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Group Reads Discussions 2009 > "Dragonflight" discussion -- First impressions *no spoilers*

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Zen (zentea) | 135 comments Welcome to the Dragonflight discussion! In addition to all the usual considerations for first impressions... what do you think of the short "mythology" of how-dragons-came-to-be presented in the Prologue?


Lara Amber (LaraAmber) | 561 comments I'm only a few chapters and started having weird deja vu. I've read this book before. I must have borrowed a copy in high school or college. I don't remember the storyline well, but various scenes apparently made an impression on me.

Lara Amber


Zen (zentea) | 135 comments Which scenes are causing the deja vu?




Lara Amber (LaraAmber) | 561 comments Mainly the opening was really familiar. They talked about the green growth where it shouldn't be and something dinged in my head. Then there was the watch-weyr, ding again. Then the guy who shouldn't have all these holdings against the rules and the fact the dragonriders are getting stiffed on their tribute and my brain went "hey I've read this". I'm sure there will be more as I get further into the book. I've got no idea where the plot is going, but things about the world are familiar.

Lara Amber


James (m0gb0y74) | 8 comments I've read this twice. The first time I read it I wasn't that impressed. The second time round I really liked it. I like the whole Weyr and dragon and dragon rider theme. It opens a whole raft of questions which get answered in later books. A fantastic start to the series.


Marissa | 28 comments I haven't read Anne McCaffrey before - a major oversight in my fantasy reading. I'd love to start. Should I read the Dragons of Pern series before I get to this book? What order are they in?

Thanks for the help!


Carolyn (seeford) | 187 comments One of my favorite authors!

I think there are two best starting points:

With Dragonsong and Dragonsinger which introduce you to the world and the culture, but you don't get too much into the politics and the heroic crisis stuff.
OR
With Dragonflight, Dragonquest, and The White Dragon which also start you out but with more of the politics and 'averting a crisis' plot.

Both are excellent paths into the series.



message 8: by James (last edited Jun 04, 2009 09:13AM) (new)

James (m0gb0y74) | 8 comments According to Anne McCaffrey herself they should be read in the following order:


Dragonflight
Dragonquest
Dragonsong
Dragonsinger
Dragondrums
The White Dragon

I read them in this order the second time round and it did make much more sense. Anne McCaffrey does say that it might be worthwhile reading Dragonsdawn after Dragonflight.


Zen (zentea) | 135 comments I agree with James - read Dragonflight first... not only because the author says to, but also because it is McCaffrey's first Dragonrider book published. She really changes over time - as do her ideas about what is going on on Pern. So read the oldest first, otherwise, coming back to them, they will seem archaic.


Marissa | 28 comments Thanks for all the help! I'll hit the library!


Maria M. Elmvang (Kiwiria) I've only read the Harper's Hall trilogy (Dragonsong, -singer, -drums) and Dragonflight in the Pern-universe. I loved the Harper's Hall trilogy, but mostly enjoyed Dragonflight for explaining the history behind thread-fall, "the ancients" etc. I don't think it'll ever be a fast favourite the way Dragonsinger is (I reread that one every couple of years ;) )


Robin (RobinSullivan) | 348 comments So I've not read McCaffrey before and was really looking forward to it since I knew there was a whole series I could sink my teeth into.

Unfortunately, this one turned out not to be my cup of tea. I finished it but more out of an obligation then a desire because I was sucked into the world and characters.


message 13: by Carolyn (last edited Jun 08, 2009 12:06PM) (new)

Carolyn (seeford) | 187 comments Kiwiria wrote: "I've only read the Harper's Hall trilogy (Dragonsong, -singer, -drums) and Dragonflight in the Pern-universe. I loved the Harper's Hall trilogy, but mostly enjoyed Dragonflight for explaining the history behind thread-fall, "the ancients" etc. ..."

If you liked the 'backstory', then you've definitely gotta read Dragonsdawn - it tells the story of the first arrival of the colonists, how they first set up, then their encounter with Thread and the frantic race to gengineer the dragons from the fire lizards, and so on.

