Any good-hearted, whimsy-favoring reader, from acned to aged, who delights in chaotically fantastical or fantastically chaotic narratives involving the quest for one’s authentic identity and place in the world will surely enjoy Gabe Hudson’s debut novel ... one of Hudson’s main achievements in the book: vividly fleshing out the unrepentant, Darwinian, nihilistic, amoral dragon civilization ... The second accomplishment of the tale is the gleeful farrago of SF tropes that are mashed together, making this book a true instance of satirical science fiction rather than any kind of fantasy ... Gork, the Teenage Dragon offers us the insights and pleasures of seeing an absurdist, more savage version of our own bestial arena, a vision that makes us rethink our own default derangements.
Gabe Hudson’s new novel is much like its title character and teen narrator — goofy, eager-to-please and a bit annoying ... Hudson seems to be taking cues from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels and Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, with perhaps a smattering of Kurt Vonnegut, Joseph Campbell and Mark Twain thrown in for good measure. If Gork’s narrative voice can be a little overbearing and repetitive over the course of nearly 400 pages, chalk it up to adolescent exuberance. Anyone who has ever sat through a teenage rom-com can chart the arc of this narrative, but the fun is in the gonzo, sci-fi/fantasy details. Sweet-natured Gork faces deadly threats and learns lessons about love, poetry, and his own strengths and weaknesses. By the time he returns to Earth for the final battle, only the hardest-hearted reader will begrudge him his moment of glory.
...an uneven [novel] whose execution doesn’t live up to its premise ... For one, I wondered about Hudson’s intended audience. The storytelling feels too libidinous and crude (and occasionally gruesome) for middle grade or young adult readers...Yet the humor and action seem too slapstick to appeal to most adult readers. And Gork’s voice — a crucial element, since he’s a first-person, present-tense narrator — often lands like a dead weight on the page ... Hudson’s bigger obstacle is that most of the novel’s events unfold on that single EggHarvest day. The pace slows to a crawl. One can sense Hudson running out of ways to thwart Gork from getting the girl. Hence, many repetitive scenes describe encounters with bullies.
...a terrifically goofy romp that’s part Harry Potter (but with dragons), part Pretty in Pink or Sixteen Candles, a little Star Wars, maybe a dash of Game of Thrones, but mostly its own unique thing ... Effects doesn’t always follow cause in this novel, but that’s quite alright. I mean, we’re talking about teenage dragons here. Literal teenage dragons. The story’s whimsy and humor keep the plot moving ... This fantasy is mostly good fun. There’s a bit of a shift in the second half of the novel to short, breathless chapters as the action speeds up. These often feel less like they’re urging us on and more like they’re just rushed. And some certainly could’ve been trimmed from this 400-plus-page novel. But that’s a minor complaint in the grand scheme of an overall enjoyable, hilarious, satisfyingly fun read.
Although immediately challenged to survive, Gork also faces the typical pits and pratfalls of a teenage human--with the inherent insecurity, shifting social alliances and mystery of how to break into the dating scene. Hudson often plays the awkward stage for a laugh, particularly in Gork's cheerful determination to court Runcita, which he refuses to acknowledge as a suicide mission. The pursuit leads Gork through the halls of his school, the Underworld and the lair of Dr. Terrible, a frenetic tour that constantly gives the audience new reasons to chuckle or goggle. Though the conceit of a high-tech society populated by dragons skews toward quirky, Hudson revels in his unusual world ... Big-hearted and gawky, Gork gives us a lovable loser sure to win the hearts of sci-fi readers and fans of offbeat comedies.
The whole novel reads like a mad scramble to find the right date for prom, complete with nerds and jocks—but mainly dragons. Recommend this one to fans of offbeat science fiction and fantasy, such as the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series.
It's hard not to love a story about a dragon with a spaceship that cribs its plot from a John Hughes movie ... If it all sounds a bit crazy, it is, in a weird and kind of wonderful way that combines immature humor with a heartfelt coming-of-age story. The hyperkinetic teen-dragon comedy-romance you never knew you wanted.
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.