Justin Tadlock

Dragonflight

“Is this the be-all and end-all of your ambition? What are you that this little corner of the great world is all you want?”

Dragonflight book cover.

I’d had Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series on my to-read list for a while. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to jump into a dragon-related book after the disappointment of Eragon earlier this year. But, I wanted to stick with something a bit shorter before wrapping up Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy.

Therefore, I flipped to page 1 of Dragonflight and began my journey into this new world.

Early on, there were several moments where I nearly shelved the book. The writing style made the initial chapters a bit of a slog to work through. Names like F’nor, F’lar, F’lon, and Flax didn’t help much. I got characters confused. Admittedly, I have an aversion to names with apostrophes in them (and there are many in this book). They’ve always thrown me off. But, come on! Let’s get a little more variety.

At least Lessa was easy to remember. It’s a good thing too because she’s our heroine.

Lessa has been working for years in the kitchens on what was formerly her father’s lands. She’s been in disguise but one day hopes to reclaim what’s rightfully hers. However, her destiny goes much beyond her home. Her fate will change as becomes bonded to a queen dragon.

Dragons and Riders have always protected the world from Threads, a substance that falls from the skies and must be destroyed by dragon fire. But, there are few Dragons and few Riders left because the Threads haven’t fell in a long time. Many don’t believe the Threads exist. The people no longer have the reverence they once did for Dragonriders. Now, Lessa and the Dragonriders must find a way to save the planet.

McCaffrey has given us a glimpse into an interesting world in this first book. It’s not as fully fleshed out as a longer work of fantasy, but the story was good enough to keep me turning the page despite my early drawbacks with the style and character names.

There were a few times where I cringed at the overt sexism and a few rough scenes in the book. I would have perhaps expected it from a male author in the 1960s, but I wasn’t expecting it from a female author. Some readers may find this completely off-putting and not be able to handle the work. Fair warning.

What McCaffrey does better than most others is bring you into the relationship between Dragon and Rider and show the beauty of flying with a dragon. They are bonded as one. There were moments where I could feel the wind blowing as if I had taken flight upon a great dragon myself. I could share the experience of being one with my own Dragon as I went on this adventure.

Dragonflight is a mix of fantasy with some sci-fi elements. I don’t want to spoil what one of those sci-fi-like elements is because it’s a major twist in the plot that changes everything. And, it was beautifully handled.

I’m glad I didn’t put the book down early on. I enjoyed reading this classic.

⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 stars.

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