Review: “Rabbit in the Road” by Danika D. Potts and Oliver Campbell

rabbitroadFinal Rating: threeandahalfcupscropped 3 1/2 cups of tea which asked, “Why did she do that?”

Available On: Goodreads

This book was something I pulled up at random on my Kindle a couple of nights ago, because I was in the mood for something short and kind of urban fantasy-ish. I have no idea when I downloaded Rabbit, or even why I was originally drawn to it; so I literally went into the book with zero expectations.

And yet, somehow, it still was not what I was expecting.

It drew me in pretty quickly with its visceral style, and I have to admit I find the idea of finding your “soulmate” but being utterly repulsed by them is a concept that really interests me. We’re often sold (usually by the romance genre) the idea that your “soulmate” is what makes you more complete; a better version of yourself. And that’s true in this book, as well: Bevie is her best, most powerful self when she’s with her soulmate. Except that he’s an emotionally manipulative user who doesn’t even see her as a person. So what are you supposed to do, when the one person on Earth who makes you feel like a god is someone who’s trying to use you up and then throw you away?

Bevie chooses to run, and each (save two) chapters of the book is named after whatever alias and identity she’s using at the time. I mention this specifically because the formatting of this book was horrible on my Kindle. The table of contents is just this huge, mashed-up mess of letters and numbers. WTF. I actually wondered if I hadn’t stumbled into an anthology for a second, because not only is the ToC messed up, but one of the chapters is named Rabbit in the Road, so naturally I wondered if they weren’t chapters, but individual stories instead. It makes more sense once you get going, thankfully.

Unfortunately, as with many short stories with interesting premises, the ending feels rushed and completely detached from everything else that’s happened. In fact, in my opinion, the second-to-last chapter of Rabbit completely ruin the book. For one thing, the penultimate chapter is literally nothing but slurs. There are so many of them, the sentences are barely sentences; more like run-off of a barrel of toxic sludge. I guess this is so we can all see what a “bad guy” Raymond is. (As if somehow, we didn’t already know that by now.) I mention this not necessarily because I was offended by any of them (because let’s be honest, I’ve heard it all before anyway), but because it came across as incredibly dull writing. Raymond literally talks like a YouTube commenter, (which given the profession of Mr. Campbell is maybe exactly who was being imitated) and it feels so lazy.

In fact, the whole chapter is lazy. It’s the one and only time we step outside Bevie’s PoV, and all so she can come in and “surprise” the other characters by doing something which makes absolutely no sense for her to do. It even goes against feelings and thoughts she had in the previous chapters, literal moments before! It’s like the author(s) wrote themselves into a corner, didn’t know how to back out of it in order to get to the ending they wanted, so they just had Bevie attack people for no reason to wipe the slate clean. And maybe there was a reason, but we’re too busy being stuck in Ray’s slur-filled headspace to ever get a glimpse of what it is. It’s a cheap move, and one which does a terrible disservice to an otherwise engaging book.

This is also not a good book for you if you are the sort of reader who needs to have questions answered. Very little is explained in this book. At first, this is because we’re under the conceit of Bevie being lied to and kept in the dark. Since Rabbit is written in first person, naturally we know only what she knows. That’s fine. But again, towards the end, there was a perfect opportunity to fill both Bevie and the reader in a bit more on what’s going on in this world…and the authors just don’t. Again, it felt like they really wanted to have that specific ending to their novel, and they didn’t care how much plot they had to shred in order to get it there. After all, who needs exposition when your destination is already predetermined?

So yeah. All in all, I’d say I liked this book, but there are some serious issues with the ending. I hope the authors don’t replicate these mistakes in their future work, because there really is a lot of potential here and I would love to read something from them again that didn’t end on such a confusing note. I’d recommend getting this book if it’s on sale.

For those of you who will be reading this: Trigger warnings for blood, extreme gore, ableist slurs, gendered slurs, and hateful language apply. There may also be some other stuff I missed because to be honest with you, I skimmed over the nasty shit pretty quickly. I don’t need that kind of crap in my head late at night.

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