cover image Gork, the Teenage Dragon

Gork, the Teenage Dragon

Gabe Hudson. Knopf, $24.95 (400p) ISBN 978-0-375-41396-4

The sorrows of adolescent dragon Gork the Terrible start when he’s hatched on Earth, the honeymoon destination of his parents, who were killed when their spaceship crashed there. He’s raised by his sentient spaceship until he’s three and then rescued by his fiendish grandfather, Dr. Terrible, and taken to the dragons’ home planet, Blegwethia. Gork, cursed with laughably tiny horns, a tendency to faint in moments of crisis, and a compassionate heart—the last of which is considered the greatest failing for a dragon—is a teenage enrollee at the WarWings Academy when he faces the ultimate challenge: win the luscious chick Runcita Floop as his queen, or become a slave for life. Gork’s amusing growing-up story unfolds in vignettes of encounters with various kooky fellow dragons and episodes of Dr. Terrible’s battles with Runcita’s father, Dean Floop. Throughout, Hudson makes generally witty and occasionally brilliant reflections on humans’ often reptilian behavior. Each time Gork’s soft heart gets him in trouble with his peers and superiors, it marks a stage in his scaly maturation, until finally he finds his true love and accepts his destiny not as a fire-belching killer but as a sensitive poet. Though the fun starts to wear thin over time, Hudson’s cleverly plotted and executed tale allows for a number of insights into the beastly adolescent behavior that can bedevil humans of all ages. Agent: Susan Golomb, Writers House. (July)