Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Book Review: The White Dragon

Jaxom, the young Lord Holder of Ruatha, and his unusual white dragon Ruth star in this volume of the Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey. Chronologically set at the same time as the Harper Hall trilogy (or roughly thereabouts), it was interesting to see Pern and other major characters (such as Menolly) from yet another point of view.

However, I found this book somewhat tedious (though fairly well-written), because the basic plot doesn't ever really pick up. Things are seen from Jaxom's point of view, and he is discontented during the majority of the book. (You'd think he'd spend more time doing something about his situation than whining about it.) Eventually Jaxom does figure this out and takes a few steps in the right direction, but I felt that his full potential as a character was never very well realized. Instead of sympathizing with him or cheering him on, I mostly felt annoyed with him. Much more interesting were the support characters (who are main characters in the other books). Overall, I thought this book was "just okay," but not worth purchasing for my personal library or even really worth re-reading.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Book Review: Death of a Ghost

It's high time for a break from fantasy and sci-fi books. Need a little mystery in your life? Meet Albert Campion. While author Margery Allingham is no Agatha Christie, her characters and plot ideas are quite good. Her writing style and deliverance of the story, however, is somewhat lackluster and predictable. It's still a decent enough read, although if you're prone to figuring out the ending before finishing a mystery, this may not be the book for you.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Book Review: Dragonquest

I enjoyed Dragonquest far more than the previous book in the "Dragonriders of Pern" series, Dragonflight. The brown dragon Canth and his rider F'nor are the most major characters in the book, and I liked them a lot. Also, this book takes place at the same time as Dragonsong and Dragonsinger from the Harper Hall trilogy, so there were a lot of the same events happening from a different viewpoint than Menolly's. I thought this was a very entertaining and fairly well-written book.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Book Review: Dragonflight

For many years, I've been reading and re-reading the Harper Hall trilogy, loving it each time and taking the general social structure within the book for granted. However, I recently became interested in Pern outside of the scope of the Harper Hall. As I read Anne McCaffrey's first book in the Dragonriders of Pern series, Dragonflight, I learned that things were not always as I had thought. This book is the story of how the Pern I've always enjoyed came to be. I had a bit of trouble keeping everyone's name straight, as several different characters frequently have similar names (for example, F'lar is not to be confused with F'nor; and T'bor is not the same person as T'sum) due to the method of naming children on Pern. Thankfully, in this particular copy there was a "Dragondex" in the back that helped to keep the main characters straight.

Lessa is a lowly kitchen drudge at Ruatha Hold. However, there's more to her than meets the eye. It turns out that she's actually one of the last true Ruathans, and the cruel Lord Fax killed the rest of her family when she was eleven during his conquering of Ruatha Hold. Since that day, Lessa has been planning her revenge so that she can take over the home that should have been rightfully hers.

Everything changes on the day that F'lar, rider of a bronze dragon named Mnementh, visits Ruatha Hold with Lord Fax. (A bronze dragon is the highest-ranking male dragon.) With F'lar are his twelve wingmen, other dragonriders, including his half-brother F'nor, who rides a brown dragon named Canth. F'lar is on Search-- in other words, he is looking for a strong woman who is capable of becoming Weyrwoman. Lessa doesn't know this--she only sees an opportunity to rid her Hold of Lord Fax forever by making him renounce his claim on it in front of dragonmen. She subtly manages to make Lord Fax's meal inedible in various ways, which makes him angry, and he swears an oath that he will not have a Hold that cannot support itself.

However, things do not happen as Lessa has planned. Fax ends up dead, Ruatha Hold goes to his newborn son Jaxom, and F'lar has found the woman he wants to become Weyrwoman: Lessa. As Lessa consents to go to Benden Weyr, she has no idea that she will have to learn to work with F'lar, and together, somehow find a way to save Pern from the deadly spores of Thread...