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The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse (GollanczF.) Paperback – August 1, 2003

3.6 out of 5 stars 97 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Eddie Bear Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Like a mad toymaker's fever dream, Rankin's uproarious book imagines a town where toys and nursery rhymes come to life and pursue human activities: they walk, talk, eat, drink and commit heinous crimes. Thirteen-year-old Jack goes to the City to find his fortune, unaware that the City is in fact Toy City, where legends and fables walk (or stumble, if they've had too much to drink). He meets up with detective teddy bear Eddie, who is investigating the murder of Humpty Dumpty. When Little Boy Blue is offed, it's clear that a serial killer is prowling Toy City, leaving behind the titular chocolate bunnies as his calling card. Rankin doesn't just drop names of familiar characters but gives them riotous back stories: Miss Muffett hosts a daytime TV talk show called "The Tuffet"; Mother Goose (who prefers to be called Madame Goose) runs a brothel; Humpty Dumpty was likely a failed television stuntman named Terry Horsey. Although the story is wickedly clever and the payoff is a great and satisfying surprise, the real delight comes from watching Rankin work his linguistic magic: characters talk in hilariously circular and self-aware dialogue, and puns and wordplay are packed into the prose like sardines in a tin. Although substantially darker and edgier than the Hitchhiker's series, this gem will appeal to Douglas Adams fans, as well as lovers of British humor in general.
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Review

“Although substantially darker and edgier than the Hitchhiker's series, this gem will appeal to Douglas Adams fans…” -- PW Daily for Booksellers

“Rankin more than lives up to his deliriously inventive title…” -- Entertainment Weekly
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Product Details

  • Series: GollanczF.
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; New Ed edition (August 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575074019
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575074019
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 0.9 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,771,809 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Esther Schindler TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 26, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Unlike many of the reviewers here, I like The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse. I understand what the critics disliked; those faults simply didn't irritate me. Instead, I found the book very funny... assuming you can pry yourself into a sort-of Monty Python mood and not take it seriously.

The story's premise is simple enough to impart: boy goes to the big city to seek his fortune, only to discover that the city is occupied by talking toys and by nursery rhyme characters. He shortly finds himself in the role of detective (or detective's assistant, really; Eddie the teddy bear is the real brains, even if those brains are made of sawdust). But in a way the plot isn't important, just as the plot of, say, Monty Python and the Holy Grail isn't what you went to see.

The writer's style is self-indulgent, like an actor who is aware of the audience's presence and speaks to them. He toddles off onto tangents because, it's obvious, *he* wanted to go down that street to find out what the characters were doing and what was served at that bar. To a degree (or, assuming that I'm in the right mood), I like this; the author is having fun and taking you on his adventure.

Amazon kept insisting that I'd love this book because I bought so many books by Jasper Fforde. I wish I hadn't known that, because I expected it to be Fforde-like. It's clever and English and has lots of literary references (Rankin is subtle about some of them). But the tone is entirely different. Fforde's books *are* for when you want Serious Funny stuff; this one is best suited to reading with a glass of beer (wine is for Fforde) after a really lousy week at work, when you want to escape to a completely silly reality and it's too much trouble to find your Rocky Horror DVD.
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Format: Paperback
Basically, this is the kind of book where your reaction to the title and/or cover is a pretty good indicator of whether or not you'll enjoy the contents. It's silly stuff, sometimes dark, but mostly the kind of outsize fantasy/comedy British writers seem to manage to handle so well (Rankin is often mentioned in the same breath as Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams). The concept at work here is that a serial killer is on the loose in a city populated by toys, striking down the rich and famous -- namely notables from nursery rhyme fame, such as Humpty Dumpty, Little Boy Blue, et al. Into this killing zone stumbles Jack, a 13-year-old boy come to "seek his fortune" in the big city. But almost immediately upon his arrival, the big city seeks his fortune instead, leaving him mugged and penniless in an alleyway. Fortunately, a kindly teddy bear named Eddie comes along to take him under his paw and get him involved the mystery. It seems Eddie is the sidekick of Toy City's eminent detective Bill Winkie (aka Wee Willie Winkie), who has gone missing. Soon Jack and Eddie are racing across Toy City in clockwork cars, checking out murder scenes, visiting Madam Goose's house of ill repute, and getting sloshed at Tinto's Bar, as they attempt to solve the case. If this sounds somewhat reminiscent of the 1988 film "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?", it should.

Part of the fun comes from the spoofing of nursery rhymes and childhood toys, including comically gruesome murders, thriller/noir goofing, and totally tongue in cheek action. The other part of the fun comes from the wacky wordplay. Rankin is fond of alliteration, punning, double-entendres, repetition of stock phrases, and from the mouth of Eddie, the incomplete simile.
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Here's a sample of his writing style: "The moon, shining down upon the city, shone down also upon Jack, shone down upon the body of Jack, that was lying strewn in an alleyway. The moon didn't care too much about Jack. But then, the moon didn't care too much about anything. Caring wasn't in the moon's remit. The moon was just the moon, and on nights when there wasn't any cloud about, it just shone down, upon anything and everything really, it didn't matter what to the moon. The moon had seen most things before, and would surely see them again. And as for all the things that the moon hadn't seen, well, it would see them too eventually. On nights when there wasn't any cloud about. Not that it would care too much when it did. It was a moon thing, not caring. The moon couldn't help the way it was."

So, if you like this style enough to read 340 pages of it, go for it. If you are looking for a Douglas Adams clone, you'll be deeply disappointed. This book is in serious need of an editor and I believe the author got paid for this by the word because there was page after page of this kind of annoying and irrelevant pontificating that I found intolerable by about page 50. It's rare for me to give up on a book.
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I picked up Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse because of the absurd title. Never having read a Robert Rankin novel before, I wasn't prepared for how completely nutty he is. This book is hiliarious. Eddie Bear and Jack (from the human world) have to go through Toy City to discover who's murdering all the old heroes of the Nursery Rhymes-- or "pre-adolescent poetry personnages", as they prefer to be called. Fast-paced and action-packed, Rankin is a genius with wordplay and British wit. I know this book is hard to find in the States, and my assumption is that it's because of a thinly veiled reference to Bush and his wars near the end of the book. I don't think anyone in the states printed it, but you can find it pretty much anywhere in Canada or the UK, so get it, read it, and laugh hysterically.
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