The Bad:

This is almost nothing too bad, but it was somewhat annoying: each character gets a chapter, then the next, then the next (Raoden, Sarene, Hrathren in that order) and it doesn’t switch up until the final few pages. Though this tactic largely works, sometimes the chapters feel tedious and unnecessary, just to keep the order going. It felt like some chapters (only a page or two) were just there to keep it up and they could have been cut or re-arranged.

Another nitpicky thing was the length of the book. For a first time book and stand-alone, this book was over 600 pages in paperback. While it tied up nicely, some of the middle was a bit long-winded, especially the political backstabbing and patriot acts. They were interesting, but could have been shortened.

Things I want to use in my writing:

Like all writers, I want to be successful and this book has a ton of things that I need to “steal” and incorporate into my writing. 1stly, I need to follow how Mr. Sanderson forms dialogue between his characters. Each sentence is very human-like and sounds natural, especially when he has the different types of people and their history/background.

Another thing to copy is his world-building. Unlike some authors, Mr. Sanderson doesn’t over detail things, places or objects, but he does it in a way that makes the reader visualize what he is describing and that is way more visceral to a reader than being told repeatedly how things should look.

Finally, just his overall sense of pacing. Though the book is long and sometimes I thought the chapters unnecessary, there was never a point in the story where I didn’t want to keep reading (hence why I read it in less than four days…). The pages kept flowing and the plot kept churning and this led to heightened drama and tension, something absolutely necessary for any novel.

Rating:

4.5 out of 5

What I’ve Read: Blood of Elves

cropped-rare-books.jpgThis installment of my reading enjoyment comes at the hands of Andrzej Sapkowski’s Blood of Elves. For those who aren’t videogamers, this is the first novel in the Witcher series, in which the game The Witcher is based on.

Brief Summary:

The thing with this book is that it is hard to briefly describe the book as a whole because the chapters are 50-some pages long and each are more similar to vignettes instead of chapters. The first chapter is a story told by a famous poet named after a plant (Dandelion) about the Witcher and his ward, Ciri. The poet is then attacked by a wizard and saved by a magician at the end. The second chapter has another magician going to the home of the Witchers to meet Ciri. The third chapter has the magician stating that the young Ciri is a wizard and she needs to be treated like a normal girl and not like one of the Witchers. The fourth chapter has the three leaving to take the girl to a temple to learn. Along the way they are ambushed by this rogue elf clan. Chapter five takes place some time later with the Witcher on a job hunting a monster in a river. The Witcher is then attacked by a group of thugs by the wizard in the first chapter as well as the monster. The Witcher obviously wins. Chapter six starts by a bunch of royals planning to start a war. Then the Witcher is attacked by the wizard after Dandelion leads him to the Witcher. And the final chapter is where the first magician meets and trains Ciri before leaving somewhere.

The Good:

The book is a very fast read. Though each chapter does go for 50+ pages, there are enough scene breaks that one can put the book down and pick up again later.

The characters are expertly detailed and well-written. There is enough mystery with each character that it isn’t truly known what their motives are.

The world is also a well-rounded entity that you feel like you are plopped down into without missing a beat.

The Bad:

As I said in the summary, this feels like a series of small scenes. And this is definitely true throughout the book. The book just ends and it doesn’t feel like there is an active plot within it. I know this books is part of a series, but I like books that have a set plot within the overarching arc, and this books doesn’t have it.

One thing that does tend to drag is that Mr. Sapkowski likes to add characters into scenes that just like to talk. There is a ton of back- and-forth dialogue with secondary characters that don’t necessarily move the “plot” along. Perhaps some of these characters come back in the next volume.

Rating:

3 out of 5

What I’ve Read: Watership Down

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In honor of Richard Adams’ passing last week, I decided to re-read (for the dozenth time at least!) Watership Down. Watership Down is my favorite book of all-time and it doesn’t take much for me to want to read it again.

Brief Summary:

For those who haven’t had the pleasure of reading this novel, the plot is very simple, yet elegantly written. A group of talking rabbits (yes, they talk) learn of a danger coming to their home through one of the heroes’ prophetic abilities. After failing to convince the whole warren to leave, a group of bucks, led by our main hero Hazel (though I will say that Bigwig is also one of the best written heroes of the last fifty years) seek out a new home. After many trials, the rabbits reach the perfect home, but they realize they need female does to make the journey worthwhile. They learn of another warren nearby, though this warren is led by a tyrannical chief who won’t allow does to leave. After much trickery and cleverness, the bucks succeed in bringing does home and defeat the evil rabbit.

It sounds simple because it is. But in that simplicity is what makes this book so amazing.

The Good:

Mr. Adams (no relation unfortunately…) does extensive research on rabbits and though they are talking, they move, feel and act like actual rabbits that most of the time you forget you are reading about rabbits. Each rabbit is well described and the main group all have their strengths, even the little Pipkin.

It is refreshing to read a story from this perspective because rabbits act completely different from man. And what I enjoy is there are asides in the narrative that detail the differences between man and animal. This is why the idea of male bucks needing female does is important. Animals think about survival, not equality, etc. that man does. The rabbits only know that they need females for the whole thing to continue, it is the basic survival aspect of animal.

One amazing thing about this world is that it feels real. Throughout the book, the rabbits tell stories about their mythical forefather and it makes the reader feel that the world is full of history and life, just like the world of man. They sit around and tell stories, play games and just rough-house to have fun. It is that we, the reader, are flown into this world of rabbits without having to question anything, we are just magically involved.

Even though Mr. Adams always denied basing the different warrens on other peoples, it is safe to say that the warrens do derive from the real world. General Woundwart’s warren is similar to Soviet Russia and Cowslip’s warren is almost too passive as the US was before involvement in WWII. That said, the warren’s have their own ideals and it is just interesting to see parallels.

Though the book is 460+ pages, it isn’t a hard read. The pacing is well-done and is written at a middle grade level. But that doesn’t mean it is for children. Though there are some dark passages of blood and gore, it is written for both children and adults. The older I get, the more I appreciate this style of writing. I saw a quote by Richard Adams this past week  that is the truth: “I rather agree with C.S. Lewis that a book that isn’t worth reading when you’re sixty if it isn’t worth reading when you’re six.” I truly believe that and this book is the perfect example of it. I have read this book so many times that I know each part by heart, but every time I read it again, I get drawn back into it like it is the first, and I still get all the feels when Hazel joins El-ahrairah’s Owsla at the end.

The Bad:

There is nothing bad about this book, though if I truly wanted to nitpick, I can say the man characters are difficult to understand sometimes. The way their speech is written is confusing and it does take a bit to process. But that is just splitting hairs at this point.

Rating:

5 out of 5