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4.7 out of 5 stars
Dragonflight
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on February 17, 2004
Elves shooting bows, dwarves built like solid stone, and wizards enchanting little creatures with magical spells. Doesn't all that fantasy stuff get kind of boring after awhile? Lord of the Rings, Dragonlance, Sword of Shannarah, and many others are all the same, just with different names in different places doing different things. For the first time, I have finally read a fantasy novel that is different. With unimaginable imagination, author Anne McCaffrey creates a whole world of fantasy very different from the traditional styles. With realistic descriptions, complicated twists in plots, and a great, drawing style of writing, the author takes you on a journey you'd never thought existed. With the idea of dragons and humans as the main figment of fantasy in this novel, Anne McCaffrey combines just enough modern day sci-fi with medieval fantasy to create one great novel. Combining the ideas of dragons with a modern world where planets orbiting each other cause dangers, the author creates a magical world you would've thought had never existed. Not giving too much at a time, the author slowly draws you in and slowly, things become more and more clear as you near the end of the book. Many a time I have had to slap my head and say, "Geez! How come I never thought of that?" The complicated plot makes it hard for readers to guess the story and not get any delight out of reading it and being surprised by the answers they find to the plots. Though the book has a rather weak introduction and takes a while for the reader to get completely drawn into the world of Pern and it's dragons, it doesn't take long before you are unable to put the book down again. The suspense that the author creates at the climax of this book is amazing. I read for 5 straight hours through the climax because it was simply too fantastic to put down. I just HAD to know what happened next. Like an addiction, the book just draws you back and back like a magical spell was cast on you. Anne McCaffrey makes it seem so realistic that it's as if I was there throughout this whole adventure! After reading this book, I can't stop daydreaming day after day what a life on Pern with dragons would be like!
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on February 16, 2004
This book begins Anne McCaffrey's wonderful long-running series, "The Dragonriders of Pern." Although sold as a book for young adults and looking on the surface like a fantasy novel, "Dragonflight" is actually neither. Certainly, teenagers will (and do) love this book, but McCaffrey's work is mature and complicated enough for older readers of science fiction and fantasy to enjoy it on the same level as they would any work from an author of "mature" novels. And although the word "dragon" conjures up images of heroic fantasy, "Dragonflight" is actually science fiction: it only wears the outer clothing of fantasy. New readers will find this a surprise, as they learn that Pern isn't a "neverland" fantasy world, but an Earth-colonized planet; that the dragons are the native alien species who consume special minerals to chemically create their fire-breath; and that the evil menace that threatens the planet -- the "threads" -- are not supernatural monsters, but spores migrating from another planet that passes near Pern. Perhaps most surprising for a new reader is the focus on time-travel and time paradoxes; some of the most exciting parts of the book deal with the complexities, dangers, and potentials of time-travel.
The story takes place as Pern nears another invasion from the threads, but the planet is unprepared. Many people no longer believe in the threads (it has been hundreds of "turns" since the last attack), and there are fewer dragon dens (called "weyrs") than there once were to produce the creatures who can destroy the threads. Dragonrider T'Lar searches for a Weyrwoman to help him replenish the dragons before it is too late and unit the dragonriders to face the invasion.
This only scratches the surface of a tale full of suprises and unexpted turns. McCaffrey builds an intriguing world and wonderful characters, and each section of the book bursts with new revelations and plot turns. "Dragonflight" is not at all what you expect it to be...and that's an extremely high recommendation in these time when most science fiction and fantasy advertised for younger readers is bland and predictable.
This book also sets up the excellent second novel, "Dragonquest," which you will definitely want to read after this terrific book. Recommend for all fantasy and science fiction fans who have yet to take a wild trip on the back of Pernse bronze dragon.
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on December 3, 2003
This is definitely one of Anne McCaffrey's best novels. The plot centers around Lessa, the last pureblooded Ruathan on Pern whose genealogy is very telepathic. She's a very strong willed character who is accustomed to scheming and manipulation to get things accomplished, so when she gets manipulated into becoming the Weyrwoman of Pern, we see she has a great partner in F'lar, a strong willed bronze dragonrider. The clash of wills and ensuing romance makes for great reading.
