Kathy Davie's Reviews > Dragon Harper

Dragon Harper by Anne McCaffrey
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Aug 04, 11

bookshelves: funny, young-adult
Read in August, 2011

It's 495.4 AL, 4 months and 495 years after landing in the Dragonriders of Pern fantasy series taking place on a planet cleared as habitable for humans. Only for the one-way-only colonists to discover shortly after arriving that the original survey team had just missed the regular incursion of a deadly enemy from space. Desperate to survive, their experts developed a radical solution using the planet's indigenous life form.

This is the book three involving Kindan and this time we actually get to meet Koriana and struggle [in every sense of the word] along with Kindan as he helps Fort Hold battle the plague. I sure hope that one day we'll get to expand beyond his early teens to twenties…maybe by book 28…

This is also the only section of stories about Pern in which healing crystals are introduced…very new agey.

The Story
Kindan is at the hatching where Corvis impresses his bronze after which he returns to the Harper Hall and his apprenticeship.

On page 13, Kindan bids farewell, "Fly high, my lord" to D'vin after getting his lift back to the Harper Hall to which D'vin responds "for a moment in surprise at Kindan's eloquence". Eloquence? What eloquence? Or is McCaffrey being satirical??

Naturally, there has to be a bully for the good guy to battle and battle they will do…just as soon as Kindan learns how to use a sword by staring three people down with his eyes and then…ooohh, with his eyes AND his voice! Wow…choke, gag… Thank god for those crystals which will help promote Kindan's confidence when he returns to the Harper Hall for his duel.

McCaffrey does a poor job of filling in the blanks with any finesse with Kindan and Koriana's "courtship". Thank god for the plague so we can avoid that awkwardness. It is rather nice to finally get the background on the fire Kindan supposedly caused in the Archives. And amazing that two supposedly intelligent boys would precipitate the fire as they did..! Lame plot contrivance!!!

And yeah, okay, it's been some 400 years since the colonists landing but they've had some form of the Healer Hall all that time. Would'nt ya think the healers would have passed along those little tidbits about contagion?? Instead the healers and patients keep enduring the sprayed mists of green ick for weeks before Kindan, naturally, has a dream about masks.

By page 211 (total number of pages, 298), McCaffrey attempts some drama when Vaxoram falls sick…Kindan just knows Vax'll die next. In spite of the huge roomful of people who have been sick for some days… Poor Kindan, that "tall, thin, waif of a lad"…

On a positive note, this story does set us up for the problems encountered in Dragon's Blood.

The Characters
Oh, just all the same characters we've been following from different perspectives for the previous three books---two before Dragon Harper and one after. Please, let me list them so you know which ones to avoid…!

Dragon's Fire, 483.7 AL
Dragon's Kin, 491 AL
Dragon's Blood, 507 AL


My Take
Don't believe any novel that has both Anne and Todd McCaffrey's names on it. I suspect that mother and son discovered that no one wanted to buy a Pern novel with only Todd's name on it and they decided to include mom to ensure those of us addicted to the Dragonridgers buy the damn things.

Well, with that glowing introduction, you can imagine what I think of this latest folly on Todd's part. Do you think, Mama McCaffrey realizes what a drama queen she's raised??

The Cover
The cover is jungle-y green on the outer edges with a grey-blue striped strip down the center and two dragons flying across both with riders. There's a nice depiction of the harness on the larger orange dragon. The title, Dragon Harper, is deceptive as no harper impresses a dragon unless you count Kindan getting his fire lizard.
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