Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey

dragonflight.jpgI’ve always been a huge fan of dragons and dragon stories. There’s something about these incredible beasts that just captures the imagination like no other. So many authors have entranced our minds with tales of dragons or included dragons in their stories and they’ve all added their own spin on dragon-lore. You might call Anne McCaffrey the queen of Dragon literature. She’s written more than just a series…it’s more of a saga…it’s called Pern. And it’s fantastic. The first trilogy that she wrote is The Dragonriders of Pern and the first book is Dragonflight.

It would be hard for me to give a synopsis of this story. There is so much involved in this story even though it’s not all that long. It’s a traditional fantasy set in the world of Pern. Dragonriders look after the world, protecting it from destructive threads that fall from the atmosphere as a red star passes. In return, the cities of the world support the dragons, their riders, and their Weyr (the caves in which they live). However, it’s been so long since the red star has passed that the cities no longer believe that it is a threat and will not pay their tithes. Meanwhile, the dragon queen is dying and has laid a new queen egg and the dragonriders are on a search to find a new Weyrwoman, a companion to the queen who will soon be hatched. They find her in Lessa, a young girl from the town of Ruatha. Lessa is an amazingly strong character with a very determined mind that frustrates her mate and the Weyrleader, F’lar to no end. But she will prove to be an assett to the cause. She has gifts that have not been seen in Pern in a long time.

The dragons that McCaffrey has created are simply amazing. Ramoth, Lessa’s queen is simply beautiful (from what I pictured). She goes into such vivid detail when describing her dragons and we as readers share the same bonds that the humans share with their dragons. And when we witness the first hatching, we can’t help but hold our breath and then feel warm and excited. Truly breathtaking stuff here!

If you’re into fantasy and haven’t read these yet, I’d consider it a must read. It’s most certainly a staple of fantasy literature and the defining series of dragon literature. And she’s still publishing these Pern books! In fact, if I’m right, I think her son has even tried his hand at a Pern book or two. I’ll most certainly be returning to the other two books in this series and I’m sure I’ll continue on from there. I know this is one of Deslily’s favorite series and you can read her review of this one here and she gives such a better review than I ever could!

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24 Responses

  1. I don’t believe I’ve ever read a dragon book, but I’ve got one in the living room. I’m too lazy to go see what it is and who wrote it. Sharon something, I think.

    Okay, I’ll go look. Sigh.

    Dragon’s Lair by Sharon Kay Penman. I also have His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik. Have you read either of those?

  2. I’ve got this on my bedside table. Can’t wait to read them. I wonder why I didn’t ever read these before. I just love the old covers too.

  3. I’m so glad you enjoyed this, Chris! I first read Dragonsinger and Dragonsong, and then I read this one – back in the 6th or 7th grade, I think. I think these were the books that pulled me into becoming a very dedicated fantasy and science fiction reader. I reread them every so often, just to return to that world and those characters I love so much. I’ll be looking forward to reading your reviews of the next books in the series!

  4. I haven’t read any McCaffrey, must remedy at some point. Thanks for the review, onto the long wish list it goes. πŸ™‚

    Speaking of dragons though, I’ve just started Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George. I’m enjoying it so far.

  5. Bookfool, Nope, I haven’t read either of those, but I’ve heard of the Novik book. It’s supposed to be really good. I love a good dragon story…they take me right back to my childhood. And I don’t even think I read many dragon books as a child. It’s just something about reading about these huge flying fantasy creatures and the way different authors portray them. McCaffrey’s are the best I’ve read!

    Nicola, I wish I could find the old covers! They’re so expensive though…I just pulled that image off of a google search. I read a Doubleday version which was torture on the eyes. It has the whole first trilogy in one book and the print is SO small…and the cover did nothing for me 😦 Hope you enjoy the book…I loved it!

    Darla, I can certainly see why these would make you a lover of sf/f! This is why I love doing book reviews…you get to hear stories from other people on how certain books impacted their lives. Deslily is a lot like you with these books…she rereads them quite a bit. Can’t wait for the sequels!

    Becky, You’ll love these when you get to them. And they fit with the Edwards challenge! It was my first read for it. Haven’t heard of Dragon Slippers…I’ll be looking forward to your review of it πŸ™‚

  6. I am soooo glad you are liking Pern!! This is such a good series of books! very strong characters (even nasty guys like Fax! ) the books get better with this trilogy ! The favorite of most who read them is the last one, “The White Dragon”.. so you have good stuff yet to come!!!

  7. These are some of my son’s absolute favorites. He regularly re-reads them. He also loved the Novik books and recently purchased the entire series so I guess that ‘s a strong recommendation.

    I keep meaning to get around to these but you know the saying, so many books, so little time. πŸ™‚

    Happy reading!
    Amy

  8. As I told Deslily when she posted about them, this is another series that I feel I really should check out some time and I’m excited to hear great thoughts from both of you. The Whelan cover on this first book is great!

  9. Between your review and Deslily’s I’m completely convinced to try this series! It really sounds like something I’d enjoy.

