Author: Terry Miles
Publisher: Del Rey
Publication date: June 8, 2021
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Thriller
One Sentence Summary: A Rabbits fantatic, K is thrilled to meet Alan Scarpio, the potential winner of the sixth iteration of Rabbits, until Scarpio tells him he needs to fix the game before the eleventh iteration starts, otherwise everyone could be in danger.
Reading Rabbits is like falling down the rabbit hole. I expected a book inundated with video game, tech, and pop culture references that I probably wouldn’t understand, but, instead, I got a crazy journey where it didn’t matter if I understood any of it at all. I was lost and confused by the end, especially by how it all actually worked, but it also turned out to be an incredible adventure I don’t regret. It’s twisty with alternate dimensions, missing time, strange dreams, and even stranger clues. It was often hard to tell what, exactly, was going on. But the trip is definitely worth it.
There’s a game that uses the real world as it’s playing board. It’s called Rabbits and is all about finding the clues, finding the discrepancies, finding the coincidences, and following the trail to whatever the conclusion of the game is.
K has been obsessed with it since he was a teenager, since he was in the backseat of a car with sisters who were just getting started in it, until an accident suddenly halted them. Not long after, K’s parents die and he’s left on his own. Years later, he holds informal sessions about Rabbits in an arcade run by the Magician and where his friend Chloe works. Everything is normal, until K meets the legendary Alan Scarpio, the rumored winner of the sixth iteration of Rabbits, and Alan tells him K needs to fix the game before the eleventh iteration starts.
But, before K can learn more, Alan goes missing, and K has no idea what to do. With his friends Chloe and Baron, and the Magician doing his part to find information, K haphazardly tries to follow clues. Too late, though. The next iteration has started and players start dying and disappearing. K might be the key to fixing the game and saving the world.
Rabbits has to be the twistiest, craziest story I’ve ever read, but I loved it so much. It required me to read it closely so I wouldn’t miss any clues. Still, by the end, I had no idea how all the alternate dimensions worked so the end felt like a bit of a mess to me. But I think it was more fun to go on the journey with K than to really figure out what was going on. Following the clues was nutty, and I’m actually really glad the story didn’t go into too much detail to explain how each leap was made because it would have completely lost me.
K and Chloe are repeatedly told to stop playing the game. Of course, for two Rabbits addicts, it’s hard. It seemed even harder to stop when it felt like every clue, every discrepancy, was falling right in their laps. I loved how it both did and didn’t feel like they were playing. Playing the game just kind of happened. It felt like it was just something they were caught up in and couldn’t stop no matter how they tried.
Rabbits kept me on the edge of my seat. Part science fiction, part fantasy, part thriller, it even had some horror elements. All of it blended together perfectly to create the perfect tension, the perfect atmosphere, and the perfect way for me to blur reading fiction and living in reality.
But what was happening to K was incredibly wacky. The why behind it was a bit of a let down as I felt it took the easy way out, but I still really liked K, even if I had an easier time imagining him as a twenty-something instead of someone in their thirties or forties. All of the characters felt a little younger than I had calculated them to be, but I also frequently conveniently forgot that.
K has no one except his friends, so I liked how he felt quite comfortable on his own and with Chloe even while crazy things were happening around him. He definitely has a self-preservation streak, but his curiosity often got the better of him. Chloe, though, was a good partner for him. She kept him grounded and he watched out for her. They were an amazing duo who seemed capable of pulling everything off. I liked how they thought similarly, but also managed to add to each other. There was a light romantic edge to their relationship, but the romance is faint and nicely woven in without overpowering at all.
Set all across Seattle, I was a little disappointed it didn’t wander too far out of the city’s limits even though some clues indicated the larger world. Since Rabbits is a world wide game, I hoped for something more far flung, but it turned out that what was introduced was just right, even if it did seem just a little too convenient. It was fun to travel around Seattle.
All in all, Rabbits is not just a crazy game, but a crazy book I struggle to describe. At one point, it did feel like it was getting a little outlandish, but managed to kind of reel itself in. Full of alternate dimensions, time warps, old technology, and coincidences and discrepancies, Rabbits often felt like a mind boggling book, but will definitely take the reader on a journey.
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Thank you to Del Rey and NetGalley for a review copy. All opinions expressed are my own.