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My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Monday, June 7, 2021

ARC Review: Rabbits by Terry Miles

Please Note:  I received an advance copy of this novel from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions in my review in any way.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Conspiracies abound in this surreal and yet all-too-real technothriller in which a deadly underground alternate reality game might just be altering reality itself, set in the same world as the popular Rabbits podcast.

It's an average work day. You've been wrapped up in a task, and you check the clock when you come up for air--4:44 pm. You go to check your email, and 44 unread messages have built up. With a shock, you realize it is April 4th--4/4. And when you get in your car to drive home, your odometer reads 44,444. Coincidence? Or have you just seen the edge of a rabbit hole?

Rabbits is a mysterious alternate reality game so vast it uses our global reality as its canvas. Since the game first started in 1959, ten iterations have appeared and nine winners have been declared. Their identities are unknown. So is their reward, which is whispered to be NSA or CIA recruitment, vast wealth, immortality, or perhaps even the key to unlocking the secrets of the universe itself. But the deeper you get, the more deadly the game becomes. Players have died in the past--and the body count is rising.

And now the eleventh round is about to begin. Enter K--a Rabbits obsessive who has been trying to find a way into the game for years. That path opens when K is approached by billionaire Alan Scarpio, the alleged winner of the sixth iteration. Scarpio says that something has gone wrong with the game and that K needs to fix it before Eleven starts or the whole world will pay the price.

Five days later, Scarpio is declared missing. Two weeks after that, K blows the deadline and Eleven begins. And suddenly, the fate of the entire universe is at stake.

Review:

It seems that more people believe in conspiracy theories now than every before.  I think that's because there's too much information for us to consume.  It is impossible to keep up with everything that is going on, so we might easily believe we are missing something big happening right under our noses.  It's this paranoia that fuels conspiracy theories.  The book Rabbits, by Terry Miles, feeds into this by being about a vast, secret game where the winners will get untold riches and their heart's desire if only they can find the clues.  Although it can get very twisty with its plot, this had wonderful characters, and lots of mystery.  It was a scary and enjoyable book.

What I Liked:

Characters:

I think there are many people who will identify with K.  He is an extreme gamer, getting a thrill from uncovering secret messages from books, social media, and pop culture. The subversive nature of Rabbits is extremely alluring to him.  But, he also can become obsessed with finding meaning in everything.  This is great for games, but exhausting for his friends.  I liked that K did want to work with his friends to solve the mystery.  He was not a loner.  Perhaps this is due to him losing his parents from a young age.

Chloe is also deeply interested in Rabbits.  But she doesn't get in so deep that she loses all sense of the real world.  She holds down a job, and is very responsible.  She cares deeply for K and her other friends.  And that is why she follows along on some of K's more hare-brained ideas.  She is looking out for him.

Concept:

This book is written by Terry Miles, who also has a podcast called "Rabbits" , which I started listening to after I read the book.  Both the podcast and the book capitalize on people's fears that we, as a culture, are being manipulated by some someone, or something that permeates all parts of society.  It's like a more subtle, non political, version of the Q conspiracy.  It's fascinating to see how easily people can get sucked in.  The game Rabbits utilizes all types of media to sprinkle clues around: social media, movies, books, political rhetoric, music, art, you name it.  I think if there would be a game such as Rabbits, it would be hard to keep it a secret, given how popular it would instantly become.


                         


Issues of Mental Health:

Part of the mystery of the book is whether or not K is playing a game called Rabbits, or is having a mental health episode.  It really could be either.  K shows signs of having a mental break from reality, with strange things happening that only he can see, losing minutes (and then, hours) of time, obsessive behavior, and paranoia.  While he realizes that he might have a mental illness, he also realizes that he can't confide in anyone.  Imagine if you experienced seeing really bizarre things, had physical symptoms of anxiety attacks, forgot what you were doing for days at a time.  You would desperately want to be believed.  Now imagine if you want to be believed, but you also secretly dread that you need help.  This may be what people struggling with mental illness experience. 

What I Was Mixed About:

While, of course, the plot of the book is meant to be twisty, it was sometimes hard to follow.  You will need to be really current on your pop culture, and have a working knowledge of Theoretical String Theory, to be able to follow all the action without getting lost, at least at some point.   I had to go back and re-read some passages to see if I could figure out what was happening.  It was at times both frustrating and really fun. 

Rating:  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Release Date:  June 8th, 2021

Author:  Terry Miles

Publisher: Del Rey Books

Genre:  Spectulative Fiction

Pager Length:  448 Pages

Source:  NetGalley

Format:  E-Book

Recommendation:  If you like a good conspiracy with lots of pop cultural references, you're in for a treat!  This was a really fun book.



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