Monday, May 25, 2009

Book Review: Dragonsong

This book is a longtime favorite of mine, and for quite awhile I was not aware that it was actually part of a trilogy. It can be read alone, but works fairly well with the other two books also.

Anne McCaffrey's Dragonsong is about a girl named Menolly who lives in Half-Circle Sea Hold on the planet known as Pern. Menolly's one true joy in life is music. She has talent, and was singled out and taught by the Hold's harper Petiron. In this society, songs are used to teach Pern's history and school the children, among many other things. After Petiron's death, Menolly is the only one able to sing and play properly, and must take over schooling the children until the new Harper arrives. However, her strict, tradition-abiding father, Yanus, is the Sea Holder, and anything musical is considered "harper's business" and therefore a man's job. (Traditionally, only men can become harpers.)

After an unfortunate accident and the increasing unfairness of her parents in denying her music, Menolly leaves the Hold-- a daring and dangerous thing to do, because of something known as Thread. When a wayward red star passes close enough to Pern, it drops deadly spores that eat through anything living. Metal and rock are the only things that stop Thread, so one must have shelter during Threadfall. The inhabitants of Pern have come up with a way to combat Thread: huge dragonlike creatures are ridden by specially chosen human beings--dragonriders--and together, they char Thread into ash midair. Menolly's leaving her Hold and living without shelter is dangerous, but she finds a cave in time. Inside the cave, a clutch of fire lizards (similar to dragons, but much smaller) are about to hatch, and from there, all her adventures begin...

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