Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Review: DRAGONFLIGHT by Anne McCaffrey

Rating: 2.75/5 stars

I didn’t grow up with this series like a lot of people did. I read Dragonflight for the first time at 24-years-old from the recommendation of my brother-in-law who loved it as a child and thought I would like it because I like dragons.

I love the idea behind this book: it’s a huge expansive science fiction world—this book is set on the planet Pern in a different solar system than our own—but there are dragons in it! This might be one of the first books to cross science fiction and fantasy, and I think that’s super cool!

Every two hundred years, Pern passes by the Red Star planet, which has poisonous spores, called Threads, that fall to Pern and are fatal to all living organisms. So the people on Pern use the dragons to fly up and burn the Threads out of the sky before they reach the ground. But it has been about four hundred years since Threads have fallen and many people believe that they won’t come back. The story starts out following F’lar, who believes that the return of the Threads is imminent, as he searches for a girl to bond with the queen dragon. He finds Lessa, a girl of noble blood who is hiding in a Hold under a tyrant ruler, and the story of Dragonflight is ultimately about how F’lar and Lessa team up to save Pern from the Threads.

It took me a while to get into this book; I was well over halfway before I started to really understand what was going on. Because this book was written over fifty years ago, the diction and grammar are much different from how people write nowadays, and it took a lot of getting used to for me. The books I read are almost exclusively modern stories published within the last twenty-five years, so the writing in Dragonflight really threw me off. But once I did get used to the flow of it, I started really enjoying the story.

There is definitely some questionable content in this book, like the relationship between F’lar and Lessa, but when you consider how society was when it was published and that this book was at the forefront of its genre at that time, I think it’s forgivable; the world was obviously a lot different back then and that’s not this book’s fault.

I will also say that I did feel pretty distanced from all the characters, like they just felt hard to connect with, and I’m pretty sure that’s an effect of the writing style, unfortunately. 

Overall, though, I am glad I read this book and stuck with it until the end, and I do want to continue on with this series. I don’t know how much of the series I will read since there are like thirty books or something (it’s unclear to me how many books there actually are in the series), but I at least want to finish the Dragonriders of Pern trilogy and the Harper Hall trilogy. I’ve heard that McCaffrey’s writing and the story issues get better with each book, and I also think that the more I read in this world, the more I will understand its unique terminology and enjoy its journey. 

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