This series of books is a must for anyone who's into fantasy heavily involving dragons. The series is also good for science fiction lovers although much of the science fiction is concentrated in later novels with scattered references to interesting seemingly out of place technology scattered through most of the novels.
As for my title, I really wonder why this book hasn't been made into a movie. The characters are quite strong and technology has advanced to where the dragons and fighting against thread can be done very well. My imagination for these characters is great, but I'd love to see what Hollywood could do for at least this first novel.
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on June 29, 2003
As soon as i picked up Dragonflight I fell in love with it. Its a story about a young girl named Lessa, who sense she was ten years old, all she thought about was revenge on lord holder Fax who murdered her family. Now with Fax killed by a mysterious dragon rider, who then offers her a chance of a lifetime,to become the sole weyrwoman of pern. Accepting this new challenge and surrendering her hold to the claim of a newborn infent,she sets of on a journy. She impresises a dragon queen Ramoth. The new weyrleader, F'lar,the same man who killed Fax. with the help of Lessa try to convince the people of pern that the red star is falling into position so that a four-hundered turn old threat will come back. The threat of thread, the silver fire that comes from the red star, will return, the sole purpose of the dragonriders,to protect pern from thread. Like the old saying "Dragonmen must fly/when thread is in the sky." When thread returns and the dragons number to low to fight it all Lessa and F'lar must work together to find a way to fight thread and save the beautiful planet pern. This novel will keep you reading with a profound curiousity to this mystical world of Pern!
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on May 5, 2003
Lessa waited 10 long years in hiding for her chance to reclaim her birthright. As the last of the Ruathan blood, she must hide her true identity or be killed by Fax, the usurper who killed all of her kin and claimed Ruatha Hold for his own. When the dragonrider, F'lar, comes on search for some likely candidates to impress dragons, Lessa knew that her time had come. Unfortunately, her plans did not go quite the way she wanted them to and she ends up in Benden Weyr, where she impresses the Queen dragon, the beautiful Ramoth. Even though Lessa is now Weyrwoman and dragonrider, her troubles are far from over. The dragons live to kill thread, deadly spores that fall from the sky and eat every living thing in their paths. But thread have not fallen for over 400 Turns and the people of Pern no longer want to support the dragonriders, of which few are left. F'lar is convinced that the thread will fall again - and soon. Can F'lar and Lessa mobilize the forces of Pern to fight the deadly forces of thread and survive?
Dragonflight is the first book in Anne McCaffrey's highly acclaimed Dragonriders of Pern series. She carefully eases you into the world of Pern and the reader has no trouble visualizing the planet and its people. McCaffrey also has a nice, easy to understand writing style that will make this book popular among young adults and adults alike. Her characters are engaging and anyone will root for the stubborn, opinionated Lessa and her all-too-perfect mate, F'lar. Readers will also love the fact that this book is the start of a long series and that, even though F'lar and Lessa are not the main characters of all of them, they figure into most of them so feel free to get attached to them! If you have not yet read any books by McCaffrey then you are in for a real treat!
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on April 13, 2003
Dragonflight is the first novel in the Dragonriders of Pern trilogy. The settlers on Pern discovered the hard way that their planet is periodically swept by giant virus-like organisms that fall from the sky and eat away living things like an acid. Since these threads are susceptible to fire, the settlers have developed an organic weapon to defend against the infestations: fire-breathing dragons. However, these threads have not appeared for several centuries and mankind is beginning to lose the hard-earned knowledge and customs that form the core of their defense, to the point of letting the dragons and riders of the weyrs dwindle to a fraction of the necessary muster. Now only Benden Weyr is occupied.
