From the first page of this impressive debut novel, I was drawn into the dark world of Kai. A boy from a family ruled by drugs and petty crime that live on a council estate in Somerset.
The story jumps from telling the story through Kai’s eyes as a fifteen-year-old to recounting tales of his experience as a six-year-old. Right at the start we are told that Kai was happy until he was six.
As I read through the events that had caused this deep unhappiness that surround Kai, it was hard not to be horrified. It tells of things that no child should have to experience. But the book never feels over stretched or unreal. It reads in a way that seems totally believable. Both Karla Neblett’s writing style and the life of Kai have a rawness to them that compliment each other and bring this bleak story to life in an accessible and authentic way.
There were moments of light found is Kai’s relationships with his sisters and his faithful Nanny Sheila. All of whom show a love and support to Kai throughout. I also enjoyed the cultural 90’s references which felt familiar and real.
Overall, King of Rabbits is a story of a stolen childhood, a tale of miseducation and despair. A book that, although was not a book that brought me great joy, it was one that I felt calling me back to read on and I finished it in a few days.