Bunner offers a debut madcap tale about a vegan dragon.
Dogo, the youngest of 10 dragons living in the Cave of Saltpeter, is bullied by his brothers and sisters because he doesn’t like to eat people and can’t even breathe fire. As a result, he’s convinced that he was never meant to be a dragon. One day, Dogo’s siblings dress him up in an old bunny suit they find in their cave. Humiliated, he leaves home but soon discovers that no creatures are afraid of him—as long as they think he’s only a giant rabbit. He comes across Falabella, a blind farm girl, and convinces her to let him work on the farm in exchange for some vegetables. When Dogo’s brother Adalhard finds him there, though, he forces Dogo to agree to eat a person; if he doesn’t, Adalhard says he’ll devour Falabella and her miniature horse, Mabel. Dogo decides to eat a prince, and, in a farcical scene, he attacks the royal castle. However, he only manages to steal the prince’s bow, although the prince and his courtiers are left looking ridiculous. Soon afterward, Dogo runs into a band of rabbit brigands, who try to rob him. The rabbits all speak with lisps, and when they mistake Dogo for an overgrown rabbit, they call him “gwandular prwabeum” (glandular problem). This joke is sometimes overdone, though; at another point, the rabbits chant, “Ya gwet what ya gwet when ya gwet what ya gwet”—for two pages. The story soon turns dark; in a flashback, Falabella is orphaned and nearly raped. The story’s suggestive language and grotesque deaths signal that this fantasy, although mostly populated by animals, may not be suitable for younger readers. Also, its overall tendency toward wordiness as well as its lack of chapter breaks contribute to making it feel way too long. The final battle has a high body count, with many characters meeting appropriately disgusting ends.
Humor and absurdity enliven this overlong fantasy.