Other than Dragonsinger/Dragonsong and The White Dragon, it is one of my favorites in the Pern series. = )



Zen (zentea) | 135 comments Robin wrote: "So I've not read McCaffrey before and was really looking forward to it since I knew there was a whole series I could sink my teeth into.

Unfortunately, this one turned out not to be my cup of te..."



Curious... what about it makes it not your cup of tea? For myself, I am finding this book very dated...especially apparent in character interactions.



message 15: by Robin (last edited Jun 08, 2009 06:47PM) (new)

Robin (RobinSullivan) | 348 comments Zen wrote: "Curious... what about it makes it not your cup of tea? For myself, I am finding this book very dated...especially apparent in character interactions. ..."

For me there just wasn't much "there" there. I didn't feel strongly about any of the characters or the world. The whole "time travel" aspect seemed to remove any conflict as you could just go back in time and prepare, or be in the right place at the right time etc. This tips the scales too much so that the conflict does not seem like a threat.

She was protrayed as a "strong independent woman" that in the time it was originally written (1967?) would have been radical - but since I'm reading it against "modern times" when there are many strong female roles running around I found nothing "special" in this aspect.

-- Robin The Crown Conspiracy | Avempartha | Nyphron Rising (Oct 2009)




Cathy  (Cathygreytfriend) | 121 comments Kiwiria, you might also like The MasterHarper of Pern. Guess what it's about?


Zen (zentea) | 135 comments Just an FYI - I open a post called the Dragonriders of Pern where we can discuss all other aspects of this great author's works...

Meanwhile, sticking to first impressions - has anyone else picked up Dragonflight or would like to give a go a what they remember as being their first impression of this book?


Maria M. Elmvang (Kiwiria) Carolyn and Catherine, thanks! I'll add those to my to-read list. I'd actually looked at "The MasterHarper of Pern" before, but wasn't sure if it could be read without reading the entire Pern series, so refrained from picking it up.


Kernos | 348 comments I have read all the Pern books and the original trilogy multiple times, the 1st when Dragonflight and Dragonquest were new on the bookshelves and the last 5 or 8 years ago.

What I see in my mind at the beginning is Lessa the drudge encountering the watch-wher and going between for the 1st time with F'lar. Life at Benden Wher and the slow revealing of culture on Pern.

@ROBIN— There are many strong characters in Pern. I could care less if they're male, female, animal or machine. Back in the late '60s and early '70s there was little about Lessa as a ground-breaking female. I think that all came much later as a marketing ploy to engage 'modern' females.

Dragonflight is the introduction to this complex world and to several of its premier characters who continue thru a number of books as new great characters are added and expanded. Read on all you will not be disappointed.

Pern is the best FanSciFy ever written,IMO. It develops over many books like LOTR, Dune or Foreigner. All this talk makes me want to visit again.


Dana (rhysiana) | 39 comments I reread this book not that long ago, so I'm not technically doing it again right now, but I do remember that my main impression upon rereading this was surprise at how much darker this book seemed compared to rest of the series. This is probably because I started with the Harper Hall trilogy back in middle school and then read all the others I could get my hands on, so I had all the books "colored" in my mind together. I do love Pern, especially as one of my first introductions to a major fantasy world.


Libby | 271 comments I just got started on this one and am quite enjoying it. I agree that is it somewhat dated and the plot isn't too complex, but I still find it a very entertaining read. After reading Tigana I was looking forward to some lighter fantasy. On the opposite end, I found The Accidental Time Machine to be too light - verging on boring.

I'm pretty excited about this series. I'm assuming due to its popularity that like many series, the books will get better and more developed as I read on. I find in a longer series most authors develop their literary stride around book three.

Frankly, I also simply love dragons – always have. So that sucked me in too – I almost cried when the watch-wher died. Silly, I know.



