Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Masterharper of Pern (Pern, #15)” as Want to Read:
The Masterharper of Pern (Pern, #15)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Masterharper of Pern

(Pern #15)

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  22,116 ratings  ·  326 reviews
MasterSinger Merelan and Harper Petiron were a brilliant and devoted couple. Merelan was the most outstanding soprano ever heard on Pern, and was often the only one who could master Petiron's technically accomplished compositions. When, after a long and difficult birth, Robinton was born to them, it should have been the culmination of a unique partnership.

But Petiron, almo
462 pages
Published 1999 by Corgi (first published January 1998)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Masterharper of Pern, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Masterharper of Pern

Eragon by Christopher PaoliniThe Hobbit or There and Back Again by J.R.R. TolkienEldest by Christopher PaoliniBrisingr by Christopher PaoliniDragonflight by Anne McCaffrey
1,203 books — 2,272 voters
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingA Game of Thrones by George R.R. MartinThe Eye of the World by Robert JordanHarry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
Best Fantasy of the 90s
332 books — 672 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.23  · 
Rating details
 ·  22,116 ratings  ·  326 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Sep 01, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I've figured out why Anne McCaffrey frequently stated that the Pern novels should be read in publication order rather than by their internal chronology. It's because she couldn't be arsed to keep accurate notes about the series and didn't want her readers to catch on to that fact by noticing the errors.

My favorite example of this is the rapid progress of Piemur and Jancis' relationship. At the end of The Renegades of Pern they finally slept together for the first time. Then the workers at Landi
Susan Kennedy
Aug 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
I remember Robinton, Masterharper of Pern always being one of my favorite characters. Rereading this just emphasized that fact. This is the story of his life from a newborn until a bit after he becomes the Masterharper of Pern.

He is an incredible character with a wonderful story. His mother and father are both talented musically, which enhances the musical talent in him that he is a prodigy. He is close with his mother and really has no relationship with his father. His father is jealous of him
Jul 04, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mccaffrey-pern
A book I wanted to love -- it's about Robinton! -- but found incredibly frustrating instead. Between the historical inconsistencies with books that came out both before and after (how can he be teaching students about a document that was lost and forgotten for over 1500 years?) and the attempt to make things fit entirely too neatly, the parts I liked (his childhood and relationship with his parents, which was very well done, and his marriage, which was as well) were overshadowed by the parts tha ...more
Jun 03, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I've realized that Ms McCaffrey's books offend me in exactly the same way the Sex and the City movies offend me: that the main characters and their dysfunctional relationships are supposed to be somehow sympathetic, if not outright aspirational. In this book, Robinton himself is less obnoxious than her usual main character (even if I thought the one scene where he compared holding his mom to holding his wife really Freudian and gross,) but Merelan is excessively odious: trying to hide his talent ...more
Kathy Davie
Jan 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thirteenth in the chronological order for the Pern fantasy / science fiction series and revolving around dragonriders and harpers. The focus is on Robinton, a harper who goes on to greatness. The stories are a mess in following a chronological order. It's one reason I undertook a re-read of the series. Click this link if you want to explore my version.

My Take
This one is a biography which provides the background for the three primary stories of the Pern series: Dragonflight , 14, Dragonquest ,
Apr 23, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1990s, dragons, sci-fi, fantasy
MasterHarper of Pern showed improvement in plotting and characterization compared to the few books published prior. I think this was largely helped by the fact that it's a prequel to Dragonflight, so all of the big plot elements have already been established.

Robinton is a major character found in the first few Pern novels and any story that takes place in the Ninth Pass timeline of Pern. He's the MasterHarper, in charge of Harper Hall, has a fondness for red wine and friendship, and is a talente
Apr 05, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
I like the Harpers of Pern and their role in keeping tradition alive and their role as educators. It's hard to swallow Petiron as a character and the way everyone puts up with his annoying traits, but is too afraid to tell him how obnoxious he is. How is he ever supposed to learn if he stays a cosseted prima donna? I thought that was how a character like Halanna learned to become a better person, by being exposed to her own faults? Weird. Finally, the second half of the book was torture. Suddenl ...more
Nov 02, 2009 rated it did not like it
A basic premise of the Dragonsinger Trilogy is that women were not trained as harpers--so Menolly is breaking down all kinds of gender barriers on Pern when she goes to Harper Hall. Now in this book we're supposed to accept that Robinton's mother was a renowned harper? I had a hard time getting over that MAJOR continuity issue...and the rest of the book wasn't very interesting either.
Apr 02, 2019 rated it liked it
This book covered way too much time and in too much detail. McCaffrey wrote an introduction stating that she wrote this book to explain some things that had happened in Pern before the books she had already wrote. I didn't feel like this gave any needed material to the world of Pern. Yes, we learn some of the specifics of events that were alluded to, but none of them are critical. This book had potential to be interesting even with this issue as Robinton is a fascinating character, yet somehow, ...more
Jun 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The Masterharper of Pern by science fiction queen Anne McCaffrey is one of her best works. She tells the life story of the great Masterharper Robinton, from his troubled childhood to his musical genius. He is a favourite character in the Pern series.