In this novel, Lessa had been the lawful heir of Ruatha Hold, but Lord Fax has conquered this hold and four others and now Lessa is posing as a kitchen drudge. Flightleader F'lar of Benden Weyr has come to the High Reaches searching for candidates to impress a Queen in the next hatching. After visiting Lord Fax's Hold, Crom, and the various guild halls, the dragonriders travel to the other five held by the High Reaches, finally coming to Ruatha. Fax's Lady, Gemma, is about ready to birth another child and, when he becomes disgusted with the vile experience provided to him by the hold and with a little nudging by Lessa, Fax renounces his claim to Ruatha in the favor of Gemma's child, if it is male and lives. Lady Gemma dies in childbirth, but the boy child lives. Moreover, Fax attacks Lessa and F'lar comes to her rescue, killing Fax in a fair duel. Lessa then abdicates her claim to Ruatha and flies with F'Lar to Benden Weyr for the hatching.
Eventually thread begins to fall and the Lord Holders learn first-hand why they must pay duty to the dragonriders. Suddenly, old teaching songs and other records are in great demand and the Master Harper, Robinton, finds his craft's services are urgently needed.
This novel is soft science fiction, bordering on fantasy, but "Weyr Search" was first debuted in Analog. The rationale that allows dragons to fly and breath fire is rather slim, but psionic talents have been admitted to the canon on a speculative basis. Aside from these two issues, the Pern series is a fairly standard story of space pioneers who lose most of their technology due to a disaster. The details are mostly borrowed from the middle ages, but with certain modern concepts retained by the Harpers, who are teachers and philosophers in addition to their function as entertainers.
This novel is considered a modern classic in the SF community. "Weyr Search" created an unusual amount of interest among the rather prosaic Analog readership and the sequels have continued to gain popularity. I was among those who read the original Analog stories and have continued to enjoy the author's works. While the plots are rather simple, the character development is first class. Although very prolific, the author is an exemplary craftsperson who never fails to write a satisfying story.
Highly recommended to McCaffrey fans and anyone who enjoys exotic societies, intelligent animals, and political intrigue in a SF setting.
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on October 17, 2002
For me, the thing that makes a book a classic is whether or not it comes to mind occasionally in the year after I have read it. If I don't then find myself comparing it to recently read plotlines or movies from the same genre, it would not be worth a five star rating. In this case, I have (drumroll please) over 10 years' worth of ponderings and influence to demonstrate that Dragonflight -- and the entire trilogy -- is an unparalleled classic.
Thumbnail sketch of the plot: a futuristic world barely settled by mankind, which was then cut off from all contact and aid from the motherworld (Earth). Genetic engineering of native life forms to create "Dragons" which form psychic links to individual humans (dragonriders)for life, to aid in fighting a recurring biological threat. Centuries pass between attacks, causing subsequent generations to forget the dragons' purpose, take the dragonriders for granted and weaken their defenses gradually. Now there are signs that the attacks will begin again soon, and the people are caught unprepared. The stage is set for Lessa, a young insignificant, to rise to the top of the dragonrider heirarchy along with F'lar, a seasoned rider, as his mate.
I was tempted to dock a star from the rating based on some formulaic elements: the young, fiery, independant-spirited heroine challenging the restrictive views of her medieval society, the super-Alpha male hero who tries to dominate her but comes to appreciate her in the end...if you've read one, you will recognize the Lessa and F'lar characters, as well as some others as such Romance novel archetypes. Despite this, McCaffrey draws them well and uses her characters perfectly to play up the tension and confusion that Pern is going though. HOWEVER. Even if you could hate everything else about this book (not that that's really plausible), you would still have to hand it to McCaffrey for her magnificent, mysterious, humanchild-esque dragons. It could have had something to do with my youth at the time, but those dragons made and impression on me that lasts to this day and is still the standard in my mind for the believability of any alien character in a novel.

Anne McCaffrey wrote the Harper Hall trilogy and the first Dragonrider trilogy in the earlier days of her writing career. Some have opined that her latter writings show improvement; I disagree with extreme prejudice. Or rather, it is not her writing style (mediocre) that elevates the best McCaffrey books, but that infuriatingly elusive freshness that somehow trickled away after that first decade of mainstream success. The unjaded, imaginative approach to her (un)mythological dragons challenged the reader to discard the "monster" bias and even fall in love a little. No small feat, that.
