Dragons taking off…

Dragonflight (Pern: Dragonriders of Pern, #1)
by Anne McCaffrey

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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. 

Here there be slight spoilers…

One is the shaking thing. What is with that? F‘lar pretty much expects Lessa to obey him without question and likes to shake her into submission, when she doesn‘t. Ok, there is an instance of affectionate shaking as well. Whatever that is supposed to be. How Lessa didn‘t develop whiplash remains a mystery.

Everybody seems committed to not telling her anything of importance. I am not sure why they don‘t talk with each other and explain things to her like she is an adult. I guess this was McCaffrey‘s way of creating drama suspense. 

Then there is the pink elephant in the room: lack of consent. Whatever happens, takes place in the off and is not explicit or ever discussed in more depth. One presumes that consent wasn‘t given. Did it bother me as a teenager? No. 
Would it be considered rape in the present? Yes, probably. Hard to say without actually being in the scene. It does sound like it though. 
Does the character that took that action feel remorse? Yes, however he had no choice in the matter of the act. But he could have forewarned his wronged counterpart. Guilty by omission. 
Did it bother me massively in the course of reading the story now? No again. I am still debating that with myself. I guess nostalgia won. 

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.

There is a first time for everything…

The Chronicles Of Pern: First Fall (The Dragon Books)
by Anne McCaffrey

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Discovered this in my reading pile… big surprise! I have been reading Anne MaCaffrey since I was a teen and I re-read many of my favourite Pern books over and over again. Eventually I lost interest and never got back into the series. 

After a little research I figured it out—at some point in 2019 I apparently decided to fill my gaps in this series in chronological order. So I seem to have gotten this as a start. After a little further research it turns out that McCaffrey herself suggested to read her books in publication order. But here we are…

This is a collection of five short stories/novelettes, „gripping episodes of early Pern.“

The P.E.R.N. Survey

We start of with a survey mission from space…

„Barring some unforeseen factor discovered in the analyses of soil, vegetation and biological samples, they were all three quite willing to let Castor initial it P.E.R.N. – parallel Earth, resources negligible.“

I would have liked to stay with them longer, to find out what becomes of them…

The Dolphins’ Bell

Early days with the dolphins of Pern. Vulcanic eruption, flight and the favourite word of this episode is „pyroclastic“-something-or-other. Master and Commander meets Dante‘s Peak, with dolphins… (not really).

The Ford of Red Hanrahan

A new Hold is founded… Lots of horses. The river crossing is mildly entertaining. The least interesting story of this collection.

The Second Weyr

Finally, a proper story about dragonriders.

“She was close enough at a roughly thousand-foot altitude to notice the churning of the water beneath where schools of every fish that thrived in Pern’s seas had gathered to feast on drowning Thread.“

Now that is more exciting than the previous stories!

Rescue Run

Maybe the colonists will get rescued? You and me know differently. Or do we? Not bad.

So, all together this story collection was ok. Nothing spectacular, however for fans it casts a light on the early colonists on Pern, how they got there, their abandonment of the Southern continent, beginnings in their new homes further North…

I‘ll have a look at the series in publication order. Maybe I will pick up one of the newer books.

If at first you don‘t succeed…

If at First You Don't Succeed, Try, Try AgainIf at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again by Zen Cho
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I cried like a baby at the end, five stars all the way! This story of an imugi (Korean folklore, lesser dragon in form of a large serpent), trying to become a fully-fledged dragon, went an very unexpected way! Silly, cute and lovely.

Can be read for free here: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/s…

Also have a look at „Head of a Snake, Tail of a Dragon“, a short sequel: https://zencho.org/head-of-a-snake-ta…

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Boats, gates, portals and nodes…

Dragon Blood (World of the Lupi, #14)Dragon Blood by Eileen Wilks
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Best read back to back with the previous book. Avoids frustration at the end of that one, due to the massive cliffhanger, aka it stopped practically in the middle of a chapter. Some heavy editing of this one here with some massive cuts and publishing those two books in one might have been the way to go…

The book starts with immediate action (middle of the chapter, remember?), followed by a veeery looong info dump. 70 pages in, I starting skimming just a teeny-weeny bit. 100 pages later I was still knee-deep in explanations, more explanations, details upon details, portals, gates, Dis, Hell, magical philosophy, snore, skim skim skim…. And more skimming. Oh boy, this really did not do it for me. Large parts of the plot just felt like boring attempts to rack up the page count. Jumping here, jumping there, more detailed explanations, pages after pages of… I don’t even know, because I was skimming so much! The only highlight was Grandmother.

What the heck was that? Possibly the end of me reading this series. 2 catatonic stars, whimpering away, possibly through a gate into another dimension, that might or might not have a congruent timeline. I wish I had a gate to go through, back to the time before I started this book!

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