Friday, June 28, 2013

Artful Readers Club June - The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse by Robert Rankin

It's time for another artful read - and I'm glad to be here, as I wasn't entirely sure I'd be finished in time to take part this month - but I made it by the skin of my teeth - hooray!

Part of the delay was down to reading the book late in the month .... my original planned title for June was another Robert Rankin book - the Toyminator - but when I picked it up to start it, I discovered it was actually the second book in a two-parter.

Not wanting to read part 2 before part 1, I ordered the original - the Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse - online, but it didn't arrive until mid June, which put me on the back foot.

Luckily it was a fairly quick read, and I just about had time to write this review and whip up my art piece, and so here I am :)

This is, apparently, Robert Rankins's 24th book - I had no idea he had written so many! I have read and enjoyed many (but it seems, nowhere near all) of his books in the past - and particularly enjoyed what I have read from the Brentford Trilogy (which is somewhat of a misnomer as I believe there are 9 books in that particular series so far!)

Rankin is the master of humorous (bordering on downright silly), fantasy fiction, full of bad puns and running gags and surreal situations.  And this book was no different.

It had all of the classic Rankin trademarks, it was an enjoyable enough read, and I'm definitely going to read the sequel, but I have to be honest, it was not my absolute favourite of his books.

I'm putting that down to the setting - usually his books are set in a fairly realistic and recognisable urban kind of environment, populated largely by fairly realistic and recognisable human characters, even if the story itself veers far from realism.  But this book is set in Toy Town, the lead character is a talking teddy bear, and most of the other lead roles are filled by either other toys, or nursery rhyme characters.

I had a similar problem when another of my favourite authors, Jasper Fforde, set a book in a nursery rhyme environment.  Maybe I just prefer my crazy surreal fantasy stories to be a little more relatable?? (and yes, I know that makes no sense)

But, don't let me put you off, it was a funny book, well plotted, there's a serial killer on the loose in Toy Town and our heroes solve the case and save the day and have some fun adventures along the way.  I can't really fault the book other than to say that the author's other books are even better!

So - in summary - read the Brentford Trilogy instead :D

For my accompanying artwork this month, I painted one of the eponymous chocolate bunnies (he's supposed to look a bit evil, with his devil's eye, but instead he ended up looking equal parts cute and delicious, but not particularly menacing....).  And then I added one of the classic Rankin running gags ("it must be a tradition, or an old charter or something" - which appears in all his books at least once, I counted two times in this one) using hand drawn 'word art':

Next month I'll be reading Black Coffee Blues by Henry Rollins, a total change of pace from what I've read the past few times - see you again in late July .....


Gina said...

LOVE the book titles lol...wait....I think I may have a Rankin in my collection?...Did he write one about witches and football?
And who wouldn't love your evil chocolate bunny? *off to search book shelves for Rankin* :D XXX

Sarah said...

hi Gina - yes he did, the Witches of Chiswick, I haven't read that one yet

Virginia said...

Oh that sounds fun and strange at the same time - I however adore the art work. I'm running behind and haven't finished my book - grrrr - task for the weekend perhaps?

Magaly Guerrero said...

Sometimes a book just don't click with us. I really love Melissa Marr's writing, for instance, but there was one of her books that just didn't do it for me. So I get it.

The chocolate bunny looks a bit evil with that uncanny red eye, but you tell it that I would bite his head off anyway ;-D

abby j said...

Great book title...that would draw me in immediately!! Good review... not sure it's for me, but interested enough to take a look at a bookstore!! Your art is adorable...the menacing red eye adds the danger element!! I, like Magaly, would bite off his head anytime!! :)

San @ Made in Hem said...

Oh, I love that Word Art!!! How did you make it?
Thanks for another author to add to my must read once-list! :-)

Janet said...

Your chocolate bunny looks good enough to eat! I am very out of step as fantasy fiction doesn't rock my boat at all. Enjoyed reading your review.


Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

The book title had me smiling, and, since I love a good mystery, I was intrigued, even if it did involve a teddy bear and the gorgeous image of a chocolate bunny. This was a fun read.

DocAngi said...

Sounds like a YUMMY read. Bruhahaha. I love Jasper Fjorde, so I will look into Robert Rankin. Thanks for introducing me to a similar author who writes quirky fantasy/sci-fi. The artwork looks equally delicious! Great review and artwork. I love the word art and the awesome looking, menacing chocolate menacing as a choc. bunny can look, eh. LOL

Julie Lee said...

The ARC certainly opens my eyes to all the different types of fiction there are out there! This genre sounds really extraordinary. It gives the impression that the writer's imagination could take him/her off anywhere, yet I reckon you probably have to be very disciplined to write this sort of thing! I loved your review, as it really got to grips with some of the problems of fantasy when it comes to suspending disbelief!!! Your bunny looks amazing and really reflects what must be a deliciously quirky book! Julie Ann xxx

Unknown said...

Don't think this is a book for me but what a fun title and I adore the art work LOTS! Great writing/journaling love how you have done this yourself, very clever and your bunny does indeed look good enough to eat YUMMY!

Jen said...

Intriguing book. Good review which made me think that even if this is not my usual cup of tea I should give Rankin a try. Like your hand drawn quote, super and that bunny does look very edible, cute or evil.
Jen x

Leialoha said...

That is such an interesting idea putting the same running gag in all his to find...a serial killer in toy town...evil!
Your word art is FABulous! the bunny looks good enough to take a big bite out of, yummy.

Jez said...

I love the encircling lines radiating behind your bunny .... And perhaps part of his evil nature is to make himself look cute and innocent. That purple background is delicious and the green text contrasts so well.
I'm a sucker for a good title like this, but I don't think I could take to a toytown story. Though I did enjoy the movie Toy Story!