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Dragonsong (Pern: Harper Hall, #1)
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Dragonsong (Pern: Harper Hall #1)

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  32,226 ratings  ·  803 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
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.
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
...more
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
...more
Janni
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
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
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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
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
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
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
Rebecca McNutt
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.
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
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Chrisl
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.

(
...more
Peggy
This was my first step into the world of Pern, and I liked what I saw! I will be coming back.
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
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.
Rachel
I reread this book today for the first time since early high school and it's just as awesome as I remembered!
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
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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  ·  review of another edition
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
Louisiana36
Well its been awhile since i started back reading and listening to books. I'm a all around reading that like fantasy, action, mystery and adventure. dragonsong is one of many books ann mccaffrey has made. Giving this is my 1st dragon book i've listen too. I pretty much enjoyed it. She tells the story of mellonie that loves to sing, but is denied it at home. No SPOILERS. i gave it 4 stars because i really did like it easy listening, good play on words for fantasy. looking forward to the next book ...more
Michael Barnette
Sep 07, 2010 Michael Barnette rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
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A Million More Pages: 1 - Dragonsong (Harper Hall): July 1 10 10 Jul 12, 2015 03:06PM  
Bookworm Belles: This topic has been closed to new comments. Myriam and Char 18 12 Jan 17, 2015 11:31PM  
  • Dragongirl (Pern, #22)
  • The People of Pern
  • The Dragonlover's Guide to Pern
  • The Atlas of Pern
  • Anne McCaffrey's Dragonflight #2
  • Arrow's Fall (Heralds of Valdemar, #3)
  • The Forbidden Tower (Darkover, #12)
  • Dragon's Blood
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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...

Other Books in the Series

Pern: Harper Hall (3 books)
  • Dragonsinger (Harper Hall, #2)
  • Dragondrums (Harper Hall, #3)
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”
47 likes
“Drummer, beat, and piper, blow
Harper, strike, and soldier, go
Free the flame and sear the grasses
Til the dawning Red Star passes”
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