After a meeting where booksellers are pitched books coming out in the upcoming months, my fellow booksellers and I shuffled through boxes filled with books to choose from. The colorful spine and the fact that the words “Gork” and “dragon” were in the title intrigued me when my eyes first landed on this book, so I picked it up. Then I saw the cover and I. Was. Sold. I didn’t even need to read the synopsis… I knew this book was made for me. All the bright colors, the fact that I casually throw in the ‘rock on’ hand symbol into a conversation for reasons unknown by me, a teenage dragon that’s destined to be super angsty, and even more to reel me in.
Gork The Terrible is a senior at WarWings Military Academy for Draconum, and today is the annual Crown Day. What that means is that on this day Gork has to find another dragon to become his Queen. He and his Queen will fly a ship to a planet, conquer it, and lay eggs to take over said planet. But only if the beautiful, scaly dragon he asks says yes. If she says no, he will have to become a slave for the rest of his life. So essentially Gork is asking the lucky lady of his choice to prom. But a much more hardcore type of prom.
What ensues are a whole lot of random occurrences that you won’t expect and will certainly make you laugh. Told over the course of one day Gork tries desperately to get to the dragon he hopes to become his Queen, a dragon by the name of Runcita, who just so happens to be the most luscious, scaly chick at school (his words, not mine). Which is difficult when fellow dragons and other dragon-like creatures are getting in his way. Gork is ranked Snacklicious and is nicknamed Weaksauce; his horns are only inches tall and he recites poems out loud whenever they pop into his head. So he’s not exactly the coolest guy in school, and he is easily picked on and distracted while on his quest for his queen by fellow students and adults alike.
Dr. Terrible (aka Gork’s grandfather) is pretty awful. He’ll frustrate you, but he’s a Terrible… so what do you expect? Fribby’s a dragon, cyborg type thing… but also Gork’s best friend. Athenos II is Gork’s spaceship and not only has a mind of her own, but tentacles to match. Dean Floop, is the head of the school and also happens to be Runcita’s father. He doesn’t want Gork anywhere near his daughter. That’s just the tip of the hat on all the strange characters you’ll meet if you decide to go on this journey with Gork.
This story is amazingly clever and just downright funny. You will laugh out loud (rare in a book for me) and you’ll be surprised by all the turns this novel takes. It’s definitely not for children, so don’t let the playful cover trick you. Instead, it’s a nice break from all the seriousness of the world, and a palate cleanser from all the heavy fiction out there. It’s a trip you’ll be happy you took, and wouldn’t object to taking again in the future.
— review by Melissa Lojo, Master Bookseller