As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t often read fantasy stories because I’m one of those strange people who struggles to suspend belief. However, Kieran Larwood’s Five Realms series has been recommended to me so many times that I decided to give the first in the series a shot, and I have to say that I loved it.

Podkin is the son of a warrior chieftain. He knows that one day it will be up to him to lead his warren and guard it in times of danger. But for now, he’s quite happy to laze around annoying his older sister Paz, and playing with his baby brother Pook. Then Podkin’s home is brutally attacked, and the young rabbits are forced to flee. The terrifying Gorm are on the rampage, and no one and nowhere is safe. With danger all around them, Podkin must protect his family, uncover his destiny and attempt to defeat the most horrifying enemy rabbitkind has ever known.

The kingdom of Five Realms is like Middle-earth for rabbits and The Legend of Podkin One-Ear has all the elements you could ask for: adventure, magic, battles between good and evil, suspense, bravery, friendship and excitement. The impressive world-building enabled me to immerse myself in the story right from the outset, which for some reason is key for me if I’m to enjoy a fantasy tale. The gripping plot kept me in suspense from beginning to end – a true page turner as I never knew what was around the corner – and I loved the concept of a rabbit Bard who entertains communities with his stories and is welcomed wherever he goes. I told Hugo about the plot last night: his eyes lit up with excitement and he immediately decided that this has to be next in the queue for our bedtime read aloud. With 3 more in the series, I suspect we’ll be going directly from one to the next…

The Legend of Podkin One-Ear
Author: Kieran Larwood
Publisher: Faber and Faber
ISBN: 9780571340200
Paperback: 288 pages

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