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Dragongirl [Mass Market Paperback]

Todd J. McCaffrey
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 7 2011 Pern: The Dragonriders of Pern

With a cast of beloved characters from previous Pern novels, Dragongirl is another triumph for Todd McCaffrey—and a riveting chapter for the Dragonriders of Pern.
 
Young Fiona, rider of the gold queen Talenth, has returned with the dragons and riders who fled into the past to heal their battle wounds and prepare to fight anew the menace of Thread. Now more than three years older, Fiona is no longer a child but a woman—thrust into authority by a shocking tragedy. But leading weyrfolk who are distrustful of a young outsider will be only one of her challenges. Despite gaining reinforcements from the past, too few dragons have survived the recent plague to stem the tide of the intensifying Threadfall. As a senior Weyrwoman, Fiona must take decisive action. With the aid of Lorana, the rider who sacrificed her dragon for others, and Fiona’s true love, the harper Kindan, she proposes a daring, nearly impossible plan. But if it succeeds, it just might save them all.


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Review

Praise for Todd McCaffrey
 
“The [Pern] torch has been passed and burns more brightly than ever.”—Publishers Weekly, on Dragonsblood
 
“Highly recommended . . . strong storytelling.”—Library Journal (starred review), on Dragonheart

About the Author

Todd McCaffrey is the bestselling author of the Pern novels Dragonsblood and Dragonheart, and the co-author, with his mother, Anne McCaffrey, of Dragon’s Kin, Dragon’s Fire, and Dragon Harper. A computer engineer, he currently lives in Los Angeles. Having grown up in Ireland with the epic of the Dragonriders of Pern,® he is bursting with ideas for new stories of that world, its people, and its dragons.


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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Saga Continues May 1 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
All the pieces have come together for me in with this book and Dragon's Time. But it does leave me wanting more which I suppose is Todd's intent, at least I hope so.
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5.0 out of 5 stars DRAGONGIRL June 20 2012
By MLP
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
VERY WELL DONE, WILL CONTINUE TO BUY BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR. I DO LIKE READING PERN BOOKS. AM TRYING TO GET COMPLETE SET
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Back to Telgar April 30 2011
By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
If all life on the planet was about to die and the only way of saving it was suffering from a virulent plague, I imagine people would be at least a LITTLE worried. But apparently the people of Pern don't have that problem. Todd McCaffrey sets plenty of high stakes in "Dragongirl," the latest book in his mother's Pern series, but he ends up making it a mushy, sluggish mass of mediocrity.

Junior Weyrwoman Fiona and her dragon Talenth have returned from the past, where dragons and riders have been training, healing and generally preparing to blast out the Thread. Unfortunately there's STILL a plague that is killing the dragons -- like in every Todd McCaffrey book -- meaning that there aren't enough dragons to save Pern. Yes, again. The man is obsessed with plagues.

Then a tragic disaster hits, leaving countless dragons and riders dead. So Fiona immediately becomes the new Weyrwoman, and takes a position of authority in Telgar just as the plague hits her own dragon... which is very dramatic for about five minutes. Then Lorana and Kindan arrive at the hold, and a tepid love triangle suddenly becomes the centerpiece of the plot.

Todd McCaffrey's Pern books are an excellent illustration of why an author should just retire their bestselling series instead of handing them to someone else. "Dragongirl" has the bones of a brilliant fantasy novel, but those bones are almost buried under a few hundred pages of repetitive flab -- seriously, I felt like screaming every time somebody mentioned that Talenth was going to "rise."

