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To the nobles who live in Benden Weyr, Lessa is nothing but a ragged kitchen girl. For most of her life she has survived by serving those who betrayed her father and took over his lands. Now the time has come for Lessa to shed her disguise—and take back her stolen birthright.

But everything changes when she meets a queen dragon. The bond they share will be deep and last forever. It will protect them when, for the first time in centuries, Lessa’s world is threatened by Thread, an evil substance that falls like rain and destroys everything it touches. Dragons and their Riders once protected the planet from Thread, but there are very few of them left these days. Now brave Lessa must risk her life, and the life of her beloved dragon, to save her beautiful world. . . .

299 pages, Paperback

First published July 1, 1968

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About the author

Anne McCaffrey

580 books7,093 followers
Anne McCaffrey was born on April 1st, 1926, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Her parents were George Herbert McCaffrey, BA, MA PhD (Harvard), Colonel USA Army (retired), and Anne Dorothy McElroy McCaffrey, estate agent. She had two brothers: Hugh McCaffrey (deceased 1988), Major US Army, and Kevin Richard McCaffrey, still living.

Anne was educated at Stuart Hall in Staunton Virginia, Montclair High School in Montclair, New Jersey, and graduated cum laude from Radcliffe College, majoring in Slavonic Languages and Literatures.

Her working career included Liberty Music Shops and Helena Rubinstein (1947-1952). She married in 1950 and had three children: Alec Anthony, b. 1952, Todd, b.1956, and Georgeanne, b.1959.

Anne McCaffrey’s first story was published by Sam Moskowitz in Science Fiction + Magazine and her first novel was published by Ballantine Books in 1967. By the time the three children of her marriage were comfortably in school most of the day, she had already achieved enough success with short stories to devote full time to writing. Her first novel, Restoree, was written as a protest against the absurd and unrealistic portrayals of women in s-f novels in the 50s and early 60s. It is, however, in the handling of broader themes and the worlds of her imagination, particularly the two series The Ship Who Sang and the fourteen novels about the Dragonriders of Pern that Ms. McCaffrey’s talents as a story-teller are best displayed.

She died at the age of 85, after suffering a massive stroke on 21 November 2011.

Obituaries: Locus, GalleyCat.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 4,081 reviews
February 17, 2016
I understand that this book (and series) has a lot of haters. Their complaints are valid, but I still regard this as one of the best sci-fi fantasies I've ever read.

I started reading this series really young, and got so caught up in the whole "OMG DRAGONS" part of it that I didn't even realize until later that this book had sci-fi elements, namely, that we are on a different freaking planet here. It's a mishmash of several genres that worked surprisingly well.

From the other reviews of the book I've read, the main complaints about the book seems to be the fact that the leading male character is kind of an asshole, of the Jericho-fucking-Barrons sort. Let me tell you that I hate Jericho-fucking-Barrons (come ON, I have a fucking shelf named after him, for Christ's sake).

Yes, this book can be conveyed as being misogynistic, but I don't think that's fair to the main characters. F'lar is an asshole at times, but he needs to be tough and a leader. I'm not using that as an excuse, I'm just saying that his character was not over the top, and he is not an asshole for the sake of being an asshole, unlike Jericho-fucking-Barrons.

Keep in mind also that this book was published a long time ago (1968!). You have to make reasonable accomodations for that; and this book was pretty well advanced for its days. Lessa, the main female character, may be a bitch at times, but taking into consideration her very difficult background, her behavior is perfectly fitting with her character.

However dated it is, this book still has one of the most well-thought out setting I've ever read in fantasy and sci-fi. The dragons and how they came about, the societal structure, the culture, everything was well-written and believable.

No, this book is not perfect, but I adored this book and this series.

Read this review and more @ The Book Eaters
Profile Image for Lilyan.
335 reviews91 followers
September 21, 2014
This whole review is a "Spoiler" so don't read it. On the other hand, nothing interesting happens in the book anyway, so might as well save yourself the trouble of reading the actual book.

People of Pern: What's that in the sky! Is it a bird? Is it a Plane? Is it SUPERMAN? Ugh, no.. It's those goddamned Dragonmen, trying to filch our resources.

Dragon People We are Dragonmen! We will protect you from the evil threads!

Evil Threads:

People of Pern: Sod off, there's no such thing.

Lessa: Aha! The dragonmen are here! I will use them to regain my kingdom! Wait, where are you taking me! I don't want to be a dragonwoman! I want to rule my kingdom.... Actually, scratch that! On second thought, I want to be a dragonwoman. Oh I love my dragon, her eyes are so beautiful, I want to get lost in them


Lessa : I hate F'lar! I like F'lar! I hate F'lar! I'll have sex with F'lar! Only because his dragon chased mine and raped her. Dragon sex makes me feel so kinky! BUT I STILL HATE YOU F'LAR YOU SON OF A BITCH.

F'lar : I'm having sex with Lessa and she is the Weyrwoman, yet I will continue to call her "girl" because I'm from the stone age.

Time Travel is discovered. Hooray.

Evil Threads start falling.

People of Pern: Oh no! Dragonmen, Dragonmen! Save us! The Evil Threads Exist!

Evil Threads:


F'lar: Ahahah! I am so clever, I knew this would happen all along. Ahahaha! Now, if I could only get that "Girl" to love me.

