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message 1: by Rob (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:55PM) (new)

Rob | 19 comments Ok. I wasn't very impressed with the first book by Anne McCaffrey. Is the rest of the series worth reading? Does anyone share this opinion in regards to the first book. I see much potential.

message 2: by Rindis (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:56PM) (new)

Rindis | 80 comments By 'first book', you mean Dragonriders? I originally found it really hard to get into. I would recommend that you start with the Harper Hall trilogy instead (Dragonsong/Dragonsinger, I forget which is the first one), which is better and clearer. In the original trilogy, I would say the third book, The White Dragon far outshines the rest.

Past that, the quality tapers off (the usual sequelitis), but if you end up enjoying the first two series, you should probably get the next few, or at least Dragonsdawn which was the best of them I've seen.

message 3: by Rob (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:56PM) (new)

Rob | 19 comments Then I'll have to have another go at the series. I see alot of potential for the story, but I didn't want to read too much and be let down.

message 4: by Barry (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:57PM) (new)

Barry | 3 comments The first book is a little hard to get into but I really liked the series as it progressed, especially Dragonsinger. It does start getting bogged down in sequals (like Dolphins of Pern). McCaffrey does overcome most of the problem with sequals by keeping a familiar world and looking at it from completely different time periods. I do hope her son, Todd, can either take it in a new direction or bring it to a satisfying conclusion.
I've droned on enough. Suffice it to say, you either start loving Pern or hating it. McCaffrey said that herself.

message 5: by Rindis (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:00PM) (new)

Rindis | 80 comments I initially tried reading Dragonflight, and just couldn't figure out what was going on. The not-well introduced psionic powers threw me. So I ended up reading the Harper Hall series, enjoying it, and then going back to the first series.

I believe I stopped after All the Weyrs of Pern. It was just too much telling what happened to the characters next, and not enough story/plot.

message 6: by Rindis (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:01PM) (new)

Rindis | 80 comments I've read Get of the Unicorn (or was it off?) - short story collection. It was okay. I've read Dinosaur Planet (and maybe even the sequel) - meh. And I've read Freedom's Landing (picked it up cheap). That one wasn't great, but was pleasantly good. I do figure I need to get the sequel someday.

message 7: by Megan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:06PM) (new)

Megan | 12 comments Yes, to the original question, the Dragonrider series is definately worth reading. It might be easier if you approach the psionic talents much as the Pernese do. Lessa simply gets "feelings" sometimes, and dragons have the ability to talk to their riders. And as for the dragons themselves, they're just dragons.

However, for me, there were only six of the Pern books worth reading and re-reading. Dragonquest, Dragonflight, The White Dragon, the first two in the Harper Hall trilogy -- I really didn't care that much for Dragon Drums, though it's worth a read simply to get a closer look at the world of Pern -- and Moreta's Ride. (Nerilka's Story might be worth a read if you're into a closer look at Hold life, but it's just a short story that got a little long, and was published as a companion piece to Moreta, I think.)

After the initial books she began to lose her charm; her writing style began to deteriorate, her characters became weaker and everyone she liked turned into "I-guys" in a major way. She contradicted herself constantly, and ever since she began letting both her fans and her son help with the stories, they've gone severely downhill in writing, and story-telling..

Yes, I've read all of the others -- except the one her son wrote -- and I was very into the fan-Weyrs online for longer than I'd like to admit. Personally, I think, it's easier for women (especially a younger woman) to become engrossed in the series than an adult man.

If you take the stories on their own, and try not to compare it to other dragon books (like Eragon, which took large pages from McCaffery's books -- among others) that came after, and try not to read too much science into what is, essentially, a light and fluffy story about dragons and their riders saving the world, you should be fine.

message 8: by Chrystal714 (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:42PM) (new)

Chrystal714 | 24 comments Ok I always like to start from the begining, what is the name of the first book? or the one that will introduce me to this world the best?

message 9: by Rindis (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:42PM) (new)

Rindis | 80 comments The first book is Dragonflight. I would tend to recommend the second trilogy first, which starts with Dragonsong, which actually happens during... the middle of Dragonflight as I recall.

Alternately, you could try starting with the chronologically earliest book, Dragonsdawn which should work as a stand-alone just fine.

message 10: by Robert (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:42PM) (new)

Robert (rgbatduke) I would agree with most of what has been said above (and like the series very much indeed). If you want the easy route, or if you are a young person and want to start with younger characters that are a bit easier to connect with, starting with the dragonsinger (Menolly) miniseries makes more sense. However, this will leave you at least a bit chronologically impaired, as there are many different threads of story here -- the overall tale takes place over what, thousands of years? And the major story line in the main present of the series starts with the tale of Lessa and F'lar, well before Menolly's part begins.

I think that one thing that alters people's experience of the novels is that MacCaffery's writing style and the quality of both plot and narrative changed somewhat from beginning to end, where I found the story much more "comfortable" from the middle on, by which time the world she created had truly acquired a life of her own. The characters, too, were introduced a little at a time and started off in some cases a bit two-dimensional but ended as real people that you couldn't help but love, or hate, as the story's inevitable logic dictates.

