Dragonriders of Pern

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Anne McCaffrey

GENRES:
Sci-Fi, Fantasy

SUMMARY:
Dragonflight starts the saga of Lessa, a kitchen drudge at Ruatha Hold. The leader there, Fax, has cruelly gained his power by murdering Lessa's ruling family. Lessa bides her time and waits until time, events, and luck let her claim her rightful birthright as Ruatha Hold's leader.

However, there are other plans in store for her. F'lar, leader of Benden Weyr, asks Lessa to come with him for the chance to impress a gold queen dragon and become Weyrwoman of the only active dragon center left on Pern.

Dragonquest shifts focus away from Lessa onto Pern and the weyrs as a whole. F'lar, F'nor, Lessa and other dragonriders have asserted their role once again as protectors of Pern when the deadly Red Star passed leaving repeated trails of deadly silver thread in its wake. However, now that the purpose of dragons is again established, the conflicts between weyrs and holds amplifies.

The White Dragon revolves around the young Lord Jaxom of Ruatha Hold and his dragon, Ruth. Ruth is essentially the runt of his litter, uniquely small and pure white. Despite their strong desire to do so, the pair is forbidden to fight thread with the other dragons. They train in secret, and through their illicit flights between, they discover a secret that might save all.

RESPONSE:
Each of the books in this series plays on a classic storyline. Lessa's story is basically a rags-to-riches plot. Dragonquest follows internal political struggle while gradually revealing more about Pernese history. Jaxom's story is essentially about the underdog who comes out winning. And each book is a success in its own right.

This is probably the best series to start reading if you're a virgin to Pern. It gradually reveals the secrets of the planet and its inhabitants the way McCaffrey intended when she first created this world, and it provides essential background to all her later books.

The characters are well-developed, although the focus does shift from Lessa and F'lar to F'nor to Jaxom throughout the series. Lessa is the archetype of what a sci-fi/fantasy heroine should be-- strong, intelligent, and resourceful. F'lar is a perfect companion to her as he also shares these qualities. In fact, one of the complaints heard most frequently about the second book is that Lessa simply isn't in it enough.

Jaxom, although the main human character in the final book, is not the most likable. He's sweet and persistent, but his dragon definitely steals the show with his wry wit and innocent sweetness. This book made me want to name my next dog Ruth even though I'm really not that fond of the name.

Read as a series, these books chronicle a changing decade in a world that will never be the same due to a handful of people and their dragons.

POINT BLANK:
If you've read and liked ANY of McCaffrey's Pern books, you must read this series. Also the best starting point for any future fans. Fast, fun, and fairly easy reading.