Cover Image: King of Rabbits

King of Rabbits

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Member Reviews

A book that unfortunately I have really tried to connect with but after mtiple attempts have had to admit defeat. I struggled to really get into it and so wasn't able to absorb the characters as much as I should.
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Finding this one hard to review as the content of this book is heartbreaking! It’s one that I had to pick up and put down as I found sone bits difficult to read. This is not a reflection of the writing as the book is written well!
Kai is a wonderful character but would have been nice to see a bit more growth from him.
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I found this story quite intense, at times I struggled with areas that didn’t grip me or flow quite so well. Overall a good story but quite heavy. Kai was a beautiful character but it would have been nice to see a bit more growth with him.
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I quite liked this book but I struggled with some parts and passages. I’ll be interested in other books by this author though.
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This book appealed to me from the blurb but in spite of attempting to get into this book I just could not seem to connect at all. I know many folk have really enjoyed it but it was not for me. Thanks to Netgalley & the publisher for letting me try to read this book
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King of Rabbits by Karla Neblett

This novel left me very uncomfortable and sad.  The story is about Kai (nick-named Rabbit as he loves to run and is obsessed with Rabbits), a mixed-race boy whose mother is black, is with her third partner, and has children from multiple fathers.  Her current partner is Rabbit’s father and is Welsh with no occupation but is a thief, breaking into properties and bringing home the proceeds as if they are bonuses.

When we meet Kai, he is a teenager and hanging outside a prison.  We know he is nervous and he does not go in but is thinking about someone inside he would like to see.  His thoughts are erratic and we find out he hides his true self from everyone in his conversation with his eldest sister.  We get an insight into the confusion and disillusion he has through his thoughts and reactions to his life. We view the world through his eyes and he shares dreams, that sound like hallucinations created by drug use, with the reader.

We then switch to Kai when he was younger, primary aged and more optimistic, positive about life.  His love of running and his best friend, Saffie, who he wishes to fly to the moon with, to a secret garden where no one else can get to them.  We journey with him as he tries to make sense of his relationships with his family and the life he has at home.  The lack of stability even from those he expects it from. His confusion and lack of understanding of the responses and reactions of those around him. Trying to deal with his parent’s unstable relationship and their own lack of direction, the spiral of alcohol and increasingly stronger drugs.  That he is the only male child in the family and so has a different status to his sisters despite being the youngest.  School tries to reach out and support him but there is too much going on for them to succeed and his personal view of himself becomes very negative.  Once tragedy starts to hit his young life he becomes disconnected from reality and even the school support seems to disappear. 

The story switches between him at these two points in his life until it brings us up to the present.  The episodic nature helps us to understand the young adult more as a product of his upbringing and life in a council estate with drug addicted parents.

There is only a light touch on racism with one incident shared in primary, but it highlights the depth of his anger, his frustration at not understanding.  

His eldest sister’s grandmother, Sheila is pious and churchgoing, she tries to help him and the family, but it always feels too little too late. She is in a gay relationship, again a point of confusion for him. 

None of the relationships around Kai are typical almost as if the author wanted them to be exaggerated and dysfunctional emphasising his lack of direction and the disempowerment he feels, even his girlfriend has to get him drunk to sleep with her.  He experiences losses and is steered towards a life he does not want, and he is shown as powerless to control his own destiny.

This is a novel outlining how our children can be let down by systems because we don’t want to believe, they do not have a voice, or others hide the truth effectively letting children fall through the cracks in society.  This is beautifully written to show the impact all of this has on those children, the insight is heart-breaking – the author leaves the reader wanting to pick up Kai and hug him, reach out and do something to give him support.  

I received a free copy from netgally.com for my fair and honest review.
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This book tells the story of Kai. It’s told from the perspective of him as a 5 year old and him as a 15 year old. 5 year old Kai loves rabbits and his best friend Saffie.  He lives with his mum and dad and 3 half sisters. His mum and dad are drug users and Kai doesn’t really understand what that means. 15 year old Kai is trying not to turn into his Dad but it’s not that easy 
I absolutely adored Kai and loved this book. I will recommending it to everyone!
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Kai is six years old and loves his Dad, his Mum and his best friend Saffie.  He lives on a council estate in the country where his skin colour sets him apart from the other children.  His Dad is a petty criminal who is pulling his Mum into drug addiction to the despair of his Nanny Sheila and his three half-sisters.  When tragedy strikes Kai's life changes and is set on a course leading to a sad denouement.
This is a really wonderful book, so gently written the unfolding drama of Kai's early life is juxtaposed with his adolescence as life inevitably unfolds.  It may be a cliche but it's also incredibly realistic.  The writing is subtle and quiet which suits the pace of the story.
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I really wanted to rave about this book but sadly have to admit that I was bored and sometimes confused as the ‘voice’ of Kai didn’t really change from six years old to when he was 15. However it picked up in the last quarter and I thought the ending was the best part.  The problems of two drug taking parents in a disfunctional family were quite well depicted but I thought the sisters were very two dimensional. The most rounded character was Nanny Sheila but even her character wasn’t totally shown. This book is not bad but it’s not great. It’s more meh.
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Thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for the ARe-copy in exchange for this honest review.
I found this a really hard-going read. Kai is a lovable character both in the narratives that relate to his six-year old experiences and those that have moved forward in time to when he is 15. He has so much love to give and is so eager to discover his world and all that it holds. And yet he is continuously neglected by his parents as he witnesses their chaotic self-destruction into lives utterly consumed by drink and drugs. This heartbreaking journey leads Kai to discoveries about tragedy and loss which make this book so painful to read as he experiences more and more awful things. This book says some important things about class, addiction and childhood trauma, and how it erodes the innocence and love the young Kai has. However, there is hope as he matures that he will make it in the end.
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What a heart-breaking read. This is so well written it creeped right into my heart.  This book will definitely stay with me for a long time.  A very insightful and powerful story!
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Kai has 3 olde sisters and live with his mom and dad, both alcoholic and drug users. Kai loves rabbits, his best friend Saffie and spending time in his den. 
The struggles to grow up in a family like Kai's have repercussions on his mental health.

