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Dragonsong (Harper Hall of Pern #1)

4.23  ·  Rating Details ·  39,086 Ratings  ·  1,065 Reviews
RETURNS TO THE SIMON & SCHUSTER LIST! The best-selling Harper Hall Trilogy is a wonderfilled, imaginative classic. Dragonsong is the enchanting tale of Menolly of Half Circle Hold, who became Pern's first female Harper and rediscovered the legendary fire lizards who helped to save her world. Dragonsinger is the spellbinding tale of how Menolly learned the secret of Per ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 208 pages
Published April 1st 2003 by Simon Pulse (first published March 1976)
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Emily Marz The people of Pern use music to teach history and tradition. Tradition is extremely important for survival on Pern during threadfall.
Cathryn Well, and Dragonsdawn is a novel by Anne McCaffrey talking about the colonizing of Pern and the creation of the dragons and the watch-whers. I think…moreWell, and Dragonsdawn is a novel by Anne McCaffrey talking about the colonizing of Pern and the creation of the dragons and the watch-whers. I think there might be some stuff from before the actual landing of the ships.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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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
Jason Koivu
I missed my reading window of opportunity for this one. I should've read it when I was a prepubescent girl.

Clearly young girls are the target audience for Dragonsong. The less-than-thrilling story revolves around a girl musician. Will she or won't she become the community's head musician? Eee-gads the tension! Now she's lost, but a dragon rider comes to the rescue. The drama! Oh, aren't dragons ever so beautiful? I'm so excited I could...fall asleep.

The description is lackluster as well. The la
Sebastien Castell
I've read Dragonsong several times over the years and it continues to be one of my favourite Young Adult novels of all time. Menolly is neither bad-ass warrior nor shrinking violet, but rather someone whose passion for music in all its forms combines with a strong sense of decency to carry her through the trials of living in a place where she's not wanted, and having to make a place for herself outside her familiar home.

Dragonsong neither fits the contemporary notion of Young Adult nor Middle Gr
Eon ♒Windrunner♒
This was good, but not great.

If the book was any longer I might not have felt the need to finish it, but it was just the right combination of length and interesting to make me want to know how it all turned out for the protagonist.

The world Anne Mccaffrey created is intriguing, but other than that there was not much happening. In saying that, the second half was much better than the first, and I am almost tempted to carry on with the series, but not sure if I will as there are so many other boo
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.
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. :-)
Apr 14, 2016 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
The first Anne McCaffrey I ever read, and still a favorite. Menolly is a great character, and her adventures are timeless and instantly engaging.
Jun 11, 2008 Jon rated it it was amazing  ·  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.
Mike (the Paladin)
I read these later than the first 3 Dragon books but I enjoyed them. A little "younger" audiance in mind here but a nice read.
Dec 27, 2007 Nick rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Dragons were my ponies, Koivu
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
Mar 26, 2012 Kent rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, youthy, reviewed
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
Well, once you get past the gratuitous abuse this is a pretty cute story.
I've had this book forever, but had never actually read it, and it ended up being a short book for a busy month, as well as fitting in with several of my reading projects: (1) YA (2) books owned but unread for literally decades (3) older SF and fantasy by women (before 2000 or so). This one is from 1978.

I will start by apologizing to anyone who loved this book as a kid and who remains fond of it today....

I'm sorry.

Well, let's press on.

Life in Half-Circle Hold on Pern is dour and humorless, Puri
Aug 14, 2014 drowningmermaid rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, read-in-2014
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
Aug 08, 2012 bella rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 16, 2015 Tehani rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, rereading
Marisol and I are rereading and reviewing Pern. Our Harper Hall trilogy review is here:
May 23, 2007 Emma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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:

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
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
Wayland Smith
Oct 21, 2016 Wayland Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016challenge
This is another book I first read back in junior high school, long before there was an internet or a Goodreads. I just reread it, partially because I remember liking it, and partially for a reading challenge here. It stood up very well for me.

Menolly is born to Half Circle Hold, and is hugely out of place. She's the youngest daughter of the Holder, and never seems to fit in. She's happiest with the Harper Petiron, but he passes away and she's left with parents that don't understand her. She's f
Alethea A
May 26, 2008 Alethea A rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nichole Mohler
Jun 17, 2016 Nichole Mohler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Over the years I have heard great things about this series, but just never got around to it. I finally picked up this book, and now I see what everyone was talking about. It was fantastic!!!! Pern has lived in fear of the Thread for centuries. During threadfall, it falls from the sky and anyone or anything in its path will be burnt up. The main thing that can stop it is fire. So the dragonriders mount up and stop it every threadfall. Living in her sea hold, Menolly doesn't worry much about the t ...more
Sep 03, 2012 Chrisl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sff, 1970s, favorites
One of those library cataloging challenge books. When I explored, many of the libraries I visited had copies only in the Young Adult section, while in other libraries only SF shelving, and not in YA. For me, a fun read, and reread, and a chance to see whether YA or SF copies got borrowed more. (SF copies more borrowing, but also shelved with McCaffrey's SF array. At what age do the YA readers start borrowing from the SF? Keep them away from Terry Goodkind, especially if they are home schooled.

Rebecca McNutt
Apr 06, 2015 Rebecca McNutt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not usually a fan of dragon stories, but when my aunt bought me this book, within the first few pages I was hooked on it. Menolly is a memorable character and the book has themes of friendship, bravery and kindness without getting too preachy about it. The author's writing style is amazing and all in all, this is a great book for all ages, I highly recommend it.
Jun 07, 2010 elissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to elissa by: my mom
I think I read all 3 of the Harper Hall books when I was 12. I don't remember a whole lot about them, but I do remember snippets. They were probably 3 1/2 to 4 stars at the time, so I'll round up. These seem like they were solidly fantasy, but I think the Dragonriders series was SF (?).
Jeffe Kennedy
Sep 15, 2015 Jeffe Kennedy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another in my #readinghistory catching-up project. I often ID this book as my gateway to fantasy. I read it in 5th grade after finding it in the school library - and it blew my mind! Blessings to librarians everywhere!
Gillian Murrell
Oct 06, 2016 Gillian Murrell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great little read about Menolly impressing fire lizards with out even know she was doing it. Her battle to keep her love of music despite the ignorance of her Hold and its leaders.
I reread this book today for the first time since early high school and it's just as awesome as I remembered!
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  • The People of Pern
  • The Atlas of Pern
  • The Dragonlover's Guide to Pern
  • Anne McCaffrey's Dragonflight #2
  • Winds of Fury (Valdemar: Mage Winds #3)
  • Heart's Blood (Pit Dragon Chronicles, #2)
  • Elvenblood (Halfblood Chronicles, #2)
  • The Shattered Chain (Darkover, #10)
  • 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

Harper Hall of Pern (3 books)
  • Dragonsinger (Harper Hall, #2)
  • Dragondrums (Harper Hall, #3)

Share This Book

“Oh, Tongue, give sound to joy and sing
Of hope and promise on dragonwing”
“My nightly craft is winged in white, a dragon of night dark sea.
Swift born, dream bound and rudderless, her captain and crew are me.
We've sailed a hundred sleeping tides where no seaman's ever been
And only my white-winged craft and I know the wonders we have seen.”
More quotes…