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on April 10, 2000
I have just been reading some reviews of this, which go from excellent to awful in terms of how it is. I first would say that I have never encountered an author with the imagination of Mr. Adams. He is brilliant. Read WD. Read "Shardik". Read "The Plague Dogs". Read "Maia". I found the stories here wonderful and fascinating. El-ahrairah does not come off as a begger as some reviewers have said, but more of an epic hero than in WD. His journeys after the encounter with the Black Rabbit of Inle are indeed epic in scope and content. The "Rabbit's Ghost Story" was chilling and the tale of El-ahrairah's journey to the Kingdom of Yesterday, where a bison rules over all the animals and plants that were ever extinct is true genius. Enchanting writing. I found part III of the book a welcome return to much loved characters. Yes, this is not "Watership Down". Mr. Adams could never write something like that again. No one could. Trying to write a sequel to it is like someone writing a sequel to Victor Hugo's "Les Miserables" (which someone did a few years back: it was awful!) or writing a sequel to Tolstoy's "War And Peace". It just can't be done. What this book is is a wonderful companion and extension to the original story. I am further enriched by it and shall continue to look at those rabbits in the grassy meadow near my house with perpetual wonder and respect.
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on June 5, 2005
This book is not very similar to the original novel, which is what I think makes it so interesting and worthwhile to read. I definitely prefer the original, but I believe this work has something important to say. Each of the tales is worthy of the telling and the reading.

I probably will not re-read this as I have the original work, but I don't think I should be comparing this novel to the original one in this review. This is good storytelling in-and-of itself and does not need to be put side-by-side with Watership Down.

The shorter tales are excellent quick reading, and make this an easier book to pick up and put down in our busy lives. Much of what the author is saying in these tales is incredibly fascinating. I was particularly drawn to the paradox that the man-smell, which the rabbits would generally use as a reason to outcast one of their own, is actually what saves the warren. The wisdom of the characters to recognize this is nicely woven into the tale. As with his other works, Richard Adams shows incredible insight into our natural world, especially that of community living animals. It is nice to see humanity in these creatures; or rather, theirs reflected in us. (I am not sure which is more accurate.)

This is a nice collection of touching tales that definitely have something significant to say. As long as readers are not expecting a repeat of the original book, I believe this will be an enjoyable experience. Just don't expect it to read like a sequel.