McCaffrey's prose is tepidly mediocre and very stilted ("If you do this, you are no longer of Fort. For by standing by these riders, you stand for Telgar"), and his poetry is even worse.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Dragongirl Aug. 23 2010
Format:Hardcover
I loved that this book followed up on Dragon's Fire. The book flowed forth and we can see what it was like 508 years after landing. I can't wait for the next book in the seriesDragon's FireDragongirl
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.1 out of 5 stars  141 reviews
211 of 216 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Way Forward is Dark and Long July 31 2010
By Robert Thorbury - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I've been reading Anne McCaffrey's Dragonrider novels since 1979, and Pern has long been the place I love to visit in my daydreams. While I can imagine flying a dragon and fighting Threads, I can more readily picture myself living and working in the Harper Hall, immersing myself in music. Anne, over more than 30 years, has come up with a wealth of believable characters, people I could envision meeting and talking to. Pern is real to me.

And then there's Anne's son, Todd. With Anne getting too old to do much solo writing, Todd was a logical choice to take over her world. He grew up with the stories the same way I did, and could ask his mother for the whys and wherefores.

So I started following his stories, set in the Third Pass, a full two thousand Turns (years) before the original stories. For a time, I was enthusiastic. Sure, some of Todd's efforts were a bit rough, but he was new to the trade and would surely only get better.

In anticipation of reading the lastest Pern novel, Dragongirl, I re-read its immediate predecessor, Dragonheart, and was reminded of why I liked it as much as I did. I also skimmed through the highlights of Dragonblood, an earlier novel whose events largely overlap those of Dragonheart.

I recommend that you read at least Dragonblood and Dragonheart before you pick up Dragongirl. Todd's other Pern novels form part of the backstory, so are less important.

Dragongirl begins right where Dragonheart leaves off, so I was able to plunge right in. The main protagonist is Fiona, a gold dragon rider who has just spent three Turns in the past, managing Igen Weyr mainly on her own, having to make a lot of serious decisions despite being only in her mid-teens. Now, back in the present, Fiona is butting heads with Cisca, the senior Weyrwoman of Fort Weyr. Can strong-willed Fiona learn to accept being a junior Weyrwoman again?

As it turns out, she doesn't have to. If you've already read Dragonblood, you know what tragedy befalls the riders of Telgar Weyr. Fiona is the logical person to rush over there and take over. A lot of people have come to appreciate her, so she has no shortage of helpers.

Among those who join her are Kindan the Harper and Lorana, an ex-dragonrider who heroically sacrificed her own gold to save all of Pern from the dragon sickness. Lorana and Fiona already have a peculiar sort of psychic bond, due to Lorana's immensely powerful attempt to save the Telgar dragons, calling in vain for them to return from Between. Plus, Lorana can hear all dragons, a very valuable ability not seen since the time of Torene of Benden in the First Pass, some 450 Turns earlier.

There is an extremely moving scene in the story where the replacement dragonriders of Telgar are standing at attention in the Weyr Bowl, honoring all of the departed in the form of a roll call for the dead. "Who stands for D'gan?" "I stand for D'gan. His last thoughts were for the Weyrs." This was very powerful stuff, and at that point I was ready to give Dragongirl a five-star review.

And then the story started to unravel about halfway through. First, there was the initial mating flight of Fiona's dragon, Talenth. This is a major milestone in the life of a Weyrwoman, and also important for this reason: The rider of the bronze dragon who flies Talenth becomes the Weyrleader, the man who organizes attempts to fight Pern's ancient enemy, Thread. Also, mating dragons produce eggs, and Pern is desperately in need of dragons right now.

Can a bronze dragon whose rider is in a coma succeed in flying a gold? You'll find out. And it's pretty weird.

After this, Fiona and Lorana and Kindan and the new Weyrleader are in some complicated sort of mutual relationship. They all love each other. It's both polygamy and polyandry and -- heck -- how about poly-dragony?

This is where I think Todd went wrong. It's no mystery to longtime Pern fans that this sort of stuff goes on in Weyrs. It's an inevitable side-effect of being telepathically linked to mating dragons. The riders of green and blue dragons, almost always men, tend to prefer the company of other men. Anne mentioned in one of her very earliest novels that conservative holdbred people found Weyr life very uncomfortable.

Todd goes into too much detail, and the story seriously bogs down. "OK, Todd, I get it," I wanted to tell him. "Can we fight Thread, now?"

