Review: The Dragonriders of Pern

   Posted by: Admin  in Path

The Dragonriders of Pern
The Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had never even heard of the Pern books before last year, although I am not sure why. McCaffrey published these books in the 70s, and so I would have been able to find them when I started voraciously reading Fantasy around 1985. Perhaps it was because I mainly focused on Dragonlance at the time. In any event, this series of books sets up quite an intriguing world.

This volume is a compilation of the first 3 books in the series: Dragonflight, Dragonquest, and The White Dragon.

Pern is a world where Dragons and humans work together to protect the land from what is called Thread, a burrowing silvery life form thing that seems to come from an orbiting celestial object. The technology is similar to what we think about as medieval, with some interesting additions that come from the “ancients” who seem to have known more about technology than the current inhabitants of Pern. However, I didn’t find that the setting felt medieval or a copy of what I read in dozens of other fantasy settings. The idea of a dragon home (weyr) and government system that supported them and the strange mating rituals of the dragons and riders, were quite interesting and provided plenty of conflict and tension. Since Pern is a whole world (although we only get to see the northern most part for most of the volume), there are lots of different regions and climates to experience so that it feels like there is always something more to see or learn.

The main characters threaded through most of the volume are F’Lar (a dragon rider), Lessa (a weyrwoman), Master Robinton (a Harper in the tradition of gypsy with a dash of court jester and a side of master manipulator), and (eventually) Jaxom (a future Lord of Ruatha Hold). I can’t say too much about them each without delving into spoilers, but I will say that they are each well developed and they grow and learn. It is nice to be able to follow their progress and cheer them on.

There are lots of mysteries and conflicts between Holds and Weyrs to keep things very interesting. I will say that it took me awhile to get into the last book in the set because it felt much slower and more focused on political issues rather than action and danger like the first two. But, I definitely felt myself looking for opportunities to read more and more as I neared the end of the book. I was fascinated by the planet and the discoveries they were making as I tried to anticipate what they might find or how it would impact the inhabitants of the planet.

I am curious about the rest of the series – I just don’t know if I am going to start adding them in now or wait until I’ve gotten my “To Read” pile a little smaller first.

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