Fiction (Saturday): Podkin One-Ear

My first novella, City of Kaiju, is finally out! Available through Amazon and Books2Read. You can see a preview of the very first chapter here. Help support a fresh new author with a fantastic read this summer.
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As much as I love dragons and swords, sometimes I have a softer side for the innocent and adorable animals. Rabbits have a special place in my heart, even more so than cats do. Besides Watership Down, it’s kinda rare to see rabbit based heroes taken seriously. This one tries to do it, but how well does it succeed? That’s what we’re here to find out.

Today’s novel is Podkin One-Ear, Book one of the Longwood series, but Kieran Larwood. You can buy it here. It’s an epic fantasy story set after the age of humanity and into the realm of the rabbits, following the tale of a spoiled prince, his know-it-all sister and their baby brother. Some things bugged me, but there’s definitely a tale to be told here. So let’s see what’s in store.

Podkin, the Lazy Prince

Podkin is the hero of this tale, who is also the laziest, most spoiled rabbit in the Munbury Warren. That was until an unstoppable force known as the Gorm invade and send the rabbits fleeing for their lives. Their adventure takes them to many places, including a slum warren where they struggle to survive. But as the hero, Podkin must face the Gorm and the evil Scramashank and protect the tide of the Gorm army.

This was a fun, yet dark story being told. The trio are fun to follow along with and have some great character development. I definitely have a Watership Down feel and has a similar feel while not being as violent. I will confess that this is a story for older kids, perhaps around the 10-13 age group. Rabbits are often seen as kids material, but this can be enjoyable by adults as well.

Feels a lot like my characters. Podkin is the spoiled brat who never bothered to use a sword, Paz is a complete know it all who acts like a parent to Podkin and Pook, the baby, is adorable and not as invasive as most toddler characters are, who only get in the way. It’s hard to accomplish and it’s part of why I don’t write toddler characters since they’re usually defaulted to annoying characters who do, well, toddler stuff. Pook doesn’t do that and I commend the author for it.

The story itself was fun to go through and had plenty of calm moments along with moments of tragedy and seriousness. Part of me felt it was a little too dark for its core audience and felt more mature than it actually was, but I don’t think it got too comical for that. I appreciate such a story being more mature in the sense that it touched upon issues like death, betrayal, loneliness, and survival. Most stories skirt those kinds of things to be kid friendly, and while there’s nothing wrong with being more innocent in nature, sometimes a series can get too dark. It was much in the beginning but throughout the book, it tapered out and really shines in the middle part and towards the end.

Podkin was a very relatable hero. He’s pretty much most children. Spoiled, brash, impatient, and too hotheaded while still being pure at heart. His sister Paz was the only one who bothered to learn anything. She’s basically the brains of the group and the only one keeping Podkin in check. She would also be a princess in this case since Podkin would have inherited the Warren leadership, but so far, it doesn’t seem likely.

As mentioned, Pook is adorable and doesn’t get in the way. A very personified character, whose gift is being a natural gambler. He has an almost god-like luck enough to help Podkin in the darkest of situations. He definitely talks like a toddler, using basic words to describe things “soop” to describe soup. I admittedly enjoyed him most of all and as mentioned, it’s rare to find toddler characters who aren’t annoying or get in the way. He felt like a mascot hero, appealing to kids for certain. Kids would definitely have that connection to that younger sibling and protect them in a time of chaos such as this.

The writing is told from a storyteller who visits a warren on Bramblemas Eve, telling a story to a q as very curious litter of rabbits, who all had so many questions. I enjoy stories being told through the eyes of a storyteller, but whether or not they are real adds to the pleasure. It’s how I enjoy telling my stories, and great storytellers have many to tell. This had the whimsical fun that I hope to achieve one day. This is book one and other books are out now, but I will definitely pick them up.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a nice alternative to an epic fantasy series, this is it. It has a wonderful cast of characters, a fun plot, gripping storytelling, and plenty of adventure. It’s what I look for in a fantasy story and it hits every single note. I’m looking forward to more.

That’s all for today. If you liked this post and want to see more, I have a Ko-Fi page set up. Why spend three bucks on a Starbucks Coffee when you can help support hard-working authors like me? Every bit helps and keeps me going. So thank you, and remember, the inn is always open.

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