Ami (aimdoggg) | 183 comments I've read the whole series, and it's interesting starting here at the beginning again. The books do get better and more developed as the story goes on, and I'm finding that I like a lot of the later ones better.


message 23: by Mike (last edited Jun 11, 2009 08:02PM) (new)

Mike (mikespencer) | 74 comments I'm almost through, but I have to agree with Robin for the most part. I've pretty much enjoyed the novel so far, but at this point, there just hasn't been enough to make me really want to read the next in the series.

I think my main issue is with the characters. Though I can respect them, I can't identify with them. Lessa and F'lar are both so pretentious. For me, the characters are the most important part and if I don't connect with them, the story loses a lot of appeal.

Other than that, I think the setting is pretty interesting and the implied mythology is very intriguing.


Robin (RobinSullivan) | 348 comments Kernos wrote: "Dragonflight is the introduction to this complex world and to several of its premier characters who continue thru a number of books as new great characters are added and expanded. Read on all you will not be disappointed. ..."

It may be that the series gets "better as it goes" but I really didn't find much "complexity" in this first installment nor did I particularly "latch on" or relate to any of the characters. For me, it's not a "bad book" but just not one that I got done with and had a "wow" moment with. It was an okay read to spend the hours with I did but for me personally it did not "grip" me.


Libby | 271 comments I really enjoyed this book and purchased the next few in the series. One of the reasons I really like it is the same reason other don’t – it’s truly a light reading adventure novel. The setting and story are great, Pern is multifaceted and creative, admittedly the characters are stereotypical but I like it - it works for this type of series.

Modern literature prefers complex characters with lots of inner conflict - are they good? are they bad? what motivates them? etc. A prime example is Tigana. I agree that it’s an amazing way to write but sometimes I find typecasting and stereotypical oddly refreshing. On a different level, I really enjoy a book with a traditional hero and an obvious black-hat villain. I can just enjoy the story and not have to think too much about life and people and all its implications. It's pure entertainment, true story telling. I think there is a lot of merit in this type of literature. It provides a balance to the more thought provoking, contemporary fantasy literature. At the end of the day, LOTR - considered a Fantasy masterpiece - is loved for many of these reasons.

I’m not looking for major character development and growth in these books because I don’t think it is intended. The tone of the book is a great storytelling with great traditional characters. I’m enjoying it for what it is and think the characters fit perfectly within this construct. I think if people enjoy this book or not has a lot to do with personal readign perference.



Cathy  (Cathygreytfriend) | 121 comments I agree, Libby. There seems to be a general sentiment that books of value, literature, have to be dark, complex, and often difficult to get through (Oprah). Pageturners are frowned upon. There are a lot of books that are just plain fun to read, many of which are well written and occasionally spark deeper thinking. I'm not saying this well, but I hope you get what I mean. Most of the books I read now would never be taught in schools or lauded in the press, but they are often very well done for what they are. It's like with the Oscars, a great comedy is never nominated, even though it is perfectly crafted to accomplish it's purpose. Sure, there's a lot of dreck out there too, but when you find something lighter that well done and fun, why not go for it and enjoy? That's not a dig at the people who just didn't like the book, by the way, just a general idea that's been buzzing around my brain.

So back on topic, I enjoy the world-building McCaffrey did in Pern. She created a world that is very vivid and memorable, with characters that I wanted to follow and see what happens next. There are also some interesting ideas, like what kind of society develops under a threat such as thread? For those of you who have mixed feeling about the book, I hope you'll try to read to the end of the first trilogy (Dragonquest and The White Dragon), it really isn't complete without at least that.



Libby | 271 comments @ Catherine - I think you stated it perfectly. I like to balance to the dark/complex/heavy thinking books with well-written fun reading. I'm glad there are still talented writers sticking to lighter story telling. I've enjoyed the work ofCharlaine Harris for the same reason.


message 28: by Carolyn (last edited Jun 12, 2009 11:36AM) (new)

Carolyn (seeford) | 187 comments Zen wrote: "In addition to all the usual considerations for first impressions... what do you think of the short "mythology" of how-dragons-came-to-be presented in the Prologue."

