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Showing 1-10 of 794 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 1,973 reviews
on April 1, 2016
Richard Adams used to make up stories about little bunnies for his daughters during long car rides in the English country. One day, infuriated at a lousy children’s book he bought, he considered: “I can do better than that”. The result is one of England’s most beloved young reader’s novels.

The story of Watership Down, edited originally in 1972, starts when the rabbit Fiver begins to have visions showing a great catastrophe destroying his colony. “The field is full of blood”, he says. This trope is based on Cassandra’s myth, and much like the Greek prophetess, the little bunny’s visions are ignored by the leaders and only a small group decides to escape in search of a better place.

When my girlfriend asks her English friends about Watership Down their expression shows love and fear at the same time. Love because the animal characters actions and personalities are built in a very endearing way by the author. Fear because the little furry creature’s deaths are many and bloody. Like all good children’s literature, Watership Down does not insult the young reader’s intelligence with simplified messages.

The bunnies have anthropomorphic thoughts and can speak, but the book was built around real rabbit’s behavior, their organization, their ways of feeding, etc. It’s interesting how the author imagined how it would be a society of hunted creatures, instead of hunters like us. They are in a constant state of fear, always alert to any weird sound or noise.

Adams also created a sort bunny speak, called “Lapine”, that even without the depth of other literary created languages like those made by Tolkien, has consistent prefixes and endings to convey and exotic but realistic tone. The rabbits also have a rich mythology with several stories intertwined.

There is the solar god Fritz, the black rabbit Inlé (bringer of death), the primordial rabbit El-ahraiah and his many tales deceiving dogs or stealthily attacking gardens. The characters are very well constructed. Fiver is the prophet flirting with madness, Hazel the leader, Bigwig the warrior, Blackberry is pretty much the scientist, Dandelion is the bard, and entertains his friend with his tales. The book has a curious flavor, like a Greek tragedy or a Shakespearean epic only with bunnies.

One of the best books I have ever read. The ambience makes the reader really imagine how life is a few centimeters from the ground and think about how frail life is. And also about the number of stories that are hidden everywhere.
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on January 29, 2017
LOVED this book. There are very few novels that I ever read, probably about 2% of all my reading content, but this one was brilliant. I had first read this in the first couple years it came out but now with the death of the author I felt compelled to revisit it. What a joy to be with Hazel ,Fiver, Bigwig and Kehaar again. I love the style of writing although I did tend to skim over the landscape descriptions and the rabbit fairy tales. The lapine vocabulary was difficult to remember and mildy annoying to keep looking up the meanings. Those however were my only quibbles. Sometimes I really get the impression that British authors are really among the best on earth. This book was a gem and very engrossing. Knowing I had a flight coming up, I deliberately saved the battle scene (Efrafans versus Honeycomb) for the plane and sure enough, the flight passed very quickly and pleasantly. Be warned this is no "cute little bunnies" story, it is grim and gritty at times and mostly deals with male rabbits (who ,among other adventures, search to find females with which to populate their warren and so continue their legacy) Not recommended for young children. I'm hoping the new Watership Down movie due next year will do this book justice and keep the grittiness, the battle scenes and the brilliant dialogue.
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on July 25, 2015
OMG! I can't believe it has taken me all of these years to read this book! It was such a wonderful book. There were some sad things, but I was able to get through it.

I loved getting lost in this world of rabbits, where they talked of their fears, of things they needed to get done, the great camaraderie between each and every one of them. They were all so brave. I loved them all. I had a soft spot mostly for Hazel, Fiver, and Bigwig. I even loved Kehaar! They were all so wonderful and such little hero's!

Even though the rabbits where going through all of these hardships I felt like I was taken back in time... to a time of childhood and great things. I guess it's hard to explain, but I'm sure some of you know what I'm talking about. You didn't have to read this as a child to get that feeling.

I would recommend this book to anyone that hasn't read it yet. It will take you away to another world for a little bit of your life and it's worth it.