Would it be wrong of me to hijack my own review and compare the way Anne writes about Robinton with the way her son writes about his own favourite character Kindan. Anne has passed the storywriting baton to her son Todd McCaffrey who has (imo) mutila
Jul 13, 2009 rated it it was ok
McCaffrey offers a prelude to her original Dragonrider novels by revisiting a main character of those stories, Masterharper Robinton. However this might be more interesting if he was more of a protagonist and less of an observer to events happening about Pern. This sort of treatment cumulates at the end of the book when Robinton finds himself present to one of the most important scenes of the entire series, a Forest Gump like insertion into the storyline. An ok story, but could have been so much ...more
Oct 12, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
I've read all the Pern books and think they're basically okay, though they do tend to have a YA feel about them. Her characters are all interesting but don't have any depth to them. What she's good at is world-building. The only books in this series that I've ever re-read are the two featuring Menolly, whose story is more interesting than most. Robinton is, of course, a beloved character by that time, so it was interesting to read of his early life, but if you've read the other books, you alread ...more
Jan 04, 2009 rated it did not like it
Utter tripe, mangles a previously interesting character by making him a perfect author insert.
Angel M.
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another excellent read by Anne McCaffrey!
I'm rereading the Pern books because I was nostalgic. This book remained in my collection, but I still can't give it a great review. As much as I love Robinton, this book is the ultimate retconn.

As I've been rereading Pern, the inconsistencies (and typos and name issues!) really began to bother me. I had to wonder who the heck was editing, because there was no cross-checking, and things just don't fit together right.

I liked this book, but I have to consider it a fanfic of Pern rather than direct
Amalia Dillin
Jan 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book covers a lot of ground. It's interesting to see what pieces of Robinton's life McCaffrey zeroes in on and what pieces she summarizes -- unfortunately because it starts so early with Robinton's birth, there is quite a lot of summary.

I enjoyed this read, for sure, but there is a part of me that almost feels a little bit like Robinton might have been better served by the pre-existing mystery. Some characters, like Boba Fett (and Darth Vader) in Star Wars, lose some of their magic when we
Mar 10, 2012 rated it it was ok
I normally like the Pern books, but this one fell sort of flat for me. The core drama revolves around the harpers and a particularly greedy man named Fax, who starts gobbling up Holds. There's very little to do with the dragonriders, although they do appear occasionally, and much time is spent on the main character's poor relationship with his father. Love interests also die surprisingly quickly, making it hard to care about them as characters or feel any involvement in the relationships.

It's a
Dec 19, 2008 rated it liked it
I love Robinton, and I really, really wanted to love this book. It was ok ... but only ok. I wish she'd get someone else to check for historical inconsistency as it bugs me immensely when it pops up.
Sep 24, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It's hard to give a Pern book a low rating, but this book... really isn't all that good. It reads like mediocre Pern fanfic. Actually, I think I wrote better Pern fanfic when I was nine.

McCaffrey's work always had its little lumps. Her prose isn't particularly stunning (Dragonflight especially is rough around the edges). Details and endings are often a bit saccharine. Conflicts are a bit melodramatic and villains are a bit shallow (Fax, Kylara, Meron, Pona, Toric, Avril Bitra...) The retelling o
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dragon
Anne McCaffrey knows how to write a story that reads away easily and this book is no exception.
Still... is a must-read in the world of Pern? Not in my opinion.

In this book we read about a well loved character Robinton, the Masterhaper of Pern. I loved his character in the other books, and therefor was looking forward to read more about him.
And although it was an easy read, it was not a fullfilling read. It was all just.... plain.

I read Pern for the dragons! And would have loved to read more abo
Jeff Suter
This should have been a wonderful book, it's about Robinton one of the most likeable characters in the Pern books. But I am sorry to say Anne McCaffrey blew it big time. Of course this was at the height of the publish anything with "Dragon" in the title mania. It wouldn't be so bad if McCaffrey stayed true to her own plots and continuity. With Masterharper she totally destroys plot and continuity.