Thank you, Anne, for the wonder and delight of Pern and its dragons.
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on August 17, 2002
I first started to read Anne McCaffery's books towards the end of grade 8. I had a goal to read all of them. I started to read the HarperHall Trilogy first ans i was totally amazed! Ms. McCaffery's writing style was so different from the other author's I read. She can make the book so interesting and keep developing the main plot while interwining the sub plots. Well, if you don't understand what I said, her books are just plain good! She builds up the characters, making you feel like you've known them alll your life. The chapters flow nicely into each other and once in a while something romantic about the characters. I literally couldn't tear my eyes off the book.
Dragonflight is about a girl named Lessa. When she was about ten or so, this ambitious man named Fax took over her hold (A settlement of people) and murdered her family. She was the only surviving member of the Ruathan bloodline. She went into hiding for ten years and when Fax died, she was ready to claim her birthright to Ruathan Hold. As it turns out, F'lar a dragonrider was on Search (a search for able woman to impress a queen dragon) and he told Lessa she could become a weyrwoman (female leader of a settlement of dragonriders). Lessa agreed and became weyrwoman of Benden Weyr. THus begins a fantastic plot of developing romance between Lessa and F'lar and threatening thread!
I never had a favorite author before but now it's for certain Anne McCaffery! As for a favorite book, there's too many of her books to choose from! I really recommend this book to others who would like to get themselves lost in the midst of dragons!
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on August 13, 2002
... I started out with thte harperhall trilogy and i found that AMAZING! Her style is just so good, she keeps the chapters flowing nicely into each other. And romance laced with the excitement! I spent the whole day reading Dragonsong! Well, I got hooked!
I had final exams and couldn't read as much but I finished the rest of the HarperHall trilogy right after. I started the dragonriders of pern series and Dragonflight was just plain good!
The book is about Lessa who had to hide and pretend to be a drudge when her family was murdered by Fax, a ambitious man who controlled seven holds. She came out of hiding to announce her birthright to Ruatha Hold. But she met F'lar who told her she could be a dragonrider. Thus begins a plot of romance (with F'lar of course!) and saving all of Pern. Yes, I love romance!
I have finished the next two books, Dragonquest and The White Dragon. They too are marvelous books and I plan to get those three for Christmas. They too are great with of romance (F'nor and Brekke, Jaxom and Sharra) and excitement.I have a goal to finish the rest of the Dragonriders trilogy.
I never really had a favorite author but now I can for certain say that Anne McCaffery is my favorite author! But I still don't have a favorite book yet because..... There's too many Dragonrider of Pern books to pick from!
I really hope more people will read this book...
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on June 12, 2002
I must say that this book is one of my ABSOLUTE favorites! I have read it so many times that I almost know it all by heart! This book tells the story of Lessa, (my fav. character) who Impresses the last golden-queen dragon of Pern, Ramoth and how, basically, they defy all and, against all the odds against them, the save the world. This was the 1st Pern book I have ever read, and I say you should definetly read this one first. It makes understanding the different ranks and colors of the dragons easier...it makes you understand the real, emotional bond that the dragons and their riders have...how their minds are linked and how they understand everything about the other... This world is so believable that it makes me want to go to Pern and Impress a dragon! (lol) One of my favorite parts would have to be when Ramoth rose in flight to be caught by Mnementh, whose rider is F'lar, who was the only bronzerider who believed that the ancient menace of Thread would fall once again in the skies of Pern. And lo, was he ever correct! He and Lessa and Ramoth and Mnementh make the BEST couple, and their fierce wit and sense of knowing make the story fast-paced and wonderful! You get to really know all the characters like you are actually standing there, with them...its great! This is a TOTAL read for dragon fans and even sci/fi and fantasy fans! Its great for all ages, though I do warn against the 10 and under year olds-they might not get the concept. PLEASE READ! ITS SO WORTH A HARBACK VERSION! (I have all these books, so trust me!) :OD
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