Lessa : Let's time travel and bring more dragons! Hooray! I hate F'lar! I like F'lar! I'm going to have some more sex with him

End of Book 1

Profile Image for Mike.
1,138 reviews151 followers
February 9, 2008
What a disappointment. It started out just fine with Lessa, sole survivor of her family wreaking revenge on the evil dude who conquered "Ruatha Hold". The whole dragon/human mind meld thing was okay too. The part that really disgusted me was the whole raping/physical abuse shtick by the supposed hero. My thoughts were, if this was my daughter as the heroine, then the only thing to be done would "bag and tag" that F'lar a**hole cause I would have invented the .45 cal and then blown his head off with it. I don't get why this was important to the storyline, gee abuse the girl long enough and she'll fall for you in the end. Frankly thought it was stupid.

Another thing that r'ally ann'yed me was the st'pid ap'strophe w'y to sp'll ev'ryone's friggin' n'mes!!! I want to pour scalding hot klah on the whole bunch.

The premise that the world forgets, within a few years, a recurring extraterrestrial threat that destroys entire continents was idiotic. If they really forget the whole technological base that enabled them to defeat the "threads", the whole society deserves to perish. And "threads" are not a very exciting enemy, "wow, look at them falling from the sky in clumps..."

Dialogue sucks mostly. Toward the end, there were parts where somebody "roared" with laughter, but I never saw anything remotely funny to cause it.

I was really looking forward to a long and interesting series but not here. Good thing I didn't buy any of the follow-on's. I may have a tough time starting some of her other novels I have on the "to-read" list.
Profile Image for Markus.
476 reviews1,562 followers
May 9, 2016
It always pains me when a beloved classic is just not good enough. Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey was unfortunately plain unenjoyable.

The setting is the least intriguing one I have been faced with in quite a long time. There was just nothing to pique my interest on the world of Pern. In the author’s defence, she wrote this book in a time when only Tolkien had had the vision and ambition to take a fantasy world to marvellous complexity, and long before the intricacy and skills of the likes of Jordan, Martin, Erikson and Sanderson surfaced to take up the mantle. But I have seen many wonderful worlds in stories from before the current generation, and Pern simply does not measure up.

The plot was in my eyes horribly executed. If if was supposed to be exciting, it all happened in the wrong order with the wrong people and nothing ever went wrong; in short, no suspense was created nor any interest sparked, and there was no reason to care about what happened. As for the characters, the most special part about them was the silly overuse of apostrophes in their names.

Dragonriders of Pern is inarguably entry level fantasy. That is never a bad thing in itself, and I am sure McCaffrey’s fans have reasons why they enjoy her books. But personally, this is fantasy on a level which I would not recommend to anyone, and I would much rather suggest the heavily criticised Inheritance Cycle (which was partly inspired by this series, but in my eyes is far less overrated).

In the end, there was nothing to inspire or excite me in Dragonflight, and not even anything to connect with. The only thing that even slightly interested me was the combination of fantasy and science fiction elements, which we of course see very little of.
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,324 reviews2,145 followers
April 1, 2017
I cannot imagine why I have never read this before. I have had plenty of time to do so since it was first published in 1968. It is fantasy/ sci fi, two of my favourite genres. And it has dragons in it! What more could I want?
Well I have now read it and I am joining the side of the people who love it! I thought the world building was extremely good and I liked the idea of the threads (some kind of weird fungal growth) periodically falling on the planet and threatening to destroy it.
The idea of the Dragonriders being chosen by their baby dragons, probably while they are still in their eggs has certainly been copied a few times. (Eragon?). In fact a lot of her ideas about dragons have probably been copied since 1968:)
The characters are well written, dragons as well as humans. Lessa annoyed me a few times by leaping to conclusions and acting without thought but of course the consequences did further the story.
Really I am giving it five stars because while I was reading it I was practically living inside the book! I was so involved I was even thinking about it when I was not reading. To me that is always the sign of a really good book. Now on to the next one.............
Profile Image for Sarah.
733 reviews73 followers
February 7, 2017
This was an entertaining book and I enjoyed most of it at a three star level. However, the romance drove me absolutely insane. I was gritting my teeth and wondering if I could actually count the number of times that F'lar shook Lessa, because we women love being shaken into sensibility, and a bit later I ran across these.

"Oh, F'lar will be so angry with me. He will shake me and shake me. He always shakes me when I disobey him."

"He'll shake me," Lessa cried, like a little girl.

