Anne McCaffrey: Dragonflight

Dragonflight (Dragonriders of Pern – Volume 1)
by Anne McCaffrey
(fantasy, dragons)

This book is one that every fantasy lover should read. At least once. Whether you like dragons or not. And if you are a dragon lover (like me), you should read the whole series, multiple times. Um… I should modify that. You should read the whole MAIN series. There are some side stories (like Moreta and Nerilka) that I have only read once, some (notably The Dolphins of Pern) that I have never read, and some of the modern ones (anything co-authored or entirely written by Todd McCaffrey) that might as well be a different series entirely because they are just that different. And I think that’s okay. Not all of them will appeal to everyone.

I do think the core books in this series (I count the first three books for sure, plus the Harper Hall trilogy, and also All the Weyrs of Pern) are well worth reading. I own much-loved copies of all of those books, and am on my second copies of at least 4 of them due to the number of times I have read them.

What is it about these books that I love so much? I think the main thing is that they are so well crafted. The stories are tight, they manage to have a huge cast of characters without getting ponderous and bogged down in petty details, and they have a variety of surprises in store that I remember being so incredibly thrilling the first time I read them.

And they have stood the test of time. Dragonflight was first published in 1968, and it is still an enjoyable read today. There are places where you can see the evidence of its original publishing differences (parts of it were published as short stories first, and then they – plus new material – were combined to make a novel) but it is still a very enjoyable work.

This is one of my all-time favorite books. I probably re-read it every five years, minimum. And when I do, I tend to not stop at just the one book…

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