As I’ve been reading (and rereading) a lot of Terry Pratchett’s work lately for this site, I was recommended, probably by Goodreads, work by another British fantasy humorist named Robert Rankin.
I opted for the book The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse. How was it? See it after the cut. May be some mild SPOILERS.
OK, first off…in general, I have noticed that books with very silly titles often suffer from having the silly title be the best part of the book. Keep that in mind.
The book, also known as the first in the Eddie Bear series, follows 13 year old Jack, last name unknown, who makes his way to the big city to earn his fortune. Once there, he is surprised to find that the city in question, Toy City, is inhabited mostly by sentient toys. He meets a teddy bear named Eddie. Eddie is a detective, and the partner/bear of Bill Winkie, a famous detective.
If that name sounds at all familiar, its because Bill is also one Wee Willy Winkie. The human inhabitants of Toy City are largely nursery rhyme characters who made a lot of money off the royalties from their rhymes. Oh, and someone has been killing them in creative ways, leaving chocolate bunnies at the scene of the crime.
Rankin wrote the book in a style that sounds like it might have come from a children’s book, but the substance certainly isn’t. Even without the murders, which are often a wee bit on the gruesome side, there are still instances of sex, police brutality, suggestive language, and even a stray joke or two involving pedophilia. Rankin mixes that in with often simple word choices and lot of alliteration.
That said, I wasn’t much of a fan. All things being equal, the book was clever but didn’t do much for me. Many times awful situations would be avoided by Jack or Eddie, usually Jack, withholding information from the reader until it was convenient to reveal it (usually after Jack or Eddie was no longer in peril). One of them might be in real trouble, when something would save them, and the other would say how he knew it was coming and that was that. That bugged me a bit.
So, I’m giving the book, which wasn’t bad but didn’t do anything for me, 5 out of 10 melted chocolate bunnies.