"I told you he'd shake me," Lessa was saying, dashing tears from her face"

I don't know what the author's intention was but anyone who shakes me that much is getting brained.
Profile Image for Jessica.
584 reviews23 followers
May 16, 2007
It should be stated that I squandered most of junior high reading Anne McCaffrey's sci-fi/fantasy novels near-exclusively, but this was my first time revisiting her since then. I was surprised to find that the first book in the Dragonriders of Pern series actually does have a good story, with interesting characters and an excellent invented world. However, the writing is just abominable, and in spite of being a woman, McCaffrey is frustratingly chauvanistic. The (lack of) copyediting makes me cry, and the writing is something you just have to suffer through, but the idea is really inventive, and I can totally understand how I got so sucked into her books as a kid. I wouldn't exactly recommend that you run out and check her books out, but if you liked them back in the day, revisiting them isn't as painful as you might have thought it would be.
Profile Image for Magrat Ajostiernos.
580 reviews4,073 followers
June 2, 2020
'El vuelo del dragón' nos presenta un mundo, Pern, donde los dragoneros (jinetes de dragón que se comunican telepáticamente con estas criaturas capaces de teleportarse) se encargan de lidiar con la amenaza de unas hebras que caen del cielo cada 200 años y aniquilan la tierra sobre la que se posan. Cuando la historia comienza hace 400 años que no aparecen estas hebras, y en consecuencia los dragoneros y su labor se ha visto desprestigiada y apenas tienen recursos ya, en ese momento aparecerá Lessa, nuestra protagonista, dispuesta a cambiar el discurrir de la Historia de Pern.
Esta novela es un clasicazo de la fantasía (se publicó originariamente en 1968) y por eso hacía muchos años que la tenía pendiente a pesar de contar con críticas muy enfrentadas.
Ahora que por fin lo he leído ya puedo decir que lo he disfrutado muchísimo, PERO hay que aclarar que este es un libro claramente conflictivo para el lector contemporáneo y sin duda no ha soportado muy bien el paso del tiempo en algunos temas.
Yo me lo he pasado pipa con esta lectura (a pesar de lo sencilla y simple que resulta en ocasiones) porque contiene dos de las cosas que más me gustan: DRAGONES y VIAJES EN EL TIEMPO. No puedo pedirle más a la vida.
Sea como sea, este libro tiene varias cosas muy positivas como una protagonista completamente genial (rebelde, astuta, maliciosa), una trama que no puedes soltar y unas cuantas ideas super interesantes.
Tiene otras negativas, como la violencia implícita en la relación de varios personajes principales, ese mensaje de la importancia de las tradiciones y la sangre o el desenlace tan apresurado.
Me hubiera gustado ver mucho más a los secundarios, de los que apenas sabemos nada, o un poquito más de ese interesante mundo que crea la autora. Además de la protagonista lo que más me ha gustado sin duda han sido los dragones: glotones, esquivos, inteligentes y leales con quien tienen que serlo (mi gente preferida).
Me ha resultado muy curioso (y genial) también que los dragoneros aunque les toque el papel de héroe no son los típicos nobles y buenazos, se comportan constantemente entre ellos casi como villanos, siendo irrespetuosos y engañosos aún teniendo unas normas caballerescas muy presentes.
Así que bueno, sí, esta ha sido una lectura rara , a veces es cierto que ha llegado a incomodarme alguna situación, pero de todas maneras me ha parecido un libro entretenidísimo y me he quedado con muchas ganas de seguir con esta saga.
Desgraciadamente está descatalogadísima en castellano, que yo sepa.
Profile Image for Brad.
Author 2 books1,712 followers
June 25, 2009
Lately I have been noticing a recurring observation about the quality of first books in various series. There seems to be a growing consensus in reviews that the first book of a series, particularly if it is the first book published by an author, is inherently weak because the author is "learning their craft."

It seems to be both an excuse for what is perceived as poor quality and an excuse for going on in the series despite being underwhelmed by the opener.

I had this in mind as I began reading Anne McCaffrey's Dragonflight, and for two thirds of the book I thought it was a perfect descriptor of what I was seeing.

But once I finished the book, I thought that maybe "the poor opener" isn't always the case (although I willingly concede that this is probably the case more often than not). Perhaps there is something else going on -- especially in something like Dragonflight.

Dragonflight is a fast read, and it is sparingly written. We get a taste of the main characters -- F'lar and Mnementh, Lessa and Ramoth, F'nor and Canth -- but we aren't given much time with them, not enough to get to know them deeply. McCaffrey races us through the story, spanning many Turns (the Pernese year) in a very short time. There is a clear goal to her plot -- save Pern from the threat of the Threads -- and McCaffrey is ruthless and expedient in getting us there.

I can understand how many readers see this as a narrative failure. After all, we like getting to know characters in the books we read, and we seem to prefer saving our breathless action driven stories for the big screen.

If this is our preference, a story which focuses on the latter rather than the former has failed on some level, and that failure is generally considered the writer's failure and, more specifically, a failure of their writing.

I wonder, though, if this is always the case. It seems to me that it is just as likely that Dragonflight's quickness could have more to do with the peculiarities of its publishing (it was two novellas squished together to make a novel), the requirements of a first time writer to get their work just right so that it can be published at all (which often means cutting out superfluities), and the tendency of first books to be edited more thoroughly than future books.

Once you've become "Anne McCaffrey," for instance, editors tend to step back and give you more room. They let you spend many more ages on character building, and you're given less notes on your work. You are "Anne McCaffrey," best selling author, and you must know what you're doing, so do what you want.

Perhaps then, Dragonflight is a product of the necessities of a first novel rather than an example of the author not being polished in her writing skills.

All this aside, I appreciated the quickness of the tale. There is something to be said for brevity, and I felt I got enough of the characters. I cared about them without knowing everything, and some of their shabbier behaviours -- such as F'lar's constant physical abuse of Lessa, and Lessa's infuriating capacity for inspired stupidity -- were more tolerable than they might have been if I'd been forced to spend time digging through their psychologies.

