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The Masterharper of Pern (Pern (Publication Order) #15)

4.21  ·  Rating Details ·  19,742 Ratings  ·  245 Reviews
MasterSinger Merelan and Harper Petiron were a brilliant and devoted couple. Merelan was the most outstanding soprano ever heard on Pern, and was often the only one who could master Petiron's technically accomplished compositions. When, after a long and difficult birth, Robinton was born to them, it should have been the culmination of a unique partnership.

But Petiron, almo
462 pages
Published 1999 by Corgi (first published January 1998)
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Eragon by Christopher PaoliniThe Hobbit by J.R.R. TolkienEldest by Christopher PaoliniBrisingr by Christopher PaoliniDragonflight by Anne McCaffrey
75th out of 1,028 books — 1,994 voters
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. MartinHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingThe Eye of the World by Robert JordanHarry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. RowlingA Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
Best Fantasy of the 90s
36th out of 302 books — 541 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Sep 11, 2007 rivka rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mccaffrey-pern
A book I wanted to love -- it's about Robinton! -- but found incredibly frustrating instead. Between the historical inconsistencies with books that came out both before and after (how can he be teaching students about a document that was lost and forgotten for over 1500 years?) and the attempt to make things fit entirely too neatly, the parts I liked (his childhood and relationship with his parents, which was very well done, and his marriage, which was as well) were overshadowed by the parts ...more
Jun 06, 2010 Doreen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I've realized that Ms McCaffrey's books offend me in exactly the same way the Sex and the City movies offend me: that the main characters and their dysfunctional relationships are supposed to be somehow sympathetic, if not outright aspirational. In this book, Robinton himself is less obnoxious than her usual main character (even if I thought the one scene where he compared holding his mom to holding his wife really Freudian and gross,) but Merelan is excessively odious: trying to hide his ...more
May 01, 2015 Ryl rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I've figured out why Anne McCaffrey frequently stated that the Pern novels should be read in publication order rather than by their internal chronology. It's because she couldn't be arsed to keep accurate notes about the series and didn't want her readers to catch on to that fact by noticing the errors.

My favorite example of this is how the rapid progress of Piemur and Jancis' relationship. At the end of The Renegades of Pern they finally slept together for the first time. Then the workers at L
Apr 05, 2010 Mary-Beth rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
I like the Harpers of Pern and their role in keeping tradition alive and their role as educators. It's hard to swallow Petiron as a character and the way everyone puts up with his annoying traits, but is too afraid to tell him how obnoxious he is. How is he ever supposed to learn if he stays a cosseted prima donna? I thought that was how a character like Halanna learned to become a better person, by being exposed to her own faults? Weird. Finally, the second half of the book was torture. ...more
Kathy Davie
Dec 14, 2015 Kathy Davie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thirteenth in the chronological order for the Pern fantasy / science fiction series and revolving around dragonriders and harpers. The focus is on Robinton, a harper who goes on to greatness. The stories are a mess in following a chronological order. It's one reason I undertook a re-read of the series. Click this link if you want to explore my version.

My Take
This one is a biography which provides the background for the three primary stories of the Pern series: Dragonflight , 14, Dragonquest ,
Jun 15, 2011 Cass rated it it was amazing
The Masterharper of Pern by science fiction queen Anne McCaffrey is one of her best works. She tells the life story of the great Masterharper Robinton, from his troubled childhood to his musical genius. He is a favourite character in the Pern series.

Would it be wrong of me to hijack my own review and compare the way Anne writes about Robinton with the way her son writes about his own favourite character Kindan. Anne has passed the storywriting baton to her son Todd McCaffrey who has (imo) mutila
Jul 13, 2009 Daniel rated it it was ok
McCaffrey offers a prelude to her original Dragonrider novels by revisiting a main character of those stories, Masterharper Robinton. However this might be more interesting if he was more of a protagonist and less of an observer to events happening about Pern. This sort of treatment cumulates at the end of the book when Robinton finds himself present to one of the most important scenes of the entire series, a Forest Gump like insertion into the storyline. An ok story, but could have been so much ...more
Nov 02, 2009 Tara rated it did not like it
A basic premise of the Dragonsinger Trilogy is that women were not trained as harpers--so Menolly is breaking down all kinds of gender barriers on Pern when she goes to Harper Hall. Now in this book we're supposed to accept that Robinton's mother was a renowned harper? I had a hard time getting over that MAJOR continuity issue...and the rest of the book wasn't very interesting either.
Jan 04, 2009 Silverjackal rated it did not like it
Utter tripe, mangles a previously interesting character by making him a perfect author insert.
I'm rereading the Pern books because I was nostalgic. This book remained in my collection, but I still can't give it a great review. As much as I love Robinton, this book is the ultimate retconn.

As I've been rereading Pern, the inconsistencies (and typos and name issues!) really began to bother me. I had to wonder who the heck was editing, because there was no cross-checking, and things just don't fit together right.

I liked this book, but I have to consider it a fanfic of Pern rather than direct
Mar 10, 2012 Brendan rated it it was ok
I normally like the Pern books, but this one fell sort of flat for me. The core drama revolves around the harpers and a particularly greedy man named Fax, who starts gobbling up Holds. There's very little to do with the dragonriders, although they do appear occasionally, and much time is spent on the main character's poor relationship with his father. Love interests also die surprisingly quickly, making it hard to care about them as characters or feel any involvement in the relationships.

It's a
Oct 12, 2012 Lindig rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
I've read all the Pern books and think they're basically okay, though they do tend to have a YA feel about them. Her characters are all interesting but don't have any depth to them. What she's good at is world-building. The only books in this series that I've ever re-read are the two featuring Menolly, whose story is more interesting than most. Robinton is, of course, a beloved character by that time, so it was interesting to read of his early life, but if you've read the other books, you ...more
Dec 19, 2008 Susan rated it liked it
I love Robinton, and I really, really wanted to love this book. It was ok ... but only ok. I wish she'd get someone else to check for historical inconsistency as it bugs me immensely when it pops up.
Oct 29, 2016 Michelle rated it liked it
I so wanted to give this book four stars since Robinton is my favorite character in the Pern series. But the inconsistencies between this book and the "first" trilogy were so annoying. It's hasn't been so long since I read DF, DQ, and TWD and it bugged me throughout the entire book. I feel like this book just confused everything. If you're going to write a book about a character already a pretty major character in your other books, do your research first. Don't just write it hoping that ...more
charles p. foley sr.
Another great story by Anne McCaffery

This is a jump to the period directly before the return of the werhs and the conflict with Holder over the fact that thread will return. Also that even though these people have tried to start a new society without all the troubles of earth, that human nature is very hard to change.
Douglas Milewski
Sep 03, 2016 Douglas Milewski rated it liked it
The Masterharper of Pern (1998) by Anne McCaffrey follows the life of Robinton, the most well loved character in her Pern series. The story does its best to unite the Pern of her later novels with the Pern of her early novels, to some credible success, but also has places where the story clunks.

Most importantly, this is a Harper Hall book, which makes it a welcome addition for me. I love the Harper Hall books most of all her Pern books, so any addition, to me is a good addition. It's a more sati
Aurian Booklover
Sep 02, 2013 Aurian Booklover rated it it was amazing
Warning: I am in love with the books by Anne McCaffrey, and have been for over 20 years. I do re-read my favourites often, a few at a time, so there will be more reviews in the next few days. Master Harper Robinton plays a big part in most of the books in this series, so his own history is always a good one to start with.

Almost from the day Robinton was born, his father Petiron has been jealous of the time his wife Merelan spend with him. Petiron was madly in love with her, and he wanted her at
Oct 08, 2016 Deb added it
I love this book. It has been one of my favorites for years.
Gere Lewis
Dec 02, 2012 Gere Lewis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of Robinton from his birth until the day that Jaxom, Lord Holder of Ruatha is born. I loved this book and I hated this book. I loved this book because Robinton is one of my favorite characters in all of Pern. I hated this book because I realized that Robinton is a father and he's not a very good one. He is a better father than his was, but that is not saying much.

Robinton's father, Petiron, is an abysmal father and not even that great of a person. He is an incredibly talented c
Silvara Wilde
Feb 03, 2016 Silvara Wilde rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Check out my other reviews, discussions and link ups at Fantasy of the Silver Dragon.

I've always loved Robinton, so getting a look into his life before he was the MasterHarper was fun! Petiron was an awful father, I can see better why he and Robinton don't get on well. But his mother was such a sweet woman. She easily made my favorite character list.

I also loved seeing the characters we know as old or middle-aged, as children and young adults. We get to meet Lord Groghe before he became a Lord.
Sep 20, 2016 Kate rated it really liked it
Anne McCaffrey is the quintessential writer of fantasy books pertaining to dragons. These books are always wonderful, well written, and perfectly characterized. All of her series are great but the ones that take place on Pern are the best of all. This book was a bit hard for me to read because it gave one of my favorite fictional characters a bit of clay feet but nevertheless I enjoyed it for all the backstory it gave to the world of Pern.
Nov 23, 2008 Zachary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
McCaffrey's beloved Dragonrider's of Pern series has been blessed with yet another novel. For as many of these novels that she has written, one might suspect that there would be at least one dud among them, yet every time I get my hands on one, I am pleasantly surprised - and find I don't really want to put it down.

Chronologically, this novel perfectly segues into Dragonflight, one of the primary Dragonrider novels. The last chapter introduces us to Lessa and the events at the beginning of that
Jul 09, 2008 Kat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been reading Anne McCaffrey's Pern books for many years. I discovered them when I was twelve, and over the course of that summer I devoured all that had been written. I adored them. I adore Masterharper Robinton. I have a print of the portrait of Robinton that Robin Wood did for her People of Pern book. I always thought a book about Robinton would be great, and I wanted to like The Masterharper of Pern when it came out. I expected a lot from The Masterharper of Pern, and I was greatly ...more
Feb 07, 2013 Al rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From Kirkus Reviews

McCaffrey's latest rummage through the archives of planet Pern (Dragonseye, 1997, etc.) has unearthed Robinton, the Masterharper of Pern, and the circumstances surrounding the advent of weyrleader F'lar and Lessa, the first woman Dragonrider. It's a time when no Thread has fallen for centuries (it's due in 50 years or so), and five of the six weyrs stand inexplicably empty of Dragons and Riders. Young Rob, rejected by his father, is a musical prodigy and has the ability to s

Tiyrna Nightschild
Feb 12, 2011 Tiyrna Nightschild rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
For those that knows the MasterHarper from Mellony's point of view, you can see what a great man this is. So strong, so sad, in both family and love. He know loneliness, but he never lets it defeat him, choosing instead to give others happiness as much as he's able. This character was so strong, and real. Just seeing him from the other books, one would never guess how much pain he holds inside, but he can shoulder the burden, and keep smiling. A great man. The character itself made it a worthy ...more
Simon Mcleish
Feb 28, 2012 Simon Mcleish rated it really liked it
Originally published on my blog here in April 1998.

This is the biography of the character Robinton, who appears in many of the Pern novels and appears to be one of McCafferey's favourite characters. It takes the story of his life up to the events of the first half of Dragonflight, the earliest written Pern novel. Even though she's now spent some time writing novels in the pre-history of the original Pern series, I've felt that its still best to read McCafferey's novel's in publication order.

I al
Jan 02, 2012 Peggy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I've read much of McCaffrey's Pern series and enjoyed it, but The MasterHarper of Pern is one of the least engaging stories I've read of hers to date. The accounting of Robinton's life up to the first events of Dragonflight proves only that Robinton did absolutely nothing notable before Lessa's story and begs the question of why the book was written at all if there was nothing interesting to tell.

In some ways I understand that this was inevitable. If Robinton had done anything truly notable bef
Mar 02, 2010 Tamcamry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
• While I liked much of this book there were a few things that made it a little difficult for me. First, I know that the character Robinton is a major character in the original Dragonrider trilogy. I respect that he must have had an interesting life, and I see why A.M. went back and wrote a book about it. My problem is that his life was unrealistically tragic. Look, all of the tragedies that happened in his life are real and possible things that can happen in someone’s life, it’s just unreal ...more
Vicki Jaeger
Apr 28, 2014 Vicki Jaeger rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't tell you how many times I've read this series. Just read this title again, and it still doesn't disappoint. Telepathic dragons, strong female characters, great relationships, and the Harpers' guild and music as a strong guiding force. What could be better?
In hindsight, I still enjoy reading the series in order written (versus actual chronological order of events). I especially like how McCaffrey shifts her point of view in different books, retelling the same events from someone else's p
Ana Gabriela
Apr 27, 2013 Ana Gabriela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was introduced to Anne McCaffrey's world of Pern through the Harper Hall Trilogy, and as such this book evokes a feeling of nostalgia. It is very interesting to note parallelisms between Robinton's academic life and that of his future protege, Menolly (the protagonist of Dragonsong and Dragonsinger). To read about the younger lives of various figures in the Harper Hall is also an added bonus to those who first encountered them in the Harper Hall Trilogy.

However, I'll have to say that this book
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Thank you 2 28 Jul 07, 2014 04:43AM  
  • The People of Pern
  • The Dragonlover's Guide to Pern
  • The Atlas of Pern
  • Anne McCaffrey's Dragonflight #3
  • Exile's Song (Darkover, #24)
  • Exile's Valor (Heralds of Valdemar, #7)
  • The Ship Avenged
  • A Dragon-Lover's Treasury of the Fantastic
  • Dragonholder: The Life and Dreams (So Far) of Anne McCaffrey
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 Scho
More about Anne McCaffrey...

Other Books in the Series

Pern (Publication Order) (1 - 10 of 24 books)
  • Dragonflight (Dragonriders of Pern, #1)
  • Dragonquest (Pern, #2)
  • Dragonsong (Harper Hall, #1)
  • Dragonsinger (Harper Hall, #2)
  • The White Dragon (Pern, #3)
  • Dragondrums (Harper Hall, #3)
  • Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern (Pern, #7)
  • Nerilka's Story (Pern, #8)
  • Dragonsdawn (Pern, #9)
  • The Renegades of Pern (Pern, #10)

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