Dragonheart by Todd McCaffrey
Hardcover: 560 pages
Publisher: Del Rey (November 11, 2008)
The grim specter of sickness looms over the Weyrs of Pern, felling fire-lizards and posing a potentially devastating threat to their dragon cousins, Pern’s sole defense against the deadly phenomenon that is Thread. Fiona, the youngest and only surviving daughter of Lord Bemin, is just coming of age, and about to assume the duties of a Weyrwoman, when word spreads that dragons have indeed begun succumbing to the new contagion. With the next season of Threadfall quickly approaching, and the already diminished ranks of the dragons once more under siege, every Weyr across Pern is in crisis mode. It is hardly the time for disturbing distractions–such as the strange voice Fiona suddenly hears in her mind at the darkest and most urgent moments.
Circumstances and the mood of the weyrfolk worsen when advance patrols relay the dreaded news that black dust–the unmistakable herald of falling Thread–has been sighted. As more dragons sicken and die, leaving only a new generation of weyrlings too young to succeed them, Weyrleader B’Nik and queen rider Lorana arrive from Benden Weyr to comb Fort Weyr’s archives in a desperate search for clues from the past that may hold the solution to the plague.
But could the actual past itself prove the pathway to salvation for Pern’s stricken dragons and the entire imperiled planet? Guided by a mysterious ally from a wholly unexpected place, and trusting in the unique dragon gift for transcending time, Fiona will join a risky expedition with far-reaching consequences for both Pern’s future and her personal destiny.
Ok.. it's official I just finished reading my 22nd Pern novel. Never in my life would I have thought that I would read 22 books about the people and dragons of a planet named Pern!
1978 The White Dragon
1983 Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern
1986 Nerilka's Story
1989 The Renegades of Pern
1991 All the Weyrs of Pern
1993 The Chronicles of Pern: First Fall (a collection of short stories)
1994 The Dolphins of Pern
1997 Dragonseye (published as Red Star Rising in the UK)
1998 The Masterharper of Pern
2001 The Skies of Pern
2002 A Gift of Dragons (a collection of short stories)
2003 Dragon's Kin (by Anne & Todd McCaffrey)
2005 Dragonsblood (by Todd McCaffrey)
2007 Dragons Fire (by Ann & Todd McCaffrey)
2007 Dragon Harper (by Anne & Todd McCaffrey)
2008 Dragonheart (by Todd McCaffrey)
This book, written by Todd McCaffrey, isn't a slam-dunk, as many of his mothers books were to me.
Let me say this about myself first: I am not a picky person (at least I don't think so). This goes for both, movies and books I might add. In movies, I don't notice the mistakes made that some people seem to find. ("did you see the shadow of the camera in that shot??") They seem to pass me by as I am much to interested in the story and what's going on.
That being said, I shocked myself when I couldn't get past some things that Mr. McCaffrey did in this book.
The first few books he wrote about Pern, the people there, and of course the dragons, he wrote in collaboration with his mother, who is the person who first brought Pern and the dragons to life. Then he did write one alone.
I guess my biggest problem (if it is one) with the books written by both mother and son, was simply getting used to the fact that it was a different TIME in Pern that they wrote about and NEW Characters. (loving the original characters as I do this was no simple thing to get over, but I figured if Todd kept writing about the "same new characters" that eventually I accept them and all would be well in Pern once again.
As a good point for this book, I will say that Todd had some good characters, that I quickly began to like and was interested in what they did and said.
The seeming "star" of the book, Fiona, who became Talenth's rider was shaping up nicely. So was Xhinna, her female friend. Cisca and K'lior, the Weyrleaders, I would like to have known better, but they were also good, as was T'Mar, Zirenth's rider.
But some non-consistencies just jumped out at me..... One in particular was, Tajen (T'jen)who's dragon went between due to an illness. In other books if a dragonrider lived when his dragon died he was depressed a long time, did not want to try to impress another dragon and overall never got over the loss. In this book T'jen looses his dragon and not long after is happily helping others. This compared to Lytol, in The White Dragon, who lost his dragon and had to leave the weyr because he could no longer be around dragons, and who then for many years became a drunk, before finding a reason to live again. (Raising Jaxom) That was a huge thing to me to not keep consistent with other happenings.
This story wraps around the fact that the dragons were dieing of an illness. As I read of the deaths I couldn't help but notice that they talked of the losses as if it didn't bother them: "I think we are going to lose Yerinth and Casunth today." This sort of thing was written over and over. The sadness and the lose of both dragons and their riders just wasn't there. Instead what was talked about was how few they had left to fight thread. It may well be just me, but I just felt that there was something missing. Like a story was being told without sympathy.
(example:) "What if something goes wrong?" Xhinna asked. "What if they can't come back?"
Fiona shook her head. "In that case, we'll think of something." (I felt no sadness from the characters)
Something else I couldn't grasp was that Fiona and her queen Talenth go back in time with a mysterious weyrwoman. It is never really explained who she is or where she came from. (ok, so this might be saved for the next book).. however, once they went back in time there was no more mention of Cisca and the time they were in or the sick dragons. You'd think a small chapter would have been written about how they wonder where they disappeared to? But, nope. Nothing.
This is so unusual for me to find so many small things that bothered me, yet I kept on reading. Behind it all there is a decent Pern story with some new and interesting characters... I'm certainly not one who wants only Anne to write about Pern, after all, she can't go on forever. So I DO want her son to be able to take over and continue more stories. So far, he's not the writer his mother is. But I've given him a chance with the books he wrote WITH his mother, and I've read his other book he wrote alone called Dragonsblood... and undoubtedly I will give him yet another chance in hopes that I will find out about all the loose ends he's left dangling!
But beyond the faults, I did still have to say that (for the most part) I enjoyed the book. Like I said there are some good characters and I hope he answers the million questions he left hanging... so yeah, I'm waiting on the next book once again!