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

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  43,471 ratings  ·  1,306 reviews
Anne McCaffrey's best-selling Harper Hall Trilogy is a wonder-filled classic of the imagination. "Dragonsong," the first volume in the series, is the enchanting tale of how Menolly of Half Circle Hold became Pern's first female Harper, and rediscovered the legendary fire lizards who helped to save her world.
Mass Market Paperback, 176 pages
Published April 1st 1977 by Bantam Spectra (first published March 1976)
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Faerie Dragonsong takes place on a made up planet. For anyone new to the series, I would describe it as fantasy, but in the later books it is more sci-fi…moreDragonsong takes place on a made up planet. For anyone new to the series, I would describe it as fantasy, but in the later books it is more sci-fi oriented.

Essentially, thread is something which falls from space for fifty years which is referred to as a pass, periodically separated by a two-hundred year interval.

It is an organism which eats anything organic and can only be nullified by fire, intense cold or full submersion in water. Extremely deadly. It is the reason dragons exist, and for context, this book is set during a pass.

A pass is named such, because thread is commonly associated by something known as, "the red star." Later on, you find out that it is in actual fact, a planet, and has a bizarre orbit around the sun which will bring it further and closer from Pern in a cycle.

ect, I could go on, but I don't want to confuse you with knowledge I haven't read up on for four years. The best way to find out more would be to dive into the series - it's pretty self explanatory and easy to pick up.(less)
Faerie Aside from thread, Pernese society and culture is very much based around music. They use songs to teach their children, ballads to record monumental,…moreAside from thread, Pernese society and culture is very much based around music. They use songs to teach their children, ballads to record monumental, historical events, music to liven up the dullness of ordinary life. They even use huge drums for long distance communication.

The author spent nine years studying music, so it also happens to be a huge area of her interest and expertise - and anyone who's read a handful of her works will be able to tell that this also reflects in her writing.

Dragonsong is the book which introduces Menolly, one of the characters at the forefront of the Harperhall and its chronicles. For a practical example, you would be best off reading Masterharper of Pern, for it tells the life of Robinton and touches on just about everything music has influenced in Pernese society - which is nearly everything in itself.(less)

Community Reviews

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4.25  · 
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 ·  43,471 ratings  ·  1,306 reviews

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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
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 rated it it was amazing
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.
Deborah Ideiosepius
The Dragon books were part of the network of books that introduced me in my teen years to fantasy and sci-fi and on re-reading them years later it is encouraging to find them still as well written as I remember them. The plots still as riveting, the world-building still as thrilling and the characters still as good - well, maybe just a tiny bit more teen angst than I look for these days, but otherwise just as good!

In Dragonsong we follow the adventures of Menolly the youngest daughter in a sea h
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
Susan Kennedy
Aug 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who loves dragons and music.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 08, 2012 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
Sep 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sff, 1970s, favorites, ya
Just re-read Dragonsong and Dragonsinger. May have been more emotionally/musically engaged with the characters this time than the first time I read them so many years ago. Would like to award more than 5 stars.
In answer to question "What is your favorite fantasy?" ... the stories featuring Menolly and her miniature dragons ... might only be surpassed by the stories about the Apprentice Assassin.

Don't read much fantasy nowadays. Over the last few decades, I think only Robin Hobb and Rothfuss w
Sotiris Karaiskos
I am a little confused about the order in which I have to read the books of this series because there are different approaches. I chose the order in which they were released. So I have to break the Dragonriders of Pern trilogy to begin this.

In the Harper Hall trilogy we are at the same time as the previous book of the series but we follow a different story. The protagonist of this story is the sweet and sensitive Menolly who goes against the strict conservative beliefs of the region that was bor
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
Dragons were my ponies, Koivu
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 rated it it was ok
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
Mar 26, 2012 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
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Dragons and music on a different planet, with a likeable heroine to boot! Where has this book been all my life? I can't wait to read more. Luckily there are many.
Apr 23, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Alethea A
May 26, 2008 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
Oct 16, 2015 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:
Jun 17, 2016 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
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
Emma (Miss Print)
May 23, 2007 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:

The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears
There are times I just need to return to those comfort books which have been my companions and best friends through good times and bad times. There are books which, like fine wine, mellow with age. Characters I still love.

Dragonsong remains one of those stories that still brings a smile to my face and the warm fuzzies to my heart. It's one of the many books that cemented my love of fantasy.

I still remember how it struck such a deep chord within me, the very first time I read it. Menolly's tria
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
Aug 14, 2014 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
Wayland Smith
Oct 21, 2016 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
Rebecca McNutt
Apr 06, 2015 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.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • The People of Pern
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7)
  • Anne McCaffrey's Dragonflight #2
  • The Atlas of Pern
  • The Dragonlover's Guide to Pern
  • The Lark and the Wren (Bardic Voices, #1)
  • The Winds of Darkover (Darkover, #16)
  • Heart's Blood (Pit Dragon Chronicles, #2)
  • Jovah's Angel (Samaria, #2)
  • The Crystal Gryphon (Witch World Series 2: High Hallack Cycle, #5)
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

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