Gork, the Teenage Dragon || A Book Review

 

Cover of Gork, the Teenage Dragon

Cover of Gork, the Teenage Dragon

This novel follows Gork a teenage dragon as he attempts to woo the “luscious chick” Runcita to be his Queen for the EggHarvest, a tradition for teenage dragons before they leave to colonize their own planet to continue the domination of dragon-kind over the rest of the galaxy. Moments of this book were a ton of fun, learning about dragon history from a teenage dragon who just wants to set the record straight was a blast, the tone hit the right amount of disappointment and snark to make a believable teenager: “The most offensive book out there about us dragons is the lunatic ravings of a man-creature that goes by the name of Mr. J.R.R. Tolkien” (4). The world that Hudson has built is fascinating and all encompassing, throughout Gork’s tale he gives us flashbacks to important moments in dragon history. This world creation was the strongest thing about this novel.

 

Spoilers under the cut

As fun as this novel is if Gork didn’t continually remind us that he was a dragon by constantly referring to “my scaly green ass” this would have felt like some nice-guy’s manifesto about why he deserved a girlfriend– or mate– for the egg-harvest. Somehow he manages to over sexualize a dragon, Runcita is described as being: “stacked, and the way she bounces when she walks, it’s a wonder she’s able to keep all those glorious scaly curves moving in unison like that. It’d probably be easier to control a herd of camels” (44). I struggled to create this image in my mind, I’m not sure how a dragon would be stacked, where that would come in for a giant reptilian beast and the comparison of her curves to a herd of camels was even more difficult to understand. I’ve heard my fair share of bad metaphors for a human body growing up, but camels is a difficult one. This objectification of the female-dragon-body continues throughout the text and is the one that I got hung up on and couldn’t seem to get over. Through this, I think Hudson was able to encapsulate a teenage voice in ways that adult fiction often doesn’t, so I’m going to put my discomfort off as the reason that I hate talking to teenage boys about anything.

This story is set up to be told through a single day, Gork’s last day of school as he hunts of the perfect mate for his egg-harvest mission at times this doesn’t make sense. Gork jumps back through time in order to share historical aspects that are important for the reader to be aware of, but in a story, that is being told in the present tense these moments are jarring, and there isn’t a clean switch between tenses and that threw me off and created unnecessary confusion. As a reader, you don’t know where the story is being told from. At the end of chapter 15 we’re given this sentence: “Now when I replay the events of this Crown Day in my scaly head, I’ve often wondered how things would’ve turned out if only I had stayed on the observation post that morning and listened to the robot’s warning” when every moment prior to and after this the story is being told in the present tense (176).  These moments of mild inconsistency in the perspective and tense were distracting from the story and made things hard to follow.

Recommendation: This was fun, and a different way to look at the world of dragons, I don’t know many stories told entirely from the perspective of a dragon, especially not an annoying and jarring teenage dragon with quite a few of your average teenage fallbacks. This is fun, I wouldn’t rush out and grab a copy for everyone you know, but if your library has it and you’re tired of reading books with fake dragons or representations like Smaug I’d check it out.

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