This is a story of too many kids in England, however even though the interesting social topic, I didn't get into the book until halfway. I couldn't pinpoint the two timelines and Kai's age in both.
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Strange and unsettling.
It took me a while to get into this book. Not knowing much about drug terminology apart from the names of some of the drugs I was unaware of some of the ways of taking them.
Kai is the youngest child and only boy in the family, he has three sisters and fortunately for him, a caring Grandmother. His parents come across as well intentioned towards their children, but addiction and a life of crime gets the better of them..
The only good things in Kai's life seem to disappear leaving him angry and frustrated leading him to relay on drugs and violent behaviour. 
Well described characters although none that I warmed to except Nan.
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Young Kai lives in poverty in rural Somerset in a mixed-race family with his sisters (who have different fathers) and his parents. His Mum drinks and from time to time walks out, his Dad is a thief and crack addict who delights in encouraging Kai to follow in his footsteps. The bright spots in his life are his best friend, Saffie, and the school rabbit. Kai's older sister Leah is there for him and is set to rise above her background, and his Nanny Sheila offers what support she can, but as the narrative switches from Kai aged 6 to his teenage years, we can see how he begins to spiral downwards and tragedy awaits. This was a heartfelt and well-written novel about the rural underclass and the negative effects of family influence, but I found it extremely bleak and could not find any sympathy for the feckless parents. I felt there needed to be more light among the darkness.
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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC.

This book reminded me of Douglas Stuart's recent Booker winner in that it explores the perspective of a working class family struggling with addiction, something that isn't explored much in literary fiction. I sometimes felt the description was a bit flowery, particularly of Kai's younger viewpoint, but the urgency of the issues being discussed overrode this.  Neblett writes eloquently of the realities of drug addiction, abuse and mental health, as well as grief, and the end is particularly powerful.
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A harrowing account of the life of a young boy.

I managed to read 9% of the book until I reached a point where I had to decide “Can I truly become invested in the life of a young boy whose family are so depraved?” The answer was a resounding “No!” 

It seems that 2021 is the year of authors addressing family issues and unfortunately, The King Rabbit came into my life after a series of books relating to the horrors children are subjected to. This one the most harrowing of the lot. 

I can’t fault Karla Neblett’s writing. It’s a very beautifully written book, it’s just the subject. 

Rony

Elite Reviewing Group received a copy of the book to review.
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This is a wonderfully written, insightful and heart breaking read. Kai, the young boy from whose perspective the book is written is aged 6 and 15 as it gives his story at those 2 ages. He is truly a victim of circumstance, living on a rough estate with parents who do drugs right in front of him. He has loving sisters and grandmother but their love just doesn't seem enough to cancel all the other bad things. I think it is superbly written and gives a real insight into that tough life. Thank you to the author, Netgalley and publisher for my arc, I will certainly keep an eye out for more books by this author.
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This was an extremely well written, but incredibly sad story of a disadvantaged boy called Kai.
Raised in Somerset, his mother is black and his father white. It is not a story of racial inequality but rather social and economic inequality. Told from Kais perspective as a naive, unaffected 5 year old who one cannot help but empathise with, and as a fifteen year old whose life path seems inevitable. A bleak, but necessary insight into the factors that precipitate and  perpetuate inequality in GB today.
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This was a really moving and poingnant read. 
The narrative runs along two timelines. When Kai was a young boy and the troubles and issues he faces and witnesses with his parents and those around him and Kai as a teenager and how those early years have shaped his life. Reading between these timelines it's easy to see how the circumstances a young child is brought up in can shape their lives. 
This book really brought home to me the realness that children are living in situations like Kai's and his sister's. And definitely brought a lot to reflect upon. 
It was at times hard to read but I would definitely recommend this book and look forward to the authors next book.
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One of my favourite books of the year. If you're in any way interested in friendship, poverty, forgiveness, love, time - life - then you must read this. I can't stop thinking about some of the passages in this book. This is what British fiction, and literary fiction more widely, should aspire towards
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