J.H. Sweet, author of The Fairy Chronicles
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I always maintained that the stories told about El-ahrairah in "Watership Down" could stand on their own, even though they obviously related to what was happening or about to happen in the novel. This collection of short stories amply evidences the point and Adams explores a wider variety of tales than he did in his classic novel. However, I have to admit that this book also underscores how well those original stories fit into the plot of "Watership Down."
This collection is a pleasant return to the world of Watership Down. My advice is to read one a day. You do not want to sit down and go through all of them at once. You want to savor each one. We are lucky to be allowed back into this world, let's not make gluttons of ourselves.
Of course I had to go back and reread my favorite parts of the novel. You really have to think of this book as dessert. Adams could not return to the lives of Hazel, Fiver, Bigwig and the others without dispelling the magical charm of his original effort. Certainly none of us would want that and he is smart enough not to make the effort.
I am serious about the dessert metaphor. This is not "The Hobbit," and it should not serve as an introduction to the novel. It is to be enjoyed after the novel. This is important and you should not violate this rule in passing on your love of "Watership Down" to others.
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on September 7, 2001
For those who loved Watership Down for all its well-plotted adventures of Hazel and his friends who leave their home warren and journey out into the world, this book will probably pale in comparison. Tales from Watership Down is more a book of short stories, some loosely connected together, some not even related to one another. All the stories in this book are as fun to read as the short stories of El-ahrairha in the original book, but while those stories served mostly to further the plot and personify the rabbits by showing their mythology, these stories are just entertaining. I could understand how some readers would be dissapointed if they thought this book was a true sequel, but it does work nicely as a companion piece to the original.
I didn't quite find the stories at the end that continued the life of Hazel and the rabbits at Watership Down quite on par with what I remembered from the original. One of the great things about the original was how he characterized the different rabbits personalities, but they didn't seem quite as lifelike in this book. Still, if you loved Watership Down, how could you not want to read this book?
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on September 11, 2014
If you loved Watership down then it is worth it to spend time with Hazel and the gang one last time. If you are looking for a epic story like the original this is not it. It is more short stories that happened in the years after the original. Still worth the read.
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on May 18, 2001
Watership Down is one of my favorite books, and it has been for years. Every time I read it, I like it a little bit more. Needless to say, when I heard there was a sequel I was excited, and a little nervous. It's pretty common knowledge that sequels are never as good as originals, and the longer the author waits before writing a sequel, the worse it is likely to be. However, I was surprised at how bad Tales from Watership Down actually was. It's a bunch of short stories, which is fine, except... well, 2/3 of the book is stories about El-ahrairah, and these stories unoriginal, pointless, and (in the case of the cow story and Bluebell's story) ridiculously bad. If this weren't bad enough, the tiny part of the book that does focus on the rabbits of Watership Down is focused mainly on new, shallow, characters about whom I could care less. There is a good ghost story, and a story about Campion, but too much of the plot depends on a "secret river" which is Lapine for "heavy-handed plot device." Even the original characters are caricaturized, and Bigwig, arguably one of the best characters from the first book, is so obnoxious that he's barely recognizable. I wish that Adams had rereleased Watership Down in hardcover. The best part of the sequel was the artwork on the dust jacket.
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on November 3, 2005
I haven't read the first book yet, but since everybody else says this book is worse than the first, gosh, I'm going to love the first book. If there's the one greatest thing in this book I must capitalize upon, it would be Speedwell's Story. If you haven't read the book, and want someone to spoil for you, here are three words: sky-blue horse (Or is that two?) I like the El-Thingummy stories best. You should try this book if you like rabbits. I like rabbits!
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I'm not entirely sure about this sequel Adams has written. "Watership Down" is without a doubt one of my favorite books in the world. I've literally read my way through several copies. I awaited the sequel breathlessly and pounced on it when it came out in paperback.
Overall it's great. One section devotes itself to El-ahrairah, the Prince Rabbit, in a long series of connected short stories. One section devotes itself to the Watership Down warren after the battle with Efrafa. These are enjoyable, with the same deft touches one sees in other Adams books. They're not as well-written as "Watership Down", being altogether fluffier, but that almost goes without saying. There's less of a sense of urgency about the stories, I suppose.
The middle section, however, is a disappointment. Preachy and flakey, it is a demonstration of the very wackiest of wacky New Age "We are the World" mishmash beliefs, with forced storylines galore. Only the most fervent ecological nuts could possibly think this has any value as narrative. Other than that, the stories are fun to read -- and Kehaar's in the last section, so what else could one ask?
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on April 14, 2000
If you have read the reviews which are favorable, and are still hopeful that this book is even similar in its scope and depth to the first novel, you may be sorely disappointed. I had put off reading this book for a long while, having heard how awful it is, but I finally gave in to boredom and borrowed my brother's copy (which he had liked so little that he had left it discarded at my parents' home). From the onset, I could tell that it would be a dull read, and indeed it was. I could scarecely imagine that Adams, such an imaginative author, had actually penned this! It was haphazard in arrangement, with none of the description and depth which I know Adams could have portrayed. The characters seemed only shadows of what they had once been, and the dialog and plot strained and forced. It was as if Adams had bowed to his publishers and written this sequel to appease them only, and not because he felt it would make a good story. I was astounded to see an entirely different mood... one that seemed more human that rabbit (and readers of the first book wil know that Adams CAN portray rabbits convincingly). It almost seemed to contradict the first story in some ways (such as the violent reaction to a hutch-kept rabbit in the story "Stonecrop"), and just seemed like so much FILLER. The characters were lost, the new rabbits introduced were hollow, the stories were seemingly pulled from the air with no thought or reason, the legends were obviously meant to be analogies (there was no sublety as in the first work) but instead were blatant, and it just seemed EMPTY. I hae been completely disheartened by this book, and am almost angry at Adams for having allowed it to be published. One can tell that he put little thought into it. The vivid descriptions, realistic characters, and the astounding submergence into the lapine world which made Watership Down my favorite novel were not only absent... they were almost opposite of what I found in Tales.
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on March 16, 2015
This book is best read immediately following the brilliant novel on which it is based, while you are still under it's spell. As a standalone book, it doesn't work that well. The fables organized in the first section of the book are particularly pointless on their own, though the stories in the latter part are more interesting.
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