I really like that background given in each book, for me that answers definitively the question of is this series science fiction or fantasy (which I was totally amazed the first time someone insisted to me that this series is fantasy - I was like, did you read the Prologue in every book, or just skip it? = )

It's something I also like about the Darkover series by Marion Zimmer Bradley, it is also a 'lost colony' background.


Libby | 271 comments @ Carolyn - considering the "lost colony" aspect - I thought it was interesting how Pern reverted back to an agrarian society after being colonized by Earthlings who at the time had the biology and genetic know-how to create the dragons. Is this addressed in later books or are we just to assume that after Pern was abandoned, time passes and without tech being supplied it dies off?


rebecca j (technophobe) | 13 comments A lot of the newer Pern books explain more about how the different crises pushed Pern society to an agrarian world - and explains why the colonists coped so well with it.
Personally, I read The White Dragon first out of the Pern series. It was much more complex than Dragonflight, and so I was hooked before I ever read the first two books. Compared to the later storylines, Dragonflight has a much simpler adventure, but the things it introduces help you understand the later books better. It's definitely not one of my favorite books in the set, but still enjoyable. I have 17 Pern books in my shelves, and I enjoyed them all.


Marc (AuthorGuy) | 268 comments The White Dragon is the best of the books I read. I read the original trilogy, the Harper Hall trilogy, and many of the prequels, up until Dragondawn. I view this series as a fantasy series with the barest hint of a nod to SF-hood, and when she started emphasizing the SF aspects I lost interest.


Jeffrey | 193 comments I think this is one of the first sf books I ever bought on my own. The first chapter of this book was a short story of McCaffrey originally -- and one which she won the Hugo Award.

Maybe by todays light Lessa can be viewed as a not so significant character but I have to say that starting with this book -- then she was.

There were not that many female leaders who used their wits and mental ability to take charge.

Lessa essentially changed her own destiny and the destiny of everyone else from her appearance in this world.

I have not reread this book in a long time but it made a huge impact on my readingat the time -- maybe because I was a teenager.

I can understand the love for Menolly in the Dragonsinger books because she is a more lovable cahracter but Lessage is a more complex character.

One other tidbit -- McCaffrey has said in the past that her novels are kind of romance novels just set in the far future and at the heart of most of these first novels Flight, Quest, White Dragon is the love affair between the main character and someone.


Robin (RobinSullivan) | 348 comments Catherine & Libby - you guys make good points - in the light of well "light fantasy" ya I think I like it better than I did. I do like "light fun reads" after all that is alot of what Michael's Crown Conspiracy is and the "depth" starts showing up in Avempartha. Maybe I will try another in the series.

Thanks for your insights


Brad (judekyle) | 1640 comments I am coming late and I have only read the first 30 pages or so, but so far I am not impressed. I am enjoying it fine and I am suspending judgment on F'lar and Lessa for the time being, but it really isn't grabbing me yet. I know that this is going to say more about me than it does about McCaffrey, but the world she has crafted creates a picture in my mind that matches the sets of the first Black Adder series, which makes the entire thing feel too fake for me -- almost comic -- but all the talk of drudges and the descriptions of the castles and outbuildings feels like poor BBC sets.

I am sticking with it, of course, but at this point the only element that really intrigues me is Lytol, and I have a feeling he's not going to be all that important.


Marc (AuthorGuy) | 268 comments Then you'd be wrong. His value grows throughout the first series.


Brad (judekyle) | 1640 comments Marc wrote: "Then you'd be wrong. His value grows throughout the first series." Sweet. I like being wrong (sometimes).




Marc (AuthorGuy) | 268 comments He's never a main character, of course, but he has emotional value to a number of people who are main characters.


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Books mentioned in this topic

Dragonsinger (other topics)
Dragonquest (other topics)
The White Dragon (other topics)
Dragonsong (other topics)
Dragonflight (other topics)
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Authors mentioned in this topic

Charlaine Harris (other topics)
Marion Zimmer Bradley (other topics)