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on March 5, 2015
I may seem a little biased in this review being that this is my number one all-time favorite novel, but I will attempt to be objective. I have read this novel so many times that I have lost count and still with each reading I find something new and wonderful within Mr. Adams' writing and story. For one, the descriptions of the natural settings of Watership Down and the surrounding environs (sadly no more due to housing development) are so beautiful; you hear the sounds of the rain falling on the down, the wind through the trees, the distant clop of horse hooves from a nearby farm, the chatter of birds and insects at dusk. The descriptive writing is truly wonderful. I also so much enjoy the rabbit "mythology" given to the reader via the stories of El-Ahrairah and his faithful companion Rabscuttle. Sometimes humorous, sometimes dark and haunting, these are truly small works of creative genius. One component I really attached to with this latest reading was the connection of all nature, from the kestrel to the mouse, the fox and weasel to the rabbit. One feels so much the interconnected circles and pathways of nature in this story and this is again a real credit to Mr. Adams incredible writing. And finally, the story itself, which without would leave this a hollow novel indeed. The story is full of adventure, drama, mystery, heroism, and very much brings to mind the classic Greek tales such as Homer's "Odyssey". All this in a book about rabbits. And yet, it is so much more than just a book about rabbits, and I hope this review will do justice to that fact. My favorite novel, hands down. Can't wait to read it again!
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on December 13, 2015
Born in 1963 am I, and so I am a rabbit under the Chinese horoscope. So this amazingly anthropomorphic tale of a gang of rabbits with magnetic personalities had an even greater effect on me. It didn't take too long to be completely mesmerised by BigWig, Hazel, and Fiver to share great angst and anxiety for their fate as they went about their great project to set up their own warren. It was their beautiful friendship and self sacrificial care for one another that has made Watership Down so utterly beautiful and emotionally heart wrenching. I was a mess by the time I got to the Epilogue. I would have been completely destroyed if BigWig was not alive.

Richard Adams was absolutely a genius relaying this rabbits tale anthropomorphically yet never make us forget that this is a tale about rabbits whose primeval instincts were to survive and propagate itself.
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on September 4, 2013
This is a review of the very large, very heavy Scribner Classics hardcover edition, with the brown cover and gold type. You may want to buy this edition (as I did) because you think this is a classic worth passing along to your children. Is it worth it? As mentioned, it's VERY LARGE and VERY HEAVY. You or your child must have strong hands or a sturdy lap for comfortable reading. The illustrations are very colorful, beautiful, and detailed (although I thought the facial expressions could be better, since the rabbits' personalities are so important to the story).

Where the publisher dropped the ball, in my opinion, is in the cover. They could have given this a classic cloth cover which would last for generations. Instead they used some kind of plastic-cardboard amalgam (that is just my guess-- I have no idea what the material really is) with the type printed right on it, and no dust jacket. It guess it's nice that you can print with such fine detail right on the cover these days. But I read the book a few months after buying it, and the cover already has an odd feel to it, not quite sticky, just strange. I am guessing that years from now, it will have a sticky feeling like old plastic sometimes gets.

