Book 2 of the War Bunny Chronicles

Fiction - Fantasy - General
395 Pages
Reviewed on 05/24/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite

Christopher St. John's War Bunny Chronicles and book two, Summerday, offer the series' progression in a vivid depiction of a dystopian future in which humans are wiped out and have been supplanted by animals. Situated in the Million Acre Wood, the novel unfolds against the backdrop of a sacrificial ritual where animals that are considered prey have been brainwashed into thinking this is a blessing and the natural order of the predator-prey social contract. The central character, a rabbit called Anastasia, challenges the prevailing belief system and is shunned for it. Anastasia works hard and fast to get other animals to see that the system is faulty and not to be blindly followed. When the predators begin to starve, they also pull fighters to their side to reassert their place through war.

Summerday by Christopher St. John is an uncomfortable mirror that we can hold up for ourselves in a universal story of those who have and those who do not. In multiple strokes of smart symbolism, the novel's critical inquiry into the power structures of society is underpinned by themes of resistance, hierarchy, and the non-human humanesque impact on the natural environment. Most novels in the genre attempting to portray a dystopian vision of the future are presented to serve as a cautionary warning for our current times. Summerday goes for the jugular by showing our current time as the cautionary tale itself, the 'weak' and 'lesser' animals feeding the powerful. One could question that blind devotion to the word of Yah reflects how so many justify what, according to the Yahs up there, is the natural order of things. By highlighting the consequences of imbalanced domination over the natural world, St. John builds a rather delightful bunny war story with moments of humor, visions of violence, and the championing of the underbunnies.

Scott Cahan

Summerday by Christopher St. John is a fantasy novel where humans have destroyed themselves, leaving behind animals to compete for survival and power. Rabbits are the main focus here, along with several other smaller species of animals who assist in their cause for freedom. The Summerday wolf clan and an assorted group of other predators are the enemies. It's the hunters versus the hunted. Through several exciting events, the strong and brave rabbits' leader, Anastasia, inspires her nation of smaller animals to do something no rabbits, squirrels, mice, or songbirds have ever done; fight for their lives.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Summerday. Christopher St. John has an enjoyable way with words that makes this story feel like it was written long ago and passed down through generations. The plot moves seamlessly from character to character, showing us all sides of the conflict and keeping things moving quickly. The story delves into the minds and personal lives of animals on both sides of the battle, making us care about the wolves and coyotes almost as much as the smaller animals. Summerday boasts a large cast of characters, each with names and distinct personalities.

Even though I had not read the first book in the series, War Bunny, it didn’t take me long to become familiar with them all, thanks to the author’s fantastic ability to define each bunny, wolf, crow, and rat through unique characteristics, ways of talking, quirks, and more. I’ve always said the formula for a great book is to have strong characters and a strong plot. Both elements must be present, or your book will fall flat. Summerday meets my criteria 100 percent. It is an excellent story with great characters that should not be missed.

Jamie Michele

Summerday by Christopher St. John is a dystopian novel set in the far future where humans, called by the surviving species of animals as the Dead Gods, and animals in a strict hierarchy are all that remain. Summerday is the sequel to War Bunny in the War Bunny Chronicles. Million Acre Wood is the setting and the rabbits believe that Yah has ordained them to be Glorified, which means food for the predators that roam in a process called the Giving. The rabbit Anastasia of Bloody Thorn Warren is fed up and after she escapes an attack, goes home and questions Yah's mercy, leading to her exile. Anastasia takes the opportunity to forge alliances with other animals and the predators in the Warren Sans Gloire encounter fierce resistance. Summerday continues their plight, confronting the wolves and coyotes, who are landlords and rent collectors, and who face severe famine. War is waged and Anastasia mobilizes her allies and bunny troops while the Summerday Clan wolves summon the hunters of the woodland to join the fray.

“Your lives are on the line. Just like ours.” She sat up tall, spreading her forepaws. “Welcome to the Free Peoples.” In the interests of full disclosure, I had not read War Bunny before starting Summerday. I immediately rectified this one chapter in after being hooked but somewhat lost in the sequel, and committing myself fully to the War Bunny Chronicles by Christopher St. John. The series is a marvel of creativity and an interesting twist on standard dystopian fare—bad pun regretfully intended. A war of animals, predator versus prey, reads to me like the classic literature of my youth with a contemporary outlook that catapults it into a book that even the most fickle middle-grade and teen readers will appreciate. The dialogue is modern with words like 'hella' and 'aggro.' As an adult 'of a certain age,' I absolutely loved it. I chuckled at some of the more nuanced nods that St. John incorporates, like the animals named Lorazepam and Wellbutrin, that highlight the intelligent wit of the overall story. This is a wonderful bit of escapism and I would give it a whole bucket full of stars if I could.

K.C. Finn

Summerday by Christopher St. John is a work of fiction that combines fantasy, adventure, and a collection of remarkable creatures. It forms the second novel of the highly engaging post-apocalyptic War Bunny Chronicles. The work is suitable for young adult and adult readers alike. Following on from the adventures of War Bunny, we find the rebellious Anastasia and her friends embroiled in a new fight for survival as they encounter the wolves of the Summerday Clan in the Million Acre Wood. Continuing the fight to escape being viewed as prey will be harder than ever with dangerous golden wolves on their trail.

Christopher St. John has penned an inventive and engaging gem with War Bunny, and it’s incredible to see the series growing and thriving even more in this new installment. I enjoy the rebellious spirit and post-modern mindset of the central character, Anastasia, and her drive holds the other characters together as they fight the good fight and have us rooting for them every step of the way. I was also immersed in the beauty, drama, and danger of the woodland setting of this dystopian, post-human world, which feels so eerily empty and yet teeming with life at the same time. I’d say that another favorite feature of mine was the dialogue presentation, which feels distinctly animalistic and suited to each type of animal character, but also resonates on a deeply human emotional level. I would highly recommend Summerday to fantasy fans everywhere, and I cannot wait to see where the series takes us next.

Stephanie Chapman

Summerday is the second book in The War Bunny Chronicles by Christopher St. John. Anastasia is pursuing freedom. Bricabrac, a craft rat, has assisted her cause by creating armor and weapons. A group of rabbits kills Edouard, a packmate of Gaeton and Lilou. Gaeton reports the coyote’s death to Aliyah and Alaric. Aliyah takes the weapon Gaeton brought to the clan leaders, Micah and Sephora. The Million Acre Wood is running short of prey. The Summerday Clan sent crows on a reconnaissance. A report of an uprising shows groups of animals preparing for a battle. Olympia, the mother of Anastasia, tries to prevent the rebellion. The wolves end a truce with the raccoons by targeting them as a food source. In the fight between prey and predators, faith, alliances, and friendships are all put to the test.

Christopher St. John writes from the perspective of multiple characters. Anastasia is persuasive in her efforts to gain support. I felt bad for Freddie, as he had feelings for her, but Anastasia seemed keen on Coriander. Aliyah's confusion grows as her parents rely on the input of the crows to make decisions. She dislikes how the clan killed the raccoons, especially since she had grown up with several as friends. The dystopian landscape details were vivid. I laughed when the scraps of trash were seen as messages. They used a three-hundred-year-old letter to guide them to a hidden bunker. The inner thoughts of every animal displayed their motivation. There was never a dull moment in the entire story. I recommend Summerday to readers who like tales of animals personified and how they overcame their adversaries.