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DRAGONSONG [Paperback]

4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (114 customer reviews)

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First Sentence
Almost as if the elements, too, mourned the death of the gentle old Harper, a southeaster blew for three days, locking even the burial barge in the safety of the Dock Cavern. Read the first page
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dungeons and...Fire Lizards ? Jan. 23 2007
"Dragonsong" is the first book in Anne McCaffery's "Harper Hall Trilogy" and is set on the world of Pern. Unfortunately, it's prone to attack from Thread - spores that grow on a neighbouring planet and, at times, can bridge the gap between the two worlds. Thread is deadly to all life : it can only be killed by fire and it's progress is halted by fire and stone. Fortunately, Pern's inhabitants have a useful ally in the battle against thread : dragons. Not only capable of flying and breathing fire, Pern's dragons can also teleport. They also form a telepathic bond with their riders.

"Dragonsong" doesn't tell the story of the great dragonriders, though : it tells the story of Menolly, a teenage girl living at Half Circle Sea Hold. Her father, Yanus, holds the position of Sea Holder, and is essentially the community's leader. Although life there revolves around fishing, Menolly is a talented musician and singer - talents that had been nurtured by Petiron, the Hold's Harper. However, Petiron has recently died and, though the Hold is waiting for his replacement, Menolly feels his loss more keenly than most. Menolly herself would dearly love to follow in her mentor's footsteps - however, it seems that only men can become a Harper. As a result, Menolly's father strongly disapproves of her love for music, and eventually forbids her to sing or play. This leads to Menolly running away from home and discovering a colony of fire lizards - more or less miniature dragons - which had, until then, been considered the stuff of legend.

Although not the first book set on Pern, "Dragonsong" is a useful starting point. It is the first book of the Harper Hall Trilogy, and starts with a brief introduction that covers the history of Pern and its Dragonriders. Menolly proves herself to be a likeable, resourceful character, though a little lacking in self-confidence. Overall, an enjoyable and easily read book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pern and it's magic dragons May 13 2004
For the child that loves dragons and stories about dragons, only one book series comes to mind that has successfully created an entire complex world of dragons and the people who love them. Anne McCaffrey's dragonriders of Pern series has existed since the 1970s and it is still as popular as ever. Author McCaffrey has written intricate imaginings about Pern and its inhabitants. At once sci-fi and fantasy, she is an adept writer that fully deserves the popularity she has received. For the child that wants an easy introduction into this world, there are two options. They could begin at the very beginning of the series and slowly work their way through all the Pern books. Or, second option, they could start with a book that is both kid-friendly and a wonderful Intro to McCaffrey 101. "Dragonsong" was a book that I personally picked up in sixth grade and loved. It is the perfect way to learn more about the dragons of Pern, their riders, and the people of the planet.

McCaffrey is smart. She knows that this book series is so complex that it there is no way in which to begin any plot without a recap of past events. She includes in this tale a map of Pern, a useful character list, and a Forward that deftly explains the history of the planet and its dragons. Then we meet Menolly. Born in a small fishing village, the girl is the most talented musician in the village, but she yearns to become a professional Harper and create music as well as sing/play it. Unfortunately, no woman has ever been a Harper before and her conservatively minded family is determined to squash this dream of Menolly's before she shames them in some way. When life for Menolly becomes too harsh, she escapes into the wide world and takes shelter in a cave.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Menolly's Story May 10 2003
Menolly lives in the world of Pern, a magical world where Dragons and their riders protect the people from the hazardous thread that falls from the sky. Menolly loves music and shows a powerful talent for it. Her voice is beautiful and she possesses perfect pitch. Her hands seem to be made to play instruments. She makes up tunes all of the time in her head, many which are considered extraordinary by the elderly Harper that trains her. But when the Harper dies and a new one comes to Menolly's hold she can no longer make music like she used to, just because she's female. Menolly's is devastated by this and takes solace in wandering outside of the Hold, away from her family and friends. Here she makes an amazing discovery, fire lizard. Fire Lizards are just like miniature dragons, although many people mistrust their existence. Menolly meets and befriends these fire lizards, forming a strong bond with them. But in the world of Pern, where the thread falls everyday, Menolly's peaceful existence will be disturbed.
Ever since I started reading fantasy, people told me that Anne McCaffrey was an author that I needed to get into, especially her Pern novels. I'm very glad that they recommended this to me. This is a fun adventure book. It moves quite quickly and if filled with action and suspense. The character of Menolly is quite easy to relate to. She's so talented yet because of things she can't control, she's not allowed to display her talents. She's quite easy to sympathize with. While this book is often found in the adult fantasy section, while reading it over I almost believe that it was written for a more YA or younger audience. Some of the characters are a bit shallow and I wished that the book was longer so I could get to know them more.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Childhood love
I loved this book as a child, and love it still! I purchased this specific book for the artwork. It was one I checked out from the library often, and fell in love with many other... Read more
Published 15 months ago by angela
5.0 out of 5 stars great
this is a great book about a girl with passion for music. the story takes place in a fictional land called pern. Read more
Published on Jan. 1 2010 by elfdart
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a parent-friendly series
I loved this series. However, I was struck by a recurrent theme of these books: a child or young adult, cruelly treated by parents/guardians who are unsympathetic, neglectful or... Read more
Published on Aug. 19 2008 by Kirsten Emmott
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Reading
This book has always been one of my favorites in Anne McCaffrey's dragonrider series. Menoly, wanting nothing more than to play her beloved music, is denied it by her parents. Read more
Published on May 8 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best
Definitely one of the best in the Dragonriders of Pern series. I think I felt just as frustrated as Menolly when her father wouldn't let her enjoy music! Read more
Published on March 31 2004 by SheaLuna
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the better books in the Dragonriders of Pern series
I like this first novel about Menolly a lot...However, much of Dragonsinger won't make sense if the reader hasn't read Dragonsong first. Read more
Published on Dec 3 2003 by Steffanie
5.0 out of 5 stars Menoly's Tale is great
Menoly is a lot like me. But that is only one reason I absolutely love this book. Menoly is in a spot of disfavor with the people who reside in the hold by the sea. Read more
Published on Dec 1 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Dragonsong
What would youdo if your parents would not let you do what you are best at? Run and hide? That's what Menolly did in Dragonsong. Read more
Published on May 6 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars One of My All-Time Favorites!
Menolly is the youngest daughter of Yanus, Sea Holder of Half-Circle Sea Hold. He is a hard man who works hard and is very set in his ways. Read more
Published on May 5 2003 by Silmarwen
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
I checked out Dragonsinger on accident, not knowing it was the second book. I think I like Dragonsong the best of the trilogy. Read more
Published on April 20 2003
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