As far as the story: it is as wonderful as I remember from my own childhood, and I do look forward to my daughter reading it. I hope the expensive edition I bought holds up well.
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on March 30, 2016
Isabella Perez
Mrs. Mayer
Language Arts 8
March 30, 2016
I thought this was a great book because of it lively detail and its action. Watership Down is about a group of rabbits on a journey to find their new home and gaining or making new friends along the way. In this book the group of rabbits lead by Hazel or other wise known as Hazel-rah encounters many problems. The biggest one being their fight against Efrafa and this would be known as Man vs Man. This adventure takes place in their down known as Watership Down and in the Efrafa warren. Surrounded by trees, grass, and flowers this would look to be the perfect place for rabbits, but humans and predators are a big problem. In this fight with the Efrafans, they encounter many difficulties because their officers are strong and very well trained. And Woundwort, the Efrafa general and leader, is harsh and very cruel and gives no mercy towards Hazel's group. They also experience a problem with the lack of does in their warren. To solve this problem they seek does from Nuthanger farm and from Efrafa. But it definitely didn't come easy with hazel almost losing his life in Nuthanger farm and everyone almost losing their lives to the Efrafans. But thankfully Hazel had a strong bread and willed rabbit in his group, Bigwig. Bigwig, takes on the Efrafans and with help from their friend with feathers Kahar, they managed to bring does back to their warren in one piece. And the author really made this clear and detailed with a great plot for the story. This book definitely kept me entertained.I thought this was a great book because of it lively detail and its action. Watership Down is about a group of rabbits on a journey to find their new home and gaining or making new friends along the way. In this book the group of rabbits lead by Hazel or other wise known as Hazel-rah encounters many problems. The biggest one being their fight against Efrafa and this would be known as Man vs Man. This adventure takes place in their down known as Watership Down and in the Efrafa warren. Surrounded by trees, grass, and flowers this would look to be the perfect place for rabbits, but humans and predators are a big problem. In this fight with the Efrafans, they encounter many difficulties because their officers are strong and very well trained. And Woundwort, the Efrafa general and leader, is harsh and very cruel and gives no mercy towards Hazel's group. They also experience a problem with the lack of does in their warren. To solve this problem they seek does from Nuthanger farm and from Efrafa. But it definitely didn't come easy with hazel almost losing his life in Nuthanger farm and everyone almost losing their lives to the Efrafans. But thankfully Hazel had a strong bread and willed rabbit in his group, Bigwig. Bigwig, takes on the Efrafans and with help from their friend with feathers Kahar, they managed to bring does back to their warren in one piece. And the author really made this clear and detailed with a great plot for the story. This book definitely kept me entertained.
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on October 18, 2015
For as long as I can remember, there had always been someone telling me to read this book. Like most recommendations, I took this one with a grain of salt. Finally two years ago, I gave in to the constant hounding and bought the book. The only thing left to do was to read it, which ultimately didn't occur until two weeks ago. Now that I've finished it, I feel like I have a duty to recommend this book to others. It's been a while since I've read something that has truly touched me and made me feel as though I was part of the story. Hazel and his group of rabbits are extremely lifelike and likeable. The use of the Lapine language and the stories of El-ahrairah give so much depth to this congregation of rabbits. I kept telling myself while reading that they were rabbits and I was crazy for loving this story, which was about rabbits. Rabbits?! Who writes about rabbits and does it so well? Apparently Richard Adams does. Do yourself a favor and read this book now. Don't put it off, thinking you'll get to it eventually. I waited my whole life to read this book and I honestly can't wait to read it again. And one piece of advice, have tissue handy when you get to the end. You'll definitely need them.
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on December 3, 2013
Richard Adams' novel Watership Down revolves around a group of everyday English rabbits who leave their warren in search of a better home. Their activities are comprised mainly of things like eating grass, raiding gardens, and running from predators.

So what makes this story so interesting? It's this: these rabbits believe in a God, and this conviction infuses them with a sense of purpose and destiny that casts the world around them in a very interesting light.

Not only do these rabbits believe in God, but they have a culture. There is a social hierarchy. They have an oral tradition of mythological folk lore featuring the legendary rabbit El-Ahrairah, which provides context for their place in the world and their struggles within it. They speak a distinct language from other animals; they use neologisms that don't translate into English; there is even a crude lingua franca between similar species.

One of Adams' greatest achievements is that his rabbits never cease to be rabbits. In fact, they seem all the more rabbit-y for what they think and believe as a result of their limited understanding. For example, they can't count above the number four, so every number above four they simply call "five." There's nothing particularly rabbitish about this, though it's exactly the kind of thing you might expect a talking rabbit to think.

Although it's marketed as a children's book, Watership Down possesses a gravitas that will draw in readers of all ages. One of the very first scenes features a clairvoyant hare who has an apocalyptic vision of a field covered in blood. Although simple in some ways, the characters display tremendous emotional complexity as they struggle to come to grips with things like death and oppression. And there is just enough hint of the paranormal dabbled throughout the text to provide a numinous aura without indulging in the fantastic.

The only drawback to the story is the limited scope in plot. Not that there isn't plenty happening--there is. But there's only so much dynamic you can squeeze from a 500-page story about rabbits traversing the English countryside. It's a good read, though frequently cumbersome. The strength of novel is in how it pulls you down to the rabbits' level in order to show our world with fresh eyes, in all its strangeness and mystery.
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on December 8, 2016
I love this book so much and in a digital age, it is very nice to have such a beautiful physical copy. The artwork complements the book perfectly.
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