But that's no help, because of the relentless catastrophes befalling the dragonriders. Every time they fight Thread, more dragons and/or their riders are fatally injured. It can be gruesome. I credit Todd for very vivid writing. If more dragons aren't found, fast, will there be any left past the end of the Turn? Worse, the queens suddenly aren't laying enough eggs, and everyone's afraid they know why.

If the theme of Todd's previous books was Plague, the current one is surely Carnage.

I could get close to Anne's characters because they tended to stick around for multiple books. With Todd, I'm always wondering who the next victim will be. Too many disposable characters, and too depressing a storyline. The worst part is knowing that this story ends with a cliffhanger, another key character making a major sacrifice. If I want my Pern fix, I'll have to pick up at least two more books to get it.

It was prophesied to Lorana that the way forward would be dark and long, and that's exactly what I'm worried about. I don't know about you, but I like to finish a Pern book feeling halfway good. Right now, I'm not.

So, read Dragongirl if you must, but be sure you know what you're in for. For myself, I might have to wait until the rest of the series is out in paperback before I get any more. Or maybe I should just cut my losses and go back to Anne's works.
102 of 108 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Back to Telgar Aug. 2 2010
By E. A Solinas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
If all life on the planet was about to die and the only way of saving it was suffering from a virulent plague, I imagine people would be at least a LITTLE worried. But apparently the people of Pern don't have that problem. Todd McCaffrey sets plenty of high stakes in "Dragongirl," the latest book in his mother's Pern series, but he ends up making it a mushy, sluggish mass of mediocrity.

Junior Weyrwoman Fiona and her dragon Talenth have returned from the past, where dragons and riders have been training, healing and generally preparing to blast out the Thread. Unfortunately there's STILL a plague that is killing the dragons -- like in every Todd McCaffrey book -- meaning that there aren't enough dragons to save Pern. Yes, again. The man is obsessed with plagues.

Then a tragic disaster hits, leaving countless dragons and riders dead. So Fiona immediately becomes the new Weyrwoman, and takes a position of authority in Telgar just as the plague hits her own dragon... which is very dramatic for about five minutes. Then Lorana and Kindan arrive at the hold, and a tepid love triangle suddenly becomes the centerpiece of the plot.

Todd McCaffrey's Pern books are an excellent illustration of why an author should just retire their bestselling series instead of handing them to someone else. "Dragongirl" has the bones of a brilliant fantasy novel, but those bones are almost buried under a few hundred pages of repetitive flab -- seriously, I felt like screaming every time somebody mentioned that Talenth was going to "rise."

McCaffrey's prose is tepidly mediocre and very stilted ("If you do this, you are no longer of Fort. For by standing by these riders, you stand for Telgar"), and his poetry is even worse. What little plot there is ends up being a string of repetitive crises that are half-forgotten after ten minutes -- he infects Talenth with the plague, has Fiona angst for a day or two, and then PRESTO! she's healed. It's like the man is terrified of any major plot developments.

The deadliest sin this book commits? No tension. No drama. No suspense. At all. EVER. McCaffrey packs the story with endless boring minutiae about life in the Telgar Weyr, usually about stuff that doesn't really matter. I honestly couldn't care less about Fiona's pottery experiences, Bekka's career goals, or what the proper funeral arrangements at Telgar are -- let alone the halfhearted romantic tension. Isn't Pern supposed to be in danger of annihilation?!

And it's pretty hard to care what happens to Fiona -- she's a tepid Mary Sue whom everybody just LOVES, even though she's bossy, stiff and insensitive. And while McCaffrey tries to convince us that she has a deep passionate love for Kindan, the two of them have as much chemistry as a math book -- as do Kindan and Lorana, and Fiona and that other guy whose name I've already forgotten. Even the riders and their dragons barely seem to notice each other.