Of course, this appreciation for skeletal characterization could all be the screenwriter in me (I doubt it, though, since the main complaint about my screenplays by those with the money is that they are too character driven), but that's okay because that informs the kind of reader I can be. Every once in a while I like my stories quick and my characters less defined (although this is far from always the case), and Dragonflight fit that bill right when I needed it most.

Regardless, Dragonflight was a surprise for me, and I liked it much more than I thought I would. I don't know if I will go on, though. I may just let it stand alone, enjoying its quality as is.
Profile Image for Steph.
447 reviews9 followers
October 27, 2007
I read this book back in sixth grade and thought it was exciting in the "wow, dragons are so cool; I wish I had one!" sense. I read it again on a whim and found it unintentionally disturbing. It's not just that the writing seemed dry and the characterization wooden. I realize the book was written in the late 60's, but the male-female dynamics still seem uncomfortably dated. The text seems to condone F'lar's treatment of Lessa; he patronizes her, yells at her, shakes her when he's angry, and practically rapes her. She never confronts him about it. And then, plot aside, she's supposed to "come around" to love him in the end. I never noticed it when I was younger, but it troubles me now that this is supposed to feel romantic.
Profile Image for Sebastien Castell.
Author 47 books4,306 followers
April 9, 2019
It's been ages since I read Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey. It was my first introduction to her writing and more specifically her world of Pern with its blend of fantasy and sci-fi (everything looks fantasy but is explained – thanks to the ubiquitous prologues across the series – as science fiction.) I rarely re-read books, but felt like going back to something familiar and so thought I'd give Dragonflight a try to see how it has aged in the intervening years.

The first thing that strikes a modern reader is how remarkably gendered everything is in that world. Women and men serve very different roles, which sometimes feels so off as to be grating. This didn't surprise me since, even as a teenager, I remembered finding Dragonflight oddly sexist in ways that sometimes felt out of step even with the world as presented in the pages of the book. What I noticed this time was that it was a bit funny how even the dragons get this treatment: gold dragons are vital, matronly forces whose primary function and source of pride is producing large quantities of eggs. Green dragons are . . . well, kind of promiscuous for the hell of it.

The women in the books tend towards similar descriptions, either being consumed with the idea of maternal duty or with sleeping with as many dragonriders as possible. There are plenty of exceptions, of course, otherwise the book would descend into self-satire, but the trend feels so consistent as to sometimes make it hard to distinguish between one secondary character and another. More troubling, of course, is the constant shaking of women, the use of physically dominant actions even as modes of affection, and the unclear way in which consent is understood within the world.

I'll dispense with this part of the review quickly, since I lack any useful training or qualification for delivering much of an analysis other than, "Geez, it sure seems kinda sexist a lot of the time." I do find it kind of embarrassing to read online the far-reaching justifications for the world of Pern, that so often seek to find some explanation for its preposterously gendered rules beyond the obvious one that Anne McCaffrey just happened to have views about gender that don't fit all that well in our contemporary world. This always seems like the problem with call-out culture, though: if something is popular enough, rationales are constructed by which to grant the author a pass, even when it's the work itself and not the author that we should have the issues with.

But why does that desire to preserve the sanctity of McCaffrey's books exist in the first place? Because they're just really good stories. The world of Pern, its peculiar dragons and dragonriders, the economics and politics and social conflicts that emerge from the threat of spores that periodically come from the sky, destroying everything in their path, makes for interesting reading even decades later. It's worth noting that Dragonsong, McCaffrey's third book set in this world, remains my favourite children's book of all time and though I have nothing demographically in common with Menolly these days, I still have no difficulty seeing the world of Pern through her eyes and sharing in her adventures.

It's also worth noting that even in Dragonflight, Lessa, the main character of the book, has loads of agency despite the highly gendered world she lives in. I wouldn't go so far as to say she challenges those roles, but certainly she chooses to interpret them in her own way despite the resistance she gets from everyone around her.

All of this confuses and conspires to make Dragonflight a mixed bag for me. The quality of storytelling seems undeniable, and even the problematic aspects of the book are sometimes confounded by McCaffrey's own narrative choices. At first I thought the sexist aspects were just my present, much older self reading with the voices of online outrage culture shouting in my head, but as the book went along I remembered that all these elements struck me as troubling even as a teenage boy.

I suppose all that leaves to say is this: Dragonflight is a good book, and one fantasy and sci-fi fans who haven't yet journeyed to Pern for the first time are likely to enjoy, even as they may find themselves staring curiously at the pages, wondering why it was so damned important that women fit into such narrow roles.
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,882 reviews16.6k followers
October 4, 2021
*** 2021 Reread –


This book has dragons in it.

Anne McCaffrey’s 1968 novel, put together with two previously published award winning novellas, about the Pern colonization and the subsequent genetic husbandry of flying lizards, got the whole Dragon riders of Pern series off to a great start.

McCaffrey, who passed away in 2011, began the series in her early 40s, just before emigrating to Ireland where she would live the rest of her long and productive life. As of this date, there are over 20 novels and collections about Pern and the Dragon riders are only one story arc on that amazing world building.

