If it’s not already well established on my blog, let’s make something clear. I love stories about dragons, really can’t get enough of them. So when someone recommended Anne Mccaffrey’s Dragon Riders of Pern series, it wasn’t exactly a hard sell. I was really ready for a new epic series and thought this might fit the bill. At first it was a little difficult to get my head around what order to read the books, it seems that she wrote the main series and then a lot of prequels and sequels. This always begs the question, do you start with the prequels or the main story!
I decided to start with the first full novel Mccaffrey wrote in this series, Dragonflight, and work my way from there. I was also expecting a lot because in the author bio it mentioned that Mccaffery made a name for herself in 1967 with Restoree (which I must get a copy of) which was aimed as a ‘jab’ at the way women were portrayed in science fiction at the time.
For the first few pages of Dragonflight I’ll admit I was confused, there was no back story to set up the scene, I was right there straight into the world, wondering what it all meant. But two chapters in I was hooked, and I thought that she handled the world building smoothly and subtly so it was never like the information you needed to know was shoved in your face, yet I found out everything I needed.
The story is gripping, bearing in mind that it’s the first in a series a lot happens and it certainly works as a stand alone novel. I loved the portrayal of the dragons, and the dragon human relationships. They weren’t aloof or superior, they weren’t just creatures to be ridden. They also weren’t just humans in a dragons body, they feel, act and live by their own rules whilst still being linked with their human counterpart. What I also thought was interesting was that (no spoiler here) the enemy in the novel isn’t another group of people, the war they need to fight is quite different and I loved that change from ‘one king against another’ or even bad / good.
There were some elements I would have liked to know more about and hope that some of the later books night touch on as a short story or novella as I felt there were side stories worth a whole other adventure!
The characters were also interesting. I’m not sure quite how I felt about the portrayal of women. Lessa the main female character is certainly no damsel in distress and takes control of her own destiny. However a couple of lines about how F’lar the main male character was ‘always right’ did jar with me. It still seemed like man was the rational being and the woman the impulsive, slightly vindictive and jealous one. However, for the time this was written it’s still pretty progressive, and it’ll be interesting to see how the series develops.
It won’t be long until I’m onto book two – I’m actually making myself space out the books as I know I would read the next one right now! I’ll report back when I’m further down the line.
I’m probably really late to the party with this series, are there any other must-read dragon books?