There are some promising subplots and unique twists at times, but "Dragongirl" is basically a big dough mass of mediocrity. Time for this series to go between.
46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Just don't bother! Oct. 27 2010
By M. Alexander - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Like so many people who have loved the Anne McCaffrey Pern world, I eagerly looked forward to her son being able to carry on the tradition, so I bought the first couple of collaborations. They were not good, but I hoped they would get better.

Sadly this seems unlikely. Todd McCaffrey simply cannot write. His characters are unbelievable, his plots non existent, and to add insult to injury he introduces some very typical prurient male sexual fantasies, and even a plug for capitalism in the book (Fiona chastises another woman and lectures her on the virtues and fairness of "profit")This apropos nothing whatsoever and against a background of a society whose very existence depends on total cooperation, and whose past experience with holders who indulged in too much personal acquisition proved disastrous.

Anne herself dealt with the sexual "freedoms" of the Weyrs with a light and tactful hand, and while she mentioned in passing that some of the older and more conservative holders disliked this aspect of the Weyrs, she also went to some lengths to point out that they were usually mistaken in their assumptions about it all, were in the minority and not liked for their views.

Todd on the other hand hints at overall disgust against certain sexual orientations, specifically he mentions prejudice against a young lesbian girl, even within the Weyr itself, while indulging in a multiple partnered relationship revolving around an under aged girl with a strange inability to sleep alone.

His grammar is below high school level, as is his vocabulary, which also means his editor should be fired. On a purely technical level this finished book rises, barely, to the level of a very rough first draft, with elementary English corrections required on just about every page.

In the manner of the worst modern American "news" broadcasts, the book staggers from one disaster to the next and when the absolute worst is not happening, then it is being foreshadowed by non stop feelings of dread being expressed. The very dragons are bungling and inept at fighting thread. Predictable cross currents cannot be managed, so the losses are legion. There is no balance in this choppy narrative, and even characters previously fleshed out and developed in other books are turned to little more than names in the inane and meaningless dialogues.

Fiona, the main "character" at one point states that she would give her dragon to her friend if she could, a thought that would be impossible to entertain let alone express for anyone experiencing the dragon/rider bond. In fact there is almost no communication between the riders and their dragons at all in the book.

There is not a doubt in my mind that had this manuscript reached the slush pile of even an average editor without the McCaffrey name, it would have been rapidly, and correctly, rejected. It is a book that should never have seen the light of day, leaving the reader with the clear and uncomfortable certainty that the man and his publishers are quite willing to butcher Pern, its delightful inhabitants, and all of its subtle layering for the sole purpose of continuing a lucrative franchise.

My advice is not to encourage them.
50 of 55 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Less depth of character July 31 2010
By N. Hall - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I love Pern. I have read all of the Pern books. Pern is of the order of Middle Earth for me. In this book, I felt there was more concentration on Fiona's sex life than on a good story line. This is the first Pern novel that I felt like I had not really been in Pern. I wonder about taking young children and giving them mature emotions and abilities. I know some children who think they are grown up but in reality they are not mature enough to handle the kind of responsibility that was given the children in this book. That made the characters less real to me. I hope in future books, Todd spends more time developing his characters, letting the children be children and work more on the story line. Todd needs to get some pointers from his mother. She always kept me engrossed. I just couldn't put the books down.
32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What a strange Pern this is.. Aug. 23 2010
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This story leaves me with more questions than I should have.
Why does everyone like Fiona? Is her bed really full of pre-pubescent lesbians? Do we really need more mating flights in this one book than there are in the rest of the series? Why did Lytol bellyache about his beloved Larth every ten minutes, while everyone during this Pass treats losing a dragon like having an inconvenient toothache? Why are dragons eating sheep?! Where are the wherries? Why are people suddenly telepathic?

I haven't finished the book. It's painful to trudge through, especially with the unmemorable, indistinguishable characters. So little description has been provided that I can't even begin to picture these folks in my head.

The biggest question I have, halfway through this book - Have I read more of the Pern series than Todd?
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