Dragonsong (Harper Hall, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Dragonsong (Pern: Harper Hall #1)

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  27,958 ratings  ·  709 reviews
Menolly -- Mistress of Music, Ward of Fire Lizards

Every two hundred years or so, shimmering threads fall, raining black ruin on Pern. The great dragons of Pern hurl themselves through the beleaguered skies, flaming tongues of fire to destroy deadly Thread and save the planet. It was not Threadfall that made Menolly unhappy. It was her father who betrayed her ambition to b...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published June 1st 2006 by Aladdin Paperbacks (first published March 1976)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Dragonsong, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Dragonsong

Eragon by Christopher PaoliniThe Hobbit by J.R.R. TolkienEldest by Christopher PaoliniBrisingr by Christopher PaoliniDragonflight by Anne McCaffrey
Dragons
13th out of 784 books — 1,510 voters
The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingTwilight by Stephenie MeyerThe Lightning Thief by Rick RiordanThe Giver by Lois Lowry
Best Young Adult Books
317th out of 9,542 books — 56,066 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Matthew Gatheringwater
A book doesn't have to be Great Literature or even particularly good to appear on my "formative fiction" shelf, it just has to be a book with a meaning that changed me or helped me to understand myself and the world in a new way. Fortunately, Dragonsong is also a very good book of its type.

The best friend of my childhood was different from me in many ways: middle-class to my trailer-trash, older, weak where I was strong (he suffered from a heart condition that would kill him while still a teenag...more
Janni
Dec 15, 2008 Janni added it
Shelves: comfort-reads
Just reread this for the first time in years.

A bit heavy on the "Menolly is a girl, oh no!" and things don't really pick up until the fire lizards show up, but even so ... good stuff. And still the comfort read it was 20 years ago. :-)
Jon
Sep 14, 2008 Jon rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who loves dragons and music.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nick
I didn't particularly enjoy this book, but I don't think it was really the book's fault. I had previously read one short story in the Pern series, and it was intriguing enough for me to buy this book for 50 cents. But I didn't realize that not only was this the third book in the overall Pern series, it was the first book in the Harper Hall trilogy. Reading it, I was like, "Menolly who? Constrictive gender roles, whatever. She's unhappy, whatever. WHERE ARE THE DAMN DRAGONS? Fire lizards? What th...more
Vivian Archer
For me, this book transcends the plane of existing merely as a book. It is a dear memory wrapped so closely to my self identification for when it was introduced to me and by whom, my father.

For a preteen growing up on a small island Menolly's fate was so easy to identify with and I wished for my own dragonets.

The story is magical. And I love it still.
Becky
There is nothing like snuggling under the covers with one of your favorite books on a rainy day.

I love this book, unconditionally, so don't expect a fair review from me. This is the book that led to my discovery of both sci-fi and fantasy as genres, it opened up the world to me, at the time I was eleven but a decade (+) later I still enjoy it.

The book was written for an arguably younger audience than any other set of books in McCaffrey's Pern series. There is no sex, minimal violence, the readi...more
Kent
Alien prejudice is a favorite trope for sci-fi fantasy writers. Presumably, reading about strange discrimination teaches us that all discrimination is strange. Thoughtful writers like Iain Banks can use alien prejudice to comment on the dynamics of power and on cultural relativity. That makes for an interesting read.

In Dragonsong, Anne McCaffrey has done something else entirely. It turns out that a main character who goes against the fake cultural grain can be two things simultaneously: 1. someo...more
bella
This is the BEST book I've read this year. I'm actually not sure I can explain my love for this book but I'm going to try.

I've been a little disgruntled with the fantasy genre (especially ya fantasy). I'm not a fan of the over emergence of vampires, fairies and angels. The Game of Thrones helped redeem adult fantasy for me and Dragonsong has totally redeemed my love of ya fantasy.

I never picked up this series as a teen and I wish I had.

Dragonsong is the first book in the Harper Hall trilogy a...more
Russell Woodward
Dragonsong was a pretty quick read. At first, I also didn’t like her writing style: she liked to use colons a lot. Apparently, we don’t use colons as much as we used to: they have widely become relics of the past. So she uses this a few times in a few paragraphs, and for some reason that bugged me a little.

The biggest bother for me was the names. Do fantasy books have to have such stupid names? Here are some examples. The main character could have been named Mellony, her sister could have been...more
Alethea A
I just reread this for the first time in 17 years... I love this trilogy so much! It introduced me to the world of Pern and was one of the few things I have ever been able to give back to my Aunt Debbie to repay her for her kindness in introducing me to science-fiction/fantasy, Isaac Asimov, John Bellairs...

Dragonsong serves both as an introduction for young adult readers to the Dragonrider series, an examination of gender roles and tradition in their society (and perhaps in ours), as well as a...more
Emma (Miss Print)


A brief forward to the review: “Dragonsong” is the first book in Anne McCaffrey’s Harper Hall trilogy. The series is generally catalogued as children’s (at least in the nypl catalog) but is really for any readers. Like many of McCaffrey’s novels, it’s set in the world of Pern. I haven’t read anything but this trilogy yet, but am pretty sure these novels (from the 1970s) operate as prequels to the other more adult oriented novels. Oh, and I absolutely loved the entire trilogy.

On to the review:

Men...more
Cecelia
Many a woman who found her love of reading early will fondly reminisce about her ‘horse period’ – when she read anything she could get her hands on that had to do with horses, such as the Marguerite Henry books (Misty of Chincoteague!) and Black Beauty. There’s a smaller and more select group that can reminisce about their ‘dragon period.’ I say this because I know: I went through both. However, unlike horses, my love of dragons and dragon-lore has lasted well into adulthood. And those early dra...more
drowningmermaid
I always adore the beginnings of McCaffrey's books. I love the way she introduces characters and her world.

I read a lot of her books as a middle schooler, (devoured them more like) but I always had a sort of snooty attitude toward them. Clear and bright and simple as a Grandma Moses painting.

Older, I actually appreciate them more in some ways. Somehow, I never read Harper Hall, in all my McCaffrey binges. So, here's to finding it now.

All that said, I'm having a lot of trouble buying the 'probl...more
Kris
When I read this a long time ago in junior high, I remember absolutely loving Menolly's story. The injustice of her parents suppressing her talents and her search for a place to belong would resonate with any adolescent. As an adult, I found I'm not as enchanted with this first book in the Harper Hall trilogy, mostly because the struggles Menolly faces at home that rang true to me as a teenager now seem to drag on forever. The last third of the book is the strongest part, once Menolly runs away...more
An Odd1
5* when I was very young & foolish, doesn't hold up in present day. Ireland-based Anne McCaffrey's first Dragonrider fantasy, of dragons, riders, music, poetry finds a home where you can be your true self. The world and individual characters intrigue me, without feeling forced, to read more of the series.

I think that the magical creation and rhymes cannot be spoiled by revealing the plot bare bones, but do not read on too far if you disagree. I was disappointed by the reality that final app...more
Lissibith
I knew this book wouldn't take long to read. I didn't expect it to go THIS fast, and in looking back I'm not sure what it is about the story - pretty low on action - that kept me racing through it, devouring the pages and unable to get myself to do anything else from beginning to end except sleep, and that only because my eyes were too heavy to continue.

The story is a pretty simple and basic one, well-trod territory where a young person has special gifts which no one around them understands and...more
Adam
I picked this up on a lark after giving up one CD into Redwall. Having just started the first 3 Dragonriders of Pern novels, I was a tad miffed right at the beginning to be given a summary of the ending to those novels. Didn't matter though, because I was quickly sucked into the life of Menolly, a musically gifted girl born into a horribly dull and stifled by tradition fishing community.

I did almost give up on the book at the beginning because I just couldn't take all the crap that was happening...more
Emily
Since I read this book originally something like five years ago, I figured that it was high-time I read it again. The world of Pern that Anne McCaffrey has created is so vibrant and wonderful, and her characters are also thoroughly enjoyable. I'm a sucker for dragons, and this book doesn't disappoint.
My main complaints are these: some of the writing/grammar is awkward, and a few of the names are tricky/cumbersome to pronounce. However, these are the only reasons that could possibly dock a star f...more
TheFountainPenDiva
The first time I read Dragonsong (oh so many years ago) it struck such a deep chord within me. Menolly's trials were very much like my own, though my family wasn't quite as bad as hers. Still I could relate to that age-old quandary of feeling out of place and unappreciated for possessing gifts that people don't always understand.

Menolly, the youngest daughter of a prominent Sea Holder, is musically gifted, a gift that her stern and hidebound parents disapprove of. Forbidden to even play, much l...more
Anja
Dec 21, 2007 Anja rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fiction fans
This book has an amazing story. It is a short read that is incredibly easy and so much fun!

Menolly is the the main character, she is a girl only 15 years old, and she has an incredible talent. She is a gifted signer and musician, she would make for the perfect harper. Only one problem, Harpers cannot be girls. After embarrassing her father -The Sea Holder- with her talent she runs away to a cave full of fire lizards. She manages well on her own with the clutch of nine lizards, until one day she...more
Michael Barnette
Sep 07, 2010 Michael Barnette rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: young adults who like light science fiction
This was the very first Pern book I read and when I got it I couldn't put it down. Something about the world setting captured my imagination at the time.

Author's Note: I remember my grandmother sending me down to the corner store to buy some books for me to read during one summer vacation. I found a copy of this book lurking in a dim corner and brought it home. I read it in under 24 hours and was hooked on the world setting. I started combing other used book stores--I couldn't afford new books o...more
Laura
I'm rating this in honor of Anne McCaffrey today, who has passed away but left an amazing universe behind. While as an adult I find these books not quite sophisticated enough to really enjoy re-reading them anymore, the Pern stories were one of my entry points to the world of fantasy novels and will forever have a treasured spot on my bookshelf. One of my most amusing memories of Pern: as a little one I was relatively oblivious to the love story in the Dragonsong trilogy, re-reading as a young t...more
Kara
Hmmm.... remember writing a review for this.

My introduction to Anne McCaffrey. I was trying to start The Dragonriders of Pern trilogy, but was unsure about the title of the first book, and ended up with this one from the library.

A quick read, was listed as Juvenile Fantasy for the library. I really liked this book, and for having a very simple, not very complex or intricate storyline, it really held my interest.

Basically a coming of age story. Well written, and it gave me that happy feeling. I...more
Kelsey
A great trilogy, set in the world of Pern where dragons and their riders guard against the fall of the voracious Thread organism from the sky. This trilogy focuses Menolly, a young girl with a gift for music. She runs away from home and eventually finds a place for herself at the Harpercraft Hall, where Harpers are trained. Harpers function as entertainers, teachers, spies, and distributors of information. They are especially important now, as society has been destabilized by the return of Threa...more
Wendi
Dec 07, 2007 Wendi rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All fantasy and SciFi readers
This was the first book I ever bought from a bookstore, and it was my introduction into the world of fantasy reading. I love the cover---it captured my young imagination completely. This is the story of a girl who overcomes tremendous odds to not only survive, but to begin down the path that leads to her dreams. She is a strong, inventive, brave, and lovable heroine. She will forever be one of my favorites. Though her story is relatively small, it taught me many things at in important time in my...more
Kat
If only I had met Menolly when I was younger! I know without a doubt that this would have been one of my favorite books/series. Menolly is a great character for a young adult book-much better than most of the leading heroines these days, in my opinion. She's smart, resourceful, and kind. She isn't the golden child of her Hold, and she has to work hard, as opposed to having everything handed to her. This book is definitely great for younger readers, though I'm not sure if many people my age would...more
Alaina
I really love this story. I love the fire lizards, I love how despite expectations people can surprise you, and I love the world building.

I had forgotten that the end of this story overlaps with The White Dragon, but I don't think that hinders a first experience with Pern. I was introduced to Pern through this book many years ago and I wouldn't change that. You come to love the world of dragons through Menolly's eyes, and then you can go back and learn about Lessa and the "Oldtimers" and what th...more
Maria M. Elmvang
I hadn't thought it possible, but it was even better than I remembered it. Last I read it I was so appalled by the unfairness of Menolly's parents that it had made me forget how small a part of the book it actually was. I still found their behaviour despicable, but the charm of the fire lizards and Benden Weir more than made up for it.

... still, I do wish Menolly's parents could have been made to see the error of their ways... or just see their reaction when they hear Menolly became the Master H...more
Molly
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kim
still one of my all time favorite series along with the Dragonriders of Pern.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Dragonsblood (Pern, #18)
  • The People of Pern
  • Anne McCaffrey's Dragonflight #1
  • The Dragonlover's Guide to Pern
  • The Atlas of Pern
  • Arrow's Flight (Heralds of Valdemar, #2)
  • The Bloody Sun (Darkover #17.2)
  • A Dragon-Lover's Treasury of the Fantastic
26
Anne McCaffrey was born on April 1st, 1926, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at 1:30 p.m., in the hour of the Sheep, year of the Fire Tiger, sun sign Aries with Taurus rising and Leo mid-heaven (which seems to suggest an early interest in the stars).

Her parents were George Herbert McCaffrey, BA, MA PhD (Harvard), Colonel USA Army (retired), and Anne Dorothy McElroy McCaffrey, estate agent. She had two...more
More about Anne McCaffrey...
Dragonflight (Pern, #1) The White Dragon (Pern, #3) Dragonsinger (Harper Hall, #2) Dragonquest (Pern, #2) Dragondrums (Harper Hall, #3)

Share This Book

“Oh, Tongue, give sound to joy and sing
Of hope and promise on dragonwing”
39 likes
“Drummer, beat, and piper, blow
Harper, strike, and soldier, go
Free the flame and sear the grasses
Til the dawning Red Star passes”
31 likes
More quotes…