Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey

genre: science fiction/fantasy

On the distant planet of Pern,  in the distant future, a scullery maid has a secret.  Not only is she the last in a bloodline that was nearly extinguished in a violent attack, but she can speak to dragons in her mind. When chance opens up the opportunity to travel to the home of the Dragonriders, her fierce pride will support her as she meets a dragon that will change her life.  And as her beloved planet once again is threatened by the life-extinguishing Threads that periodically fall from the sky, Lessa will need that pride, as well as a heavy dose of courage and ingenuity to save her people.

Imagine me, as a girl - maybe 10 or 11.  My father is driving us in a station wagon from Utah to Chicago, to visit my grandparents.  He drives straight through the night on this 24 hour road trip, probably to spend as little time with us awake in the car as possible.  I get it.  To help himself stay awake, my father listens to books on tape.  As the eldest in the car, I tended to stay up later and catch the beginnings of his books and, if interested, I'd silently lay with my eyes closed and loose myself in the stories.  One of the books he listened to was about the Dragonriders of Pern.  I can't now remember which specific book, but I remember the tone of the story, the magic of the terrifying threads that could destroy anything organic, the brave riders who would help destroy the threads and save humanity.  Even all that long ago, I still remember really being drawn into those ideas.  I chose this first book just to finally fill in the gaps in my brain about that story that I've thought about for practically 30 years.

Is it an absolutely amazing book?  No.  It's feeling its' age, as science fiction does.  But the dragon/fantasy element is fresh and, truthfully, I feel like it's a pretty well crafted story.  There are certain world-building ideas that are unique to me even now, however many years after it was written.  I was always happy to read it although Lessa is a ridiculously frustrating character, her personality would drive me crazy if she was my child, but her antics and her determination do plow the way for most of the story, so I get it.  I am actually really glad I read it.  If I could find another on my Kindle at the library, I'd read more.  Four stars for both nostalgic and staying power.

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