Our central protagonist is Leesa and she is a strong female lead that may have been a fresh turn for fantasy writing during this period. (McCaffrey herself would be the first woman to win either a Hugo or a Nebula award). Leesa can be bold and impetuous, but rather than a detriment, these qualities greatly benefit Leesa and especially in her role as a leader to her people.

Like some of the best fantasy writing, the magic rules (here regarding the dragons) are minimalistic and McCaffrey actually does a great job blending elements of science fiction and fantasy, along with some subtle social commentary, into an enjoyable read.

Very influential on SF wring since, this is a must read for a fan of the genre.

Profile Image for Libby.
157 reviews11 followers
June 15, 2009
I truly enjoyed this book and am looking forward to continuing with the series. This work is a well-written, creative adventure novel with the perfect amount of romance. It’s storytelling at its best.

The book is a nice mix of Science Fiction and Fantasy. The setting is the world of Pern. We are told in the Prologue that Pern is a planet settled by Earthlings but now long forgotten. It has apparently reverted back to a feudal type society where most of the citizens live in “holds” which are historically protected by “Weyrs”. The biggest threat facing Pern is environmental; the Threads fall from a neighboring planet and destroy all organic matter on Pern. For centuries the Dragonmen, residents of the Weyrs, have used their dragons to sear the Threads out of the sky before they can infect Pern. But now, over 400 years have passed without any Threads falling and the people of Pern believe the danger is over and that the Dragonmen have outlived their purpose. Too late, we find out that failing to maintain and believe in tradition has weakened the people of Pern and there are dire consequences when the Threads return.

I’ve seen a lot of criticism here that the book lacks character development and/or that the main romantic relationship is sexist and abusive etc. I do agree that this book is somewhat dated and that how writers represent romantic relationships has certainly altered to reflect the current social norms. However, I think the romantic relationship between F’lar and Lessa, while dated, is not outright abusive. As the setting of the book is feudal, I think the male dominate culture is appropriate. Further, much of this resolves as you see their relationship evolve over the course of the book into a relationship of equals. All that aside, this is a Sci/Fi / Fantasy novel not a dating manual. I find it odd that readers expect to see healthy, politically correct relationships and/or that they expect people to emulate the relationships they read about in books; if that’s true so much for Wuthering Heights. The relationship fits the setting and works for the novel. I think people may read too much into it.

The highlight of this book for me is the amazing relationship between a rider and his/her dragon. Once a dragon Impresses a rider they are forever two parts of one whole. The relationship is unique and moving. It’s a great companion aspect to the fast paced and engaging plot. I’d recommend this to anyone who enjoys a book that is a lighter read while still being a richly told adventure story.
Profile Image for Graeme Rodaughan.
Author 9 books348 followers
March 3, 2019
Reads like fantasy - actually science fiction, and pure genius. I fell in love with this book when I first read it. Leesa, is a genuine heroine and standout character, and the dragons are marvelous.
Profile Image for Justine.
1,155 reviews311 followers
October 29, 2020
3.5 stars

My first time reading this 1968 classic!

I read this for my 2020 TBR challenge for the category of a book published before I was born. This was actually way more enjoyable than I expected it to be. I liked all the interesting ideas, and even though I had it figured out before the end it was still pretty exciting to read.
Profile Image for Jerry.
4,694 reviews63 followers
August 30, 2022
Anne McCaffrey, who sadly passed away some years ago, has long been heralded as one of the queens of science fiction and fantasy. Her short story "The Smallest Dragonboy" has even found its way into middle school literature textbooks. Dragonflight is the first entry in her insanely-long Pern series, and felt like a television series premiere in many ways, good and bad. The story was compelling, the writing was mostly good (though there are a few rough spots), and it made for good interplanetary fun. However, there were some troublesome parts, and not just the aforementioned "rough spots"; though the book was good as a whole, it still needed some work. Let's hope that the late Ms. McCaffrey improved in her writing ability as time went on.
Profile Image for L.S. Popovich.
Author 2 books341 followers
July 10, 2020
The start of a well-known series. While the writing was on par with many fantasies I've read, the characters and setting did not amaze me. It is dragon-centric, so heavy with dragon-lore and dragon-activities and dragon-relationships and dragony stuff that it left me curious about the characters.

For all of its world building, threads and mind-tapping, and so forth, it fell rather flat for me. I can see how plenty of people will enjoy the series. It has the right tropes, and it is competently written, but the power and majesty of the author's fictional universe did not come through. While reading more compelling series at the moment, I was less than impressed by this one.
Profile Image for Wanda Pedersen.
1,923 reviews386 followers
February 12, 2021
2021 Re-read

I can still see why this appealed so strongly to me when I was in my twenties. I identified with Lessa's outrage when it is assumed that she can't do things or can't understand things that the men can. It's obvious that she is more intelligent than most of the dragonrider men, who behave like arrogant jerks. Also, the main characters are in their late teens, early twenties, so no wonder twenties me found them attractive, especially when the older people are represented as hidebound and rather clueless.
(McCaffrey was in her early 40s when she started publishing Pern material, but one has to wonder when she started writing it and why she made people her own age so uninspiring.)