Continuity glitch #1: Robinton's mother is a Harper? Since when? Remember Menolly? - She was a sham
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
I've recently been rereading the Pern Books and catching the ones that I originall missed. This is one of the ones that I had skipped back when it was first published as I was more interested in reading about Dragons then Harpers.
Honestly, I should have passed on it this time too ...
It is written somewhat biographical, somewhat 1st POV and somewhat 3rd person POV and doesn't work at all. There are many continuity and timing issues. Most noticiably is Robinton's age, you have to do some estimate
Caroline Berg
There is so much wrong with this book, and so little right. If you enjoyed Robinton as a side character, I suggest you don't read this at all, because he just doesn't work as a main character. McCaffrey seems to have an issue where anything her female characters do well, a male character (in a book written later) needs to do better and at a younger age. It's weird, but it happens with more of her characters that I care count, and doesn't do the male characters who show them up any favors either. ...more
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
How can you go wrong with another installment of the original story line? This is all about good old Robinton, and takes us forward from his birth until the confrontation between F'lar and Lord Fax in Ruatha that took place in Dragonflight.

The hook of this story is the events, largely centered around Fax, at the end of the long turn. We start we meet many of the characters when they are young, including F'lon, father of F'lar and F'nor. Throughout the book we find out a few facts about other cha
I thought I had read the whole of the dragonrider series years ago, now I've discovered I missed some out! This is the biography of Robinton, the masterharper who plays such a big part in the main thread of the story. It tells of his childhood, loved by his mother but ignored by his father who fails to appreciate his musical abilities. As a journeyman harper he travels to various holds so you get to learn quite a bit about everyday life on Pern, and you meet some of the main characters as youths ...more
Jane Irish Nelson
May 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
In earlier books in this series, we meet Masterharper Robinton, but what do we know of his early life? This is his story, from his birth up through the events at Ruatha Hold that lead off the first book Dragonflight. Along the way we learn about his mother, Merelan, a Mastersinger, and his father, Petiron, a Mastercomposer, and their family dynamics. From his earliest childhood Robinton is immensely musically talented — but his father never notices. In addition to the story of Robinton, this boo ...more
Jan 30, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to love this book. I’ve always enjoyed the other Pern novels, and re-read them often, delighting at the vision, the sense of history unveiling, the characters and the emotion. Masterharper Robinson has always been a favourite character.

How could this book go so wrong?

There are major changes to established facts (Menolly overturning the natural order to be a Harper? Why, just one generation ago the hall had women masterharpers! Remember the shock when dragons first talked directl
Lila Diller
I always enjoy this book when I re-read the entire series, and then about of the way through, I remember how sad it is! The last doesn't really make up for the intense grief. In fact, the tension and conflict stretch out with very little relief until the very last scene, which will be familiar to anyone who had read Dragonflight. The author basically takes the beginning scenes of Dragonflight and retells them from a different perspective, which is highly interesting. But it really ends on a cl ...more
Jerry Miller
Another quiet diversion. This one gives the back story on a character from some of the early books. Robington is seen from the time he is a child, growing up under a stern father and loving mother. We see him try to persuade people that Thread is still a threat even though it has been many Turns since anyone has witnessed it. In fact, those alive have never seen it and only know of its existence through legend. Reading in the order of publication was a bit confusing, because things hinted at had ...more
Jun 18, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-scifi
I enjoyed this read, but having not read the other Pern books in awhile, I didn't notice all the continuity errors. Until the other reviewers mentioned them.

All that aside, it's not horrible. I found it more interesting than some of the earlier prequels. McCaffrey wanted to introduce the characters of Dragonflight.

We meet Robinson at his birth to Harper parents. He is a musical prodigy, which his self-absorbed composer father fails to notice. He progresses quickly and befriends F'Lon (father of
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Thank you 2 31 Jul 07, 2014 01:43PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The People of Pern
  • The Atlas of Pern
  • The Dragonlover's Guide to Pern
  • Exile's Song (Darkover, #24)
  • Anne McCaffrey's Dragonflight #2
  • Dragonholder: The Life and Dreams (So Far) of Anne McCaffrey
  • Exile's Honor (Heralds of Valdemar, #6)
  • The Ship Avenged
  • A Dragon-Lover's Treasury of the Fantastic
See similar books…
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

Other books in the series

Pern (1 - 10 of 25 books)
  • Dragonflight (Dragonriders of Pern, #1)
  • Dragonquest (Pern, #2)
  • Dragonsong (Harper Hall, #1)
  • Dragonsinger (Harper Hall, #2)
  • The White Dragon (Pern, #3)
  • Dragondrums (Harper Hall, #3)
  • Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern (Pern, #7)
  • Nerilka's Story (Pern, #8)
  • Dragonsdawn (Pern, #9)
  • The Renegades of Pern (Pern, #10)