  10. oh wow! this sounds really fun!

    the funny thing is, actually have this back in sa. i was rooting through my unread books (catalogueing etc. (see, you’re not the only sad one)) and i came across this and a few other fantasy/sf books that i’d bought cheap.

    i was looking at these books that i’d bought like 10-15 years ago and seeing if it was really worthwhile keeping them, since some of them were pretty trashy and some were very old library books.

    i decided that there were quite a few i didn’t want anymore, which i gave to my mom “dragonflight” was one of the ones that i put aside and said “yeah, this is worth giving a go” and i’m sure glad i did!

  11. i gotta describe the condition of this book to you! haha! to explain why i was thinking of discarding it. part of it was the book’s condition and the other part was that i simply hadn’t heard anything about it.

    its a paperback and even though its still got the clear-plastic jacket, the jacket is greasy 😦 the cover is all warped and discoloured, as are the pages themselves. in fact, the cover is so discoloured that the colours have actually become different colours altogether!! πŸ™‚

    for a moment now i was thinking i was gonna get a new copy, while still keeping that battered old soldier. but now, considering all that book has been through, i’m gonna stick with it. it deserves it for having survived so long.

  12. Deslily, I wish Fax would’ve hung around a little longer actually, though it was kind of nice to be rid of him…but you’re right…even the bad guys are cool! And a White Dragon!!!! I hadn’t even realized what the title suggested until just now. A different color dragon?! How cool! Have you read Novik’s books? Everyone keeps saying they’re good?

    Hey Amy! You should definitely steal these from your son πŸ™‚ I’m sure you’d enjoy them. The first book was incredible and I’m sure that the other books will be just as good. All these comments must be a testament to that! I’m going to add the Novik books to my wish list…everyone keeps talking about them! Happy reading to you too πŸ™‚

    Carl, Definitely add this to your stack some time…not that I should be encouraging you to go out and buy more books! Go get it from the library πŸ˜‰ I love that cover too…I wish it was still in print. The one that I have is really shitty. But I guess it’s the content that counts…

    Nymeth, I have no doubt that you’d enjoy this series. Aren’t you in the Edwards challenge? This would count towards that too! You can read it as an alternate if McCaffrey isn’t one of your authors.

    JP, Yay! I’m glad you kept this one, though I’m sure your mom would’ve enjoyed it too. I think it’s awesome that you and your mom share a love of reading. That’s rare these days which is really sad. That is really strange that I just happened to post about this old book right after you decided to keep it! And I’m glad you kept your old beat up copy. I love those old beat up books..there’s something special about them. It’s like you said…they’ve earned their right to continue living…it’s a battered old soldier that’s fought hard! And I’m sure you’ll appreciate it even more for what it is πŸ˜‰

  13. i’d never actually thought about it, but you’re right, my mom and i are really lucky that we have that.

    when i was visiting in january i was sorting through all the books that i’d bought for her ’cause she’d realised that there were now dotted all over the place, and she wasn’t sure anymore which one’s she’d read. so i assembled them all, and she marked each one she’d read with a brief comment as to what she thought of it – and this way we also knew which she’d read. afterwards i fed the read books into her shelves and the unread ones got their own shelf.

    we had a lot of fun doing that… πŸ™‚

    i agree… there’s something really special about those old beat up books..

  14. I fee you; my books are in stacks and climbing the walls!

  15. I haven’t read Novik’s books.. and when I do look around for them t hey are in mass paperback and I can’t read them very well so I stay away from mass paperback and try for HB or TPB. But I have enough to fill my days for now lol..

  16. I read one of this series years ago in school but I do get put off from really getting into it because there are about a million in the series! I’m glad you enjoyed it and I might give it another go in a year or so.

  17. Rhinoa, I like books with a million in the series, but I know what you mean at the same time. I’m somewhat of a completist, so if there are a million books chances are I’m going to need to read all 1 million of them! If the series is good enough though, I don’t mind.

  18. Me too Chris (the completist part) and I have so much to read already I am put off starting any long series at the moment.

  19. I first read Dragonflight when a friend gave it to me as a birthday gift in highschool. I read about six of the series, absolutely loved the Harper Hall trio, and began to loose interest after Moreta… I don’t know why. She’s a really good writer.

  20. Jeane, I look forward to reading more of the series. I loved the first book! Can’t wait to finish the first trilogy!!

  21. I read these books first when I was a kid, and I am surprised how much of it has stayed with me. As you described the first novel, I remembered all the feelings it evoked in me. Lessa and Menolly were two of the favorite characters of my youth.

  22. Veronica, I can’t wait to read the rest of this series. I really enjoyed meeting Lessa…she was such a great character…can’t wait to follow her journey!

  23. […] Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey 2. Gifts by Ursula K. Leguin 3. The Folk of the Fringe by Orson Scott […]

  24. I was browsing your list of books read and came across this review. I LOVE McCaffery and have read (almost) everything she’s ever written. This trilogy was one I reread several times when I was in high school – it still holds a fond place in my heart. πŸ™‚

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