It's Pern, and so I had to borrow it from the library, and I will buy it at some time, because I simply must own the complete Pern library, in hardcover. :) But must say that I too am disappointed, for all the same reasons every other review mentions.
No more plagues! Enough already! It was great in Moreta and Nerilka's Story, but that's it. I appreciated what someone noted in a comment, that when Anne took a small piece of one book (such as ship-fish) and spun it off into another entire novel, there was genius at work. I for one would really, really like to see such moves again. Please. New things, not recycled old ideas again...and again....and again.
And I too agree that the very young apprentices (13-ish, I think?) were given far too much latitude in this story for their age, despite the fact that such a society would have much more mature youngsters than our own does. I missed the adult subtle nuances and interplays, the brilliant conversations and decisions and actions. The leadership of the young people truly was unbelievable, and that honestly made me sorrowful, because I felt so let down.
A few things that really intrigued me: I liked the mention of massage as a healing art, and crystals. I liked the pushing of "feminist" ideas, even if it was a little forced, as pointed out by another reviewer.
I love Pern. I've loved it since I was 12-years-old and read The White Dragon for the first time. This series had succored me, given my own imagination flight, and allowed me to delve back into it time and again with a sigh of pleasure and familiarity. So whenever a new Pern novel comes out, I am so hopeful, and I read it, because I just have to. And each time, I get a little bummed out.
Yes, it's still Pern. And yes, Todd McCaffrey is learning his new trade, he is fine-tuning his abilities with each new book. And perhaps there will be brilliance later on. But...I'm still disappointed, and my hopes are getting more and more dimmed with each new book. I've lowered my expectations, and that's what makes me sad.
Can I also humbly suggest, Todd, that you do indeed follow your own path as a writer, perhaps with your own series one day? And that if you do continue on with Pern (and I must admit that I cannot bear for the series to die just yet, despite my dwindling lack of faith in it), you perhaps take into account some of the ideas of fans--such as, no more plagues. And taking small ideas from one book and expanding them in another. And having excellent copyeditors and line editors go over each book to ensure its accuracy, pacing, timing, style--I found several inaccuracies in Dragon Harper that made me wince. And I have no idea whether or not detailed notes are kept on each novel, that list character traits, etc., but if not, perhaps it might be wise to consider such a system so as to ensure catching the inaccuracies that are immediately noticeable by readers?
And please, please, please--I too want another book set in Lessa and F'lar's time, to continue on with those first, most beloved characters (even if it's about the deaths of those two particular characters, which is of course inevitable....) It's hard to let go of that which we love!
So yes, I will keep reading this series. It seems to be a part of my own family, in a way, and I cannot stop loving it, even when it has fallen into a bit of dysfunction. I can only implore its creators to help it get back on its mighty dragon wings and fly gracefully, where it belongs.