No matter how you start, if you find that you are enjoying the story, you'll eventually get through all the books in pretty much any order, and then will want to go back and reread it start to finish in something like chronological order. I've probably read the whole thing (or all of it that I've got -- as noted above at some point books were being published just because Pern Is Cool and not because they formed an integral part of the overall plot and I opted out of that with a few exceptions) at least a half dozen times, maybe more. In order the parallel story threads very much do come together, so that All the Weyrs of Pern represents a pretty fair climax, one of the best in SF.

If you stop right there, you also don't have to worry about what happens to Pern in its inevitably turbulent future -- since Science has been rediscovered, and they are in possession of dragons capable of point to point transit between nearly arbitrary spacetime events, they have FTL space travel and the keys to essentially infinite sources of free energy whether or not they know it, and of course there are all the issues associated with paradox to confront -- neatly sidestepped in the primary series. The series was heading towards a collision between consistency as SF with suspendable disbelief, consistency as political/social story with suspendable disbelief, and worse.

As it is, it is one of a mere handful of SF series that ran over three books and yet was worth reading all the way through. It accomplished it by being readable as a union of SUBseries of three or four books each (which could stand on their own as stories go), that gradually tied into a grand conclusion. A number of the others pull the same trick -- Brin's uplift stories are broken down into two or three stories one can read more or less alone that gradually segue into a tightly coupled series that finishes off the story, the foundation trilogy was a TRILOGY and began and ended, until a second series was appended (and continues to be appended to posthumously, although I personally think it is pretty pointless).

So good luck with it, and enjoy. It really is worth it.


message 11: by Jamie (new)

Jamie Collins (jamie_goodreads) | 12 comments Pern is one of those series that I loved as a kid and now enjoy for reasons of nostalgia, so I'm unable to tell if it's actually any good or not. I do enjoy the early books, up through Moreta, very much.

message 12: by khrome (new)

khrome I haven't read the Dragon Riders series in over 10 years so I'm thinking of revisiting it. When I did read it, I didn't like it as much as the Harper Hall Trilogy. But there are a lot of books I didn't like a long time ago and I'm finding now that I'm older I really enjoy them, so maybe it's the same with Dragon Riders.

message 13: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra I love the Pern series. But I do agree some of the later books are not as good. And the first book was a bit hard to get into for me at first. I did enjoy The Masterharper of Pern and Dragonsdawn, which were a bit later in the series. Just finished Dragon's Kin and felt it was just ok.

message 14: by Laura (new)

Laura | 3 comments I started with Dragonsong/Dragonsinger/Dragondrums in sixth grade (literally 20 years ago), fell in love with Pern and went from there. I still think the best Pern books are the earlier ones, and I've also read a few of Anne McCaffrey's collaborations and short stories (the Crystal Singer, the Ship Who Sang, et al) and I enjoyed those as well. I think the Pern books are very suitable for teen readers, I feel as if I've outgrown them a bit.

message 15: by Barry (new)

Barry | 3 comments If it's Pern, I probably read it at least once. Every book gives you a little more depth into the society, which I think is the real draw of the series since many of the books deal with different characters and time periods.
If you are an aspiring author, you need to read all you can even if you think you are suffering through it because why the way things are as they are becomes clearer. Knowing how to develop the world for your story is important and McAffrey is a good example of how to do it.
As for her other books, the Unicorn (or Talent) series is ok for YA, but I found that events and powers got so big that it hindered rather than helped with the story.
Her series with The Ship Who Sang (I can't remember the series name) is pretty good but there are only so many ideas and it has probably reached its limit for new material.
The unicorn girl books, I never read and don't plan to. As for the Crystal Singer, I didn't really like the first one and haven't read the others.
Her other series and books are okay, but I didn't like her attempts at romance in Restoree or her short stories.

message 16: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra Barry, I read The Lady and really liked it. For those of you who may be unaware, it's not sci-fi.

I attempted [The Crystal Singer] and couldn't get into it. Read the first "Freedom" book and thought it was ok, but didn't read the others.

message 17: by Rindis (new)

Rindis | 80 comments Freedom's Landing? Not a bad, if slightly transparent alien romance book, haven't read past it myself. (I might someday, but haven't yet.)

In the long run, I have to consider MeCaffery as an okay author who has managed to come up with a few (deservedly) celebrated ideas. I haven't read much of her on that basis in years, but the Freedom series seems like it should be playing to her strengths.

Can't remember Crystal Singer, though I know I read it, and do remember I didn't really care for it.

message 18: by chris (new)

chris (chrisaflute) | 5 comments I agree with Megan on her selection of which Pern books are worth it. Also, as Megan mentioned, it helps to be a (very)young woman when you first read them. 30 years later one may wonder why one even bothered! But the memory of the feelings invoked on first reading remains clear, and for that reason I haven't gotten rid of any Pern books over the years.

message 19: by Allison (new)

Allison | 15 comments I'm with Megan and Chris on the enjoyment factor of being a youthful (female) Pern reader for maximum enjoyment! I began reading the Pern books (Dragonsong, Dragonsinger, Dragondrums) when I was around 12 or 14, if memory serves ... and I was enthralled! I still find many of the concepts intriguing and heartily recommend them to younger readers, but am not convinced I would enjoy them as much if I had first read them at an older age.

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