Publisher: Macmillan (Trade Paperback – 8 June 2021)
Series: Standalone/Book One
Length: 422 pages
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Are you ready to check out one of the most unique and creatively complex debuts of 2021? Then buckle yourself in and get ready to play the Game, as new author Terry Miles presents his weirdly compelling science fiction thriller, Rabbits.
What happens in the game, stays in the game…
Rabbits is a secret, dangerous and sometimes fatal underground game. The rewards for winning are unclear, but there are rumours of money, CIA recruitment or even immortality. Or it might unlock the universe’s greatest secrets. But everyone knows that the deeper you get, the more deadly the game becomes – and the body count is rising. Since the game first started, ten iterations have taken place… and the eleventh round is about to begin.
K can’t get enough of the game and has been trying to find a way in for years. Then Alan Scarpio, reclusive billionaire and alleged Rabbits winner, shows up out of nowhere. And he charges K with a desperate mission. Something has gone badly wrong with the game and K needs to fix it – before Eleven starts – or the world will pay the price.
Five days later, Scarpio is declared missing.
Two weeks after that Eleven begins, so K blows the deadline.
And suddenly, the fate of the entire universe is at stake.
Rabbits is a fascinating and complex novel that I was lucky enough to receive a copy of a few weeks ago. I have to admit that when I first received this novel I had no idea what I was in for as I was expecting something a little simpler, like a computer game giving out unique challenges. However, Rabbits was a much more insane and complicated science fiction story than I ever imagined, as the protagonist and his friends find themselves falling down a deep rabbit hole. The Game, also known as Rabbits, leads the protagonist into a world of shifting patterns, strange coincidences and slightly different alternate realities, as they attempt to get to the heart of the Game and the people trying to manipulate it.
In reviewing this book, I found that Rabbits is a rather hard novel to describe, especially as Miles has gone out of his way to make his narrative as unique and complex as possible. The entire story appears at times to be a mass of convoluted ideas that revolve around the somewhat ill-defined game which forms the centre of the entire book. As Rabbits progresses, the reader is subjected to a weird array of storylines, which mix strange patterns and coincidences, with journeys into alternate realities, overarching conspiracies and complex tale surrounding point-of-view character K. While the plot of Rabbits is a little confusing at times, there is a really intriguing and compelling story behind this book that becomes rather addictive the more you dive into, very much like the game it describes.
Miles sets up his novel beautifully, and the reader is quickly introduced to some of the key concepts of the Game and the personal history of K. This introduction proves to be a good grounding to the rest of the novel, and readers will quickly find themselves flying through the rest of the book, especially as they become invested in the protagonist’s quest to learn about the Game, as well as the great conspiracy that is being formed around it. Rabbits proves to be a very fast-paced book, and I found myself getting really attached to K and his friends, who are a fun group of conspiracy obsessed nerds. This entire story comes together with a fascinating and high-stakes conclusion, which does a good job wrapping up the entire narrative and providing the reader with some closure. An overall fun, if unpredictable story, readers who check this one out will be in for a very interesting time.
One of the most entertaining elements of this book is the constant stream of pop-culture references that Miles loads into his story. The plot of Rabbits is filled with mentions of all sorts of movies, games, novels and famous figures, many of which are associated in some way with the Game, either directly (such as having a code hidden within it) or indirectly (details about them are changed in a new reality). Video games, particularly old arcade games, are strongly featured within Rabbits, and Miles provides so many different references or depictions of classic games or technology that will no-doubt appeal to game aficionados. Other cultural items, such as the film Donnie Darko (which has its own breed of rabbit in it) and the actor Jeff Goldblum (who appears in a very disturbing video that may or may not have happened), are also worked into the story, and it was fascinating to see the various connections they potentially have to this wide-reaching game. I really enjoyed the way Miles worked in all these references, cultural items and figures into his story, and readers will have fun recognising everything the author includes.
Rabbits ended up being a very interesting and memorable debut from Terry Miles, and I am glad that I checked it out. I really enjoyed the complex and thrilling narrative that Rabbits which will appeal to a wide range of readers. That being said, Rabbits will definitely not be everyone’s cup of tea, and I can see some readers struggling with it. But I felt that Rabbits was worth making the effort to get through and I look forward to seeing what unique novels Miles comes up with in the future.