F'lar is not as bad a jerk as some of the other men, but he's very much a 1970s character. His tendency to shake Lessa and to slap her when she gets “hysterical" is tiresome. (Women seem to get accused of hysteria whenever men don't want to listen to them). His casual assumption that a very young woman from a very different background will have the same sexual mores and experience as him is unfortunate, as is the fact that no one mentions to Lessa that when two dragons mate, their bonded humans follow suit. There's a lot to the dragon life that Lessa has to piece together on her own.

McCaffrey gives us a smart, strong female main character in Lessa, but then gives up the most of the authority to F'lar. I guess she couldn't envision women running anything besides the kitchens and the medIcal ward? Even the naming conventions for men are different, with the young men getting their fancy names with apostrophes when they become dragonriders, while women in the same circumstances don't. With queen dragons ruling the roost, there would have been all kinds of interesting directions to take Weyr politics, rather than just taking the safe, patriarchal route.

It's the dragons themselves that make this fantasy world interesting. I think all of us who love animals dream of actually being able to communicate with them a la Dr Doolittle. I think for twenty year old me, the thought of having a purpose & a planned out future because of a dragon-bond was very attractive too. No need to agonize over how to support myself or how to use my time. Now approaching 60, I'd be resentful of having a large lizard to take care of every single damn day. Plus, dragons to me look like they could be long lived critters, but they basically suicide when their bonded human dies. This doesn't seem like a good arrangement for dragonkind.

So, while I'm glad to have revisited a familiar place and people, Pern isn't my world anymore and I think I'll leave while I still retain some fondness for it.
Profile Image for Alexa.
481 reviews122 followers
December 26, 2015
Around 2.5 stars.

This book's prologue is terrible.

It's an opening narration supposed to serve (as they usually do) as an introduction to the story. However, it feels like an unnecessary info dump, placed there because apparently readers are too stupid to figure stuff out on their own and need to be spoon fed all the important facts.

From then on things weren't that bad. The story is easy to read and I found the mix of Sci Fi/Fantasy really interesting. But the plot has holes and coincidences and ex-machina moments everywhere... I lost count of the times when I said: "That should have gone wrong." It never did.

One of the things that bothered me the most was the absence of female characters. Actually, the absence of females. The dragonriders live with a group of people that supports them, and most of the riders come from the boys these families have. Now, unless otherwise stated, probability of having a girl or a boy is 50/50, which means there should be as many girls as boys in the weyr. However, when they need a dragonwoman or whatever the name was, they have to go search the outside world for girls... What happened to the ones they should have had in the Weyr? No one knows.

Overall it wasn't as bad as other "classics" of the genre that I have read, but I don't think I'll be continuing with the series.

Also, let it be known that ad'ding stu'pid apostrophes eve'rywhere doesn't make your nam'es more interes'ting. :/
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books4,102 followers
April 15, 2013
I was told to read these novels many years ago, and I have no excuse I can say why it has taken so long. I am ashamed. Why did I make assumptions? I suppose I expected overused tropes and kitschy twists, since I knew this was science fiction masquerading as fantasy, not to mention dragons, dragons, dragons... But I stand corrected. At least for this first book in a long series, I stand corrected. I do feel the draw of a very open and wide horizon, a backdrop for many wonders, and I must discover what many have already discovered before me. I will see for myself!
Profile Image for David Sven.
288 reviews448 followers
April 4, 2013
A quick and easy read. The world building is light with a lot of unanswered questions, but I'm assured that the series as a whole "fills out" in that regard. I enjoyed it.

The prologue had me doing a double take because it was pure scifi, with Pern being one of many colonised planets which eventually became isolated and forgotten by Earth. The technology then regressed to the more fantasy feel medieval style setting. There are dragons, but even these are indigenous animals that have been bred to resemble dragons of Earth mythology. There's no magic per se. Rather we have dragons with the ability to teleport and certain human blood lines are able to telepathically communicate and "bond" with the dragons.

The dragons are bred to combat an invasion of "Threads," a life destroying "entity" or "organism" that travels from Pern's sister planet every two hundred years when the planets are closest in their orbits.

The story is set when there has been 400 years of no "Threads" and the dragons have been in decline. As the 200 year cycle comes around once more the queen dragon is dying and a new "Weyrwoman" is sought to bond with a new queen dragon before the "Threads" fall once again.

It held my attention from start to finish. I'll probably read the next book in the series when I need a quick palate cleanser.

4 stars
Profile Image for Silvana.
1,169 reviews1,141 followers
November 10, 2017
What the hell did I just read? All I can remember is that confusing prologue, breeding project, a girl who kept taking showers, and many, many people with apostrophe in their names. I gave up. My reading time is too precious for this crap. AND RAPES! SO MANY RAPES! Dragons mating led to rapes? Come on!
Profile Image for Vivian.
2,847 reviews399 followers
October 8, 2014
10/2014 Buddy Reread: Reliving my preteen years with Don

Once relieved of imminent danger, Pern settled into a more comfortable way of life. The descendants of heroes fell into disfavor, as the legends fell into disrepute.

Hooray! This book was as good as I remembered. The Pern books had a huge influence on my preadolescent self and I was a little nervous about rereading it and finding out that it wasn't as good. Afraid that it would destroy the related memories I made while reading these stories. Best part, it felt like I was with my father again.

Totally forgot how much of a pistol-whip Lessa was. Holy crackers. Headstrong, temperamental and willing to sacrifice herself and others to achieve a goal. Plus, a nice wide streak of vengeance runs through her. She's capable and don't f@#K with her.

Glad to say, F'lar and F'nor were still the heartthrobs I recalled. While I respect F'lar's leadership and dedication, his interpersonal habits would drive me nuts. F'nor on the other hand, is so close to a perfect male for me that I still idolize him.

The dragons. Mnementh... *deep sigh* If one could love a dragon, then this would be The One. Clever, loyal, acerbic wit and practically perfect in every way. Probably my favorite character in the story.

Loved the revenge, Lessa's intrepidness, the mating flight, the harper ballads, and the politics of Pern. I adored Masterharper Robinton's scathing speech at the assembly--definitely need to reread the Harper Hall trilogy. F'lar maneuverings were brilliant and F'nor's loyalty and support--sexy.
"I don’t object to being . . . importuned, but there are limits to what a man is willing to do out of loyalty to dragon kind.”

Still a great adventure story and I wish I could find transport to Pern.

Favorite quote:
“By the Egg, it’s die slow, doing nothing, or die quick, trying."
Profile Image for Sean.
297 reviews104 followers
March 18, 2008
The Dragonriders of Pern series really caught my imagination back in my preteen/early-teen years, when I picked up a library copy of The Renegades of Pern that my mom had put down. I next read All the Weyrs of Pern (thrilling at the brilliant cover art by Michael Whelan) and then started from the beginning, whipping through Dragonflight, Dragonquest, The White Dragon, Moreta, Nerilka's Story and the Harper Hall Trilogy.

I recently had the urge to revisit those carefree years of meaningless science fiction I enjoyed, and I picked the first three books up again, only to be shocked at how misogynistic, outdated and just plain badly written they were. I mean, I knew they were pulpy, guilty-pleasure-type stuff, but to create a strong female character like Lessa (psi powers! rides a dragon! stubborn! intelligent(?)!) and then pair her with F'lar, who treats her like a child, shakes her when she displeases him . . . and have them fall in love? What kind of nonsense is this?

The problem is, as viciously sub-par as her prose, characterization and plotting are, McCaffrey's premise still enthralls me. Even though the idea of any number of dragons being able to keep the skies of an entire continent free of what amounts to a corrosive blizzard is thoroughgoing twaddle, I still can't stop thinking about it. Is an unwilling re-reading of Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern in my future??
Profile Image for Cathy.
1,668 reviews242 followers
July 4, 2020
Why is this one of my favourite fantasy series of all time? Sentient dragons, talking telepathically to their riders. People fighting the good fight on dragonback. A really cool world. Entertaining story telling. This is really fun to read. Eat your heart out, Christoper Paolini!

The first 150 pages are a lot of set-up and world building. I can live with that in such a long running series. The romance is mostly non-existent. They meet, they become a pair due to external circumstances, they seem to be fond of each other eventually and maybe in love and definitely possessive.

I can‘t say how many times I have read this series. Pretty much constantly as a teenager. Unfortunately I do not have my old paperbacks anymore, I gave them all away 25 years ago, when I moved. This is the first re-read since then. And it is definitely the very first time I am reading it in the original English. And now there are some additional books that I have never read.

So, Dragonflight—The fun truly starts for me, when Robinton shows up. He is one of my favourite characters of the series. The three Harperhall books are my favourite story arc as well. But first there is this, the beginning of the Dragonriders of Pern.

I have questions now that I didn‘t ask in the early 80s, when I read this for the first time.

If this had been my first read, I might have given it three stars. Or 3.5 stars, rounded up? Anyway, nostalgia demands 4 stars, despite the above. Yes, I will read Dragonquest and The White Dragon.

Comments from 2013-ish...?

A Dragonriders of Pern re-read on Tor, very tempting.... just came across this entry of a latter part of the book: https://www.tor.com/2019/04/10/the-co...

I am so tempted to read this again. I am a little scared that I wouldn’t like it anymore!
Old non-review:
This is a re-read, yet again. I read and re-read the whole series many times over as a teenager and loved it to pieces. Every now and then I read one of them again, mostly for nostalgic value. I still love them. Must-read for all lovers of fantasy and dragonlore.
Profile Image for Apatt.
507 reviews805 followers
December 6, 2011
I read a few Pern books in my teen, I thought they were readable but at the time I was not all that taken with them. At that age I was not too discerning, I cared nothing for characterization, dialogue or prose. I read only for fun and escapism, not for the artistry of the works. Well, I am way out of my teen now, and I have cultivated an appreciation finesse to compensate for my own deficiency in that department.

Since her recent passing tributes have been pouring in for Anne McCaffrey from numerous quarters, including major sf/f writers including Neil Gaiman, David Brin, Lev Grossman, and Vonda McIntyre. These tributes reminded that I never really gave Anne McCaffrey's books a fair chance. Now is as good a time as any to start exploring them in earnest.

When I first heard about this series decades ago the idea of fighting threads did not fill me with enthusiasm, I mean fighting threads? May as well fight balls of yarn! I thought. Ah, but then there are threads and there are Threads, these things are more menacing than I ever gave them any credit for. They are basically mindless, true, but so are zombies and the threads are even more deadly. They burn and they burrow and they are of course relentless

This is not a YA book, it is not action packed, those looking for heart pounding scenes of dragon conflagration are not likely to be satisfied. The major strength and enduring popularity of this book - and I imagine the entire series - is the immersiveness of Pern. The slower chapters depicting day to life on Pern is what makes the world realistic, after all life is not full of nonstop action on a daily basis. The author wants you to live with her characters not go on missions with them. That said she really makes you wait for the threads to make an appearance though! The author's meticulous attention to details is awe inspiring.

This is also not a fantasy book, not in the sense that Lord of the Rings or The Wheel of Time are. Anne herself has always been adamant that she is a science fiction author, no disrespect to the wonderful fantasy genre of course, but she deliberately backed the Pern fantasy tropes of dragons and medieval life with science. Pern is a planet, the dragons are genetically engineered and the lack of technology is due to some event that caused a fall of technological civilization. So no magic, no elves, no unicorns and no Dark Lord with a funny name (thank gawd!). Any way, what label you stick on a book does not matter, especially for a book of this calibre.

Anne's prose style is - as her legions of fans would attest - is beautiful, clean, clear, concise and literary. The main characters are skillfully fleshed out, unfortunately my one complaint is that the protagonist Lessa is unrelentingly ill-tempered and willful to the point of being a pain in the posterior. I am looking forward to many more visits to Pern.

"That was well flown, I say. Well flown".
R.I.P. Anne.
Profile Image for DivaDiane.
974 reviews94 followers
July 30, 2020
I read this first in a pre-GR era, 21 years ago, to be exact. I loved it then and looking back at my records I see that I read most of the series within 2 years.

Now rereading it as a much more mature person, I find that it is just as fun but I noticed certain odd things this time around. Most notably F’lar’s behavior towards Lessa, which is quite overbearing and possessive, right from the get-go, bordering on a rapist’s thoughts and behavior, which he barely manages to rein in. And what’s with the shaking? He tries to shake “sense” into her. That said, these episodes are extremely brief (just a line or 2) and easily glossed over in a breathless first read.

I noticed more of the SF elements this time around having already read the prequel that spells it out. I can now see how she could claim that it was always conceived as SF, where before my reread I didn’t believe it. Those elements are so brief and understated as to be unnoticeable the first time around.

I still think these books hold up after so many years because the world-building, the backstory and the plot itself is quite rich. McCaffrey’s writing style is also quite enjoyable to read.
Profile Image for Metodi Markov.
1,342 reviews318 followers
July 4, 2023
Класическо фентъзи, спечелило куп награди и одобрението на читателите си преди шейсетина години.

За съжаление доста е поовехтяло, а преводът на български е лош.

Историята е доволно интересна, но героите ѝ са несръчно изградени, до степен да дразнят съвременния читател като мен. Романсът между сирачето Лесса и драконовия ездач Ф’лар е повече от дискусионен.

Като цяло, повествованието върви мудно, за да експлоадира в последните страници.

Моята оценка - 2,5*.

P.S. Третата част от поредицата така и не излиза на български, но се е намерила добра душа да ѝ направи фен превод.
Profile Image for YouKneeK.
659 reviews80 followers
September 30, 2021
This was another one of my series-sampling audio listens, to see if I might want to pursue it in print someday.

Audio Narration
The narrator is Dick Hill. I can’t really pinpoint all the reasons why, but his narration didn’t work well for me. His non-dialogue narration was fine as far as I can remember; I think most of my issues were with the dialogue. He over-dramatized some of it, making the characters, even the ones we were supposed to like, sometimes sound psychotic and deranged to my ears. I think I wouldn’t have cared for the characters much anyway based on the text, but the narration really didn’t help in that regard.

On the surface of it, this seems like something I should have liked. It seems questionable as to whether it’s fantasy or science fiction, but it reads very much like an epic fantasy story and I’m usually easy to please when it comes to epic fantasy. Somehow this one didn’t work for me, though. The story is set on a planet called Pern which occasionally comes into range of another planet that has deadly “Threads” that invade Pern and threaten all life. Dragons were created to help fight the thready threat, bonded with Riders. The problem is that the threat recurs so rarely, and it has now been about 400 years. People have begun to disbelieve the legends and are no longer prepared to face the threat if it comes again.

The story only moderately held my attention, despite having elements I feel like I should have liked, and I didn’t much care for the characters. Lessa was foolish, irresponsible, and annoying as hell. I wanted to like F’lar, but he was an ass. This paragraph may have more cuss words in it (all 3 of them) than I’ve used in my previous reviews for the year combined. This is indicative of much annoyance. :p

Some elements reminded me of Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series, so I couldn’t help comparing the two. I much preferred Temeraire, where I adored the characters and felt more invested in the story. It’s possible that I might have felt differently if I’d read them in the opposite order, and I may have done better with this in print than I did in audio. It’s also possible that I just wasn’t in the right mood for it.

I was going to give it 2.5 stars and round up to 3 on Goodreads, but somewhere in the middle of typing up my rant I decided to round down to 2 instead. I don’t think I’ve ever rated an epic fantasy-ish book this low before. I might consider giving it another try in print someday to see if I like it better that way, but not for quite a long time.
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