Book Cover
Title Dragonsong
Author Anne McCaffrey
Cover Art Rowena Morill
Publisher Bantam - 1988
First Printing 1976
Book Cover
Title Dragonsinger
Author Anne McCaffrey
Cover Art Rowena Morill
Publisher Bantam - 1986
First Printing 1977
Book Cover
Title Dragondrums
Author Anne McCaffrey
Cover Art Rowena Morill
Publisher Bantam - 1986
First Printing 1979
Category Science Fiction
Warnings None
Main Characters Menolly, Masterhaper Robinton, Piemur, Jaxom
Main Elements Dragons
Website ---

Click to read the summaryDragonsinger

Click to read the summaryDragonsong

Click to read the summaryDragondrums

Firelizards! Those cute but annoying miniature dragons from which the bigger ones introduced to us in the Dragonriders of Pern trilogy were genetically engineered. I first read this trilogy in high school, Dragonsinger was on my summer reading list. The main thing I took away from it was that I didn't want to be Menolly. Her family didn't appreciate her talents, so much so that they allowed an injury to heal badly so she couldn't play an instrument. And then when she is finally brought to the Harperhall, it was like like a summer camp tale from your worst nightmare, everyone picking on her, the masters terrifying.

Well, this year I'm re-reading the entire series as an adult and I was surprised, given my expectation above, that it was nowhere near as brutal as I had remembered it. Maybe as an adult and more confident in myself I could just shrug off the other girls at the Hall as being spoiled brats and that Menolly should just ignore them. I found myself enjoying the books, after all, Masterharper Robinton plays a major role here and he's my favorite character.

The Harpers are the keepers of the accumulate knowledge and history of Pern, and while yes, they play music to entertain and to teach, they also listen, as their job is as much to record the present as it is to recall the past. If I couldn't be a dragonrider a Harper would have come a close second.

The first two books focus on Menolly, as she struggles to find her place in her home hold, to discovering a clutch of firelizard eggs and Impressing nine quirky little characters, to becoming the first female harper. I will admit that in these first six books in the Pern series there are a lot of "firsts", to the point where you wonder what was going on the past few thousand years of Pern history, did nobody never do anything outstanding until Benden Weyr stepped up to lead a new way of thinking? First female Harper, first white dragon, first Lord Holder who was also a rider, first attempt to travel to the Red Star, rediscovery of a large number of things that had been lost for thousands of years (did not a single weyr brat run through those same tunnels as Jaxom and Felessan??). And all the wonders of the Southern Continent, first Impressed firelizards, discovering you could go between time...takes a little bit of suspension of belief that not a single person in the past was curious enough, or adventurous enough, to have discovered any one of these things before now. But then I guess that's what keeps these stories interesting, there's always something exciting happening!

Now the third book takes an interesting jump and moves away from Menolly to Piemur. This seems a pick unexpected but it is the Harper Hall trilogy, not the Menolly trilogy after all. Just as the third book in the Dragonriders jumps to Jaxom instead of Lessa and F'lar. This book also has a weird timing problem with The White Dragon. See the publishing order is the first two Dragonrider books, then the first two Harper Hall books, then The White Dragon, and only the Dragondrums. However it is clear that The White Dragon and Dragondrums were written by McCaffrey at the same time, as the one references events in the other, however they were published out of sequence, thus things are mentioned in passing in The White Dragon, that only get introduced in Dragondrums. So this is one case where I would recommend not following the publishing order.

Thus, six books in and I'm not yet tired of Pern, looking forward now to going to the past and meeting up with Moretta and Nerilka again in their re-reads next.

And for what it's worth, the covers of the Dragonriders made me familiar with Michael Whelan's are, just as the covers of Harper Hall made me familiar with Rowena. I haven't had that kind of experience sense, where I really bothered to look up more art by a specific cover artist.

Posted: February 2018


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