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Dragonflight (Dragonriders of Pern #1)

4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  93,882 Ratings  ·  2,172 Reviews

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 bo
Paperback, 299 pages
Published July 26th 2005 by Del Rey (first published 1968)
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Karen Kerr I don't think it has "paled" at all. I read it 20 years ago and enjoyed its characters and story, and now just finished reading it again and enjoyed…moreI don't think it has "paled" at all. I read it 20 years ago and enjoyed its characters and story, and now just finished reading it again and enjoyed it on newer levels. The writing is rich and active. No dawdling with useless scenes or words. The introduction is a page and a half - got that? a page and a half! - and you learn from it more information about their history and world than I could put in a comment. The language is so rich you can make a vocab list out of it, yet never feel you didn't get the gist of a line. And Lessa! How can anyone not see how fully developed a character Lessa is? For the year it came out, she was a milestone in the strength of women. She inspired, and continues to inspire. This book absolutely deserved every praise and award it receives.(less)
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Community Reviews

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Khanh (the Grinch)
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
Feb 09, 2008 Mike rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody
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 ...more
May 09, 2016 Markus rated it did not like it
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 Jor
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 dr
May 16, 2007 Jessica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-reads
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 cr ...more
Jun 25, 2009 Brad rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, sci-fantasy
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
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 hist
David Sven
Apr 03, 2013 David Sven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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
Mar 18, 2008 Sean rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
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 scienc
Dec 26, 2015 Alexa rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
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 an
Oct 26, 2007 Steph rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Alex Ristea
Dragonflight is a "classic" (take that definition as you will) that merits a read, even if that's just to understand the history of the genre a bit better.

The best part of the book was undoubtedly McCaffrey's dragon imagery—anything that had to do with the their relationship with their riders, the feeling of them taking flight, or their general mannerisms. I wish I had picked this up in my younger days, as I'm sure the dragons alone would have captivated my fledgling mind, and I would have soake
Oct 08, 2014 Vivian rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
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 storie
Dec 06, 2011 Apatt rated it really liked it
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 nume
As this book was written in 1968, I'm sure everything that could be said, has been said. I'm just amazed at Anne McCaffrey's skill in crafting such a wonderful book. It feels as fresh as the day it was written.

This is the story of the planet Pern, dragons, dragonryders, and Threads that come from the Red Star every couple of hundred years.

No heavy world building here, just the world as is. As of course, it really must be!

I want a dragon of my own, right now!

Love this book and I'll be reading m
Mike (the Paladin)
This isn't the edition i read back in the dark ages. These were enjoyable books back then, they still should be. New idea at the time a cross between science fiction and fantasy.
I initially got this book to participate in The Dead Writers Society genre challenge for July. I unfortunately got a PDF version of this book through my library (did not realize it until it came out of hold for me) and then just bought it. Unfortunately, that all happened after the month passed for the read. I have to keep in mind when I am doing group reads that I should see if there is a version of the book available for free or for a price that is lower than $9.99.

I have never heard of this s
When something mentions fantasy/sci-fi and dragons the first thing that comes to most peoples minds is Pern. Even if they haven't read it. I've been hearing about the Pern books for as long as I've been reading those genres. I can remember looking at the books in the library as a kid and picking them up from shelves in bookstores but for some reason I never read a single one.

With this year being about challenging my reading habits and having to choose something for fantasy I thought it high time
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Mar 31, 2013 Jenny (Reading Envy) rated it liked it
Recommended to Jenny (Reading Envy) by: Veronica Belmont
This is the April pick for the Sword and Laser book club. I found it as an ebook through my local library's holdings and zipped through it this weekend.

This is clearly a book I probably would have connected with more if I'd first read it as a youngling, before I was old and jaded about dragons and romance. I can see how this book set many things for the dragon-and-rider subgenre, alongside dragonrider-dragonrider romance. The story is interesting, especially the somewhat complicated social code
3.0 to 3.5 stars. Really like the premise of the story and the descriptions of the dragons and their relationship with the riders. The plot was not quite as good as I would have hoped but it is still a good read.
Mar 21, 2011 Corinne rated it it was ok
Dragonflight takes you through Lessa's journey into the world of dragon riding in Pern. The book lacked character development and I barely connected with the main characters, let along the dozens of bizarre names that would fly by. I read this as an e-book and at the end there was probably 15 pages just explaining terms and who is who (would have been helpful to know earlier...). While those things can be great, as a reader I shouldn't NEED those, the protagonists journey should suffice in ...more
Veronica Belmont
Apr 18, 2013 Veronica Belmont rated it really liked it
I took this review from a 5-star to a 4-star in my rereading. It's Dragonflight still an excellent book? Yes. But perhaps I read now with more of a critical eye than I did almost 20 years ago.

The Chronicles of Pern contain some of the most believable and relatable dragons in fantasy, and they're truly the mold from which other dragons in the genre are cut. However, I find my issues now revolve around the human characters in the story.

Lessa and F'lar, specifically, seem pulled from a YA novel of
Ricky Ganci
Jan 01, 2012 Ricky Ganci rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well, it was better than Eragon. This is a very cool book—a welcome literary repast. Upon reading the introduction, I thought it was going to be hard fantasy-laced science fiction, but then it settled nicely into being a very traditional fantasy setting. Other newer series that I’ve read seem to draw much from the set up of McCaffrey’s Pern, and the Hold system, complete with Craftmasters, seems to indicate more than a little inspiration to Ranger’s Apprentice. The traditional medieval setting ...more
Aug 11, 2011 Kogiopsis rated it it was amazing
I'm going to drop a quick note here because I've been thinking about it, but I haven't read this book recently enough to write a real review.

This book is the most out of whack with the rest of its series. Here, there is no pretense of science fiction, whereas as the series progresses it is clear that McCaffrey made a decision to change genres. Fencing appears nowhere else in the books, and the implication that Lessa was somehow protected by a magical connection with her Hold is never brought up
Dec 14, 2009 Cassy rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Stephenie Meyer
This book was good. Adequate might be an even better adjective.

In fact, my husband asked if I wanted to go to the bookstore to buy the next book. (He is a very good husband who has continually witnessed me get sucked into fantasy series.) My answer was "huh, it never even crossed my mind to continue the series." One book was enough. I'm glad I read it for a bit of enjoyment and to sample McCaffrey's writing, but I am done.

I liked the use of dragons, but the author didn't offer anything new to
Jul 30, 2013 Ellis marked it as to-read
Recommended to Ellis by: Khanh (the Grinch)

So yes, uhm ... intrigued.
Apr 25, 2012 Curtiss rated it it was amazing
I first read this when it was serialized in Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact magazine way back in 1967; I still have all three issues. Its a story of "revenge served cold" in which the heroine Lessa of Ruatha uses her latent psychic powers to bring about the doom of the man who murdered her entire family when she was just a girl. At a later point in the story we learn how Lessa was warned in time to save herself from also being slaughtered by the renegade Fax.

We also learn that Lessa's world
Sep 03, 2016 Kaitlin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Magical Space Pussycats pick for August was this book and I have to say I was super excited to try this out, but I had some serious problems with this book. This is definitely a fun fantasy/sci-fi story. It has Dragons and Dragon-Riders, creepy enemy Threads, and is set on another planet called Pern. We have a young heroine who is called Lessa and is plotting to avenge her dead family, and we have the Dragonmen who have an ancient evil they need to fight but they need a new Queen to do so. All ...more
As I did not particularly care for this book, I'm forgoing the usual format and just writing a quick review. I read this book as the April pick for Sword & Laser. I was vaguely aware of it being considered one of the "classics" of fantasy. It hadn't really been on my radar as something I wanted to read.

In fact I had this feeling (based partially on discussing it with a friend who just read it for the first time recently) that I wasn't going to like it, so I borrowed it from the library rathe
Apr 14, 2013 Brad rated it really liked it
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 ...more
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Wyrms of Words: A Shameful Confession.... 5 19 Jan 02, 2016 12:24PM  
Why Pern is so Unrealistic 166 285 Jun 15, 2015 04:38AM  
A Million More Pages: 1 - Dragonflight (Pern): May 15 59 37 May 28, 2015 04:22PM  
Sci-fi and Heroic...: Dragonriders of Pern movie? 52 102 Dec 16, 2014 07:28PM  
  • The Dragonlover's Guide to Pern
  • Anne McCaffrey's Dragonflight #1
  • The People of Pern
  • The Atlas of Pern
  • Arrows of the Queen (Heralds of Valdemar, #1)
  • The Forbidden Tower (Darkover, #12)
  • Elvenblood (Halfblood Chronicles, #2)
  • The Ship Avenged
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

Dragonriders of Pern (3 books)
  • Dragonquest (Pern, #2)
  • The White Dragon (Pern, #3)

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“Dragon kind was no less cruel than mankind. The Dragon, at least, acted from bestial need rather than bestial greed.”
~ A thought by Lessa ~”
“My eyes are green, my hair is silver and I freckly; the rest is subject to change without notice.” 18 likes
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