Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
148 of 154 people found the following review helpful
Dragon Lover's Beware11 Jan. 2009
- Published on Amazon.com
Dragonheart needs to be read with a strong pot of Klah close at hand. Todd has a morose way of infecting all his books with some kind of deadly plague. Every time Todd takes us to Pern, there is nothing new to discover,no move forward,no expansion of their world or characters and the hope filled themes that life on this planet will get better with time are gone with the change of authors. I caution the fans who have devoured Anne McCaffrey's books for decades that this book has not much in the way of exciting newly found information left by the 'ancients' that help anyone do anything to save the dragons and their riders in the prime of life from going between forever. The time line in this book almost sent me 'between' trying to keep track of WHEN I was and what was going on. The story doesn't GO anywhere! After slogging through the first 2/3rd's of the book you still feel like Todd has too many more books to write before this storyline that started in Dragon's Blood is over. Todd needs to go back and re-read his mother's earlier novels, they do and say much more in a short amount of time to involve the reader than his do in a multi-book series. I had figured out the disorientation of the new weyrlings as soon as it was mentioned in the story. Any dragonrider would. This between times travel has been hard on dragonriders since Lessa and Moreta did it way back in long past books. When Kitti Ping bioengineered the Dragons, they were a super lifeform,immune to sickness and affording their riders a long mostly disease free life.The Pernese people have a dominant spirit and will to live that is missing here. In the earlier books the diversity of the things they eat like wherrys (not chicken!),herdbeasts and runnerbeasts, tubers, etc. made it a fun planet to visit where there was always something new to delight the reader. Discovering new types of plants with ingenious ways of surviving the climates and conditions on Pern. Not ordinary spices with names that we can find at the local supermarket on Earth is what made going to Pern fun. The clothing they wear is earthbound, and rituals he writes of smack of too much of Earth religon for the Pernese society.He needs to read the Original Charter of the Pernese colonists... I have hope that when Todd writes more about Pern he will learn to cut to the chase,stop making these people so sickly and paranoid and not bore us 'BETWEEN' before anymore devoted fans go looking for other new worlds to conquer. Any true fan of Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders books will be frustrated to read this newest addition to tale.I'd rather re-read one of the original books for the umpteenth time again, before trying this one ever again.
78 of 82 people found the following review helpful
So Close, and Yet So Astronomically Far Away20 Feb. 2009
- Published on Amazon.com
The Dragonriders of Pern series, associated novellas and accompanying extras (does anyone remember the beautiful book of artwork?) have been a