Title: The Quest for the Holy Hummus and The Vegan Charade (The Chickpea Chronicles #1 and #2)
Author: James Allinson
Publication date: May 11, 2021
Genre: Fantasy, Satire
One Sentence Summary: George, a vegan dragon, just wants some hummus, so wanders into People Town and finds a place where he belongs, though escaping the other dragons isn’t quite as easy as he thought.
The Quest for the Holy Hummus and The Vegan Charade are the first two volumes in The Chickpea Chronicles. The first is more of a setup and introduction to the series while the second really gets into it, but they really need to be take together. Between the two, it’s about George the vegan dragon sparking a rumor and then needing to do something about it to prevent a war. Both of these stories are full of humor and today’s buzzwords, poking fun at our society while also providing a fun story with characters who are just as much fun. And a vegan dragon! What could be more fun?
George is an oddity in Dragonville. As a vegan who strongly clings to law and order (the total opposite of literally every other dragon), he lives on the outskirts and is basically a hermit. In People Town, Julian is desperately clinging to his organic, etc. Farmer Fred’s whole foods store, now knowing his savior is just a short walk away.
It all starts with hummus. George wants some and can only get it in People Town. Of course, it’s a bit treacherous traveling through Dragonville, but he persists, only to scare the good people of People Town right into dragon territory. George is intent on making things right and may set off a rumor about dragon behavior that he’ll have to deal with in the near future in the process, but he really is a decent dragon, and Julian really could use his help.
Thus starts George’s journey into finding a home.
The fact that this series has a vegan dragon instantly caught my attention. Without even knowing it’s all satire, I knew it was going to be a ton of fun. And it is! Especially if you enjoy humorous reads liberally peppered with today’s buzzwords. I had a ton of fun reading this.
Initially, this volume was split into two stories. It’s easy to see how they connect, but they also feel like two distinct stories. The Quest for the Holy Hummus is all setup and introduction and, by the author’s own admission, a solid 3.5. I’m inclined to agree. There isn’t much complexity to it, though it had a fun plot of a dragon on a quest for hummus. But it’s quick, so it doesn’t allow for too much to actually happen, which means it just really sets up the second story. The Vegan Charade is so much better with more complexity, a deeper look at other characters, and even has some political maneuverings. Though it definitely relies on what The Quest for the Holy Hummus contains and can’t truly function on its own.
I’d have to say the weakest part of this would be the world building. The general layout is given, but I really just have to believe that it all works. It seemed strange to me the people didn’t know anything about the dragons, but I was tickled by how each species has its very own place and that they were unique to each creature. I did love how the people, dragons, and ogres were all distinct and had their own beliefs and ideas. It did make them feel a little too rigid and stereotyped, but it was still a lot of fun. Overall, it creates three different buckets each character falls into depending on their species, so it really is very nice George is completely different from every other dragon, taking himself out of the dragon bucket and depositing himself elsewhere.
Despite the characters all feeling one note, I did enjoy them. Their personalities were strong and they were really committed to them. George, as the main character, was the most complex, and I absolutely loved him. I have a hard time picturing a five ton dragon living among people, but he really is such a decent dragon that I wouldn’t mind being his neighbor. Julian is a bit sneakier and less upright citizen than George (seriously, a lot of what he does is questionable at best), but he’s absolutely committed to who he is, and he and George really do end up making a good team. I wish there had been more of Julian in The Vegan Charade, but there was enough going on, and more than enough of Julian in the first story to make up for it. The amateur drama group George ends up joining was a blast to read. I was so amused by them that I kind of want to see one of their plays. There are so many strong personalities, and they don’t always mesh well, creating some interesting scenarios in the story.
Where The Quest for the Holy Hummus was simplistic and a good opener to the series, The Vegan Charade is where the story starts to shine. The first half did feel a little more focused on the dragons and ogres and the second half on George so it felt uneven, but I honestly had so much fun reading it all that I didn’t care. The same humor and satire is woven throughout the entire story and it’s all written at such a great pace that it’s easy to fly through the pages. Overall, the two stories put together are about how George sparks a rumor and has to deal with the aftermath of it.
I cannot reiterate enough how much fun it was to read The Quest for the Holy Hummus and The Vegan Charade. There are long lists of buzzwords as well as some fun dragon and ogre characterizations. Absolutely none of this is meant to be taken seriously, making plenty of room for a reader to just sit back and enjoy. This is a fast-paced, humorous read with some really fun characters, though none can quite beat a vegan dragon.
Great if you like:
- quick, fast-paced reads
How many cups of tea will you need?
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