Like I said in an earlier post, Anne McCaffrey is one of the authors that I grew up reading. Alongside Dragonsinger, Dragonflight became one of my favorites that I read over and over again (and continue to re-read to this day).
Dragonflight tells the story of Lessa, the last pure-blooded Ruathan who secretly survived her family’s massacre by hiding in the watch-beast’s lair as a young girl. Since then, she has lived as a drudge in her family estate, undermining every attempt of her family’s killer to settle in and prosper. Within the first three chapters, Lessa orchestrates his death and is taken to Benden Weyr as a potential leader and Queen Rider (called a “weyrwoman”, she rides the queen dragon and sees to the day-to-day running of the weyr). She succeeds and mates with F’lar, the weyrleader, and the two of them engage in a constant battle of wits as they learn to live together.
In desperation to replenish the dragonriders’ failing numbers in time for the upcoming Threadfall, Lessa travels back 200 years in time to bring other dragonriders back home with her. It’s a feat no one has attempted and it nearly kills her, but she does manage to bring the fighters back with her. The story ends on a triumphant note, with her reconciling with F’lar and the dragonriders being able to protect Pern again.
In this story, I love the banter and interaction between the characters. Sardonic F’lar, his half-brother F’nor – whose dry wit is an often-needed tension-breaker, and the high spirited Lessa all contribute to a delicate balance of push-and-pull that is enjoyable for the reader and vital for the characters’ continued cooperation.
The dragons themselves are treats as well, since they often communicate telepathically with their humans. They have a rudimentary understanding of humans and often see things in a more “dragonish” light. Still, they offer unexpectedly astute observations and sound advice (often humorously or so bluntly that the reader can’t help but laugh).
All in all, an exciting story with good characters. It stays well within the confines of the sci-fi/fantasy genre, but it’s still enjoyable and fun – no obvious cliche’s or overused plot points. It remains one of my favorites and will always have a place on my bookshelf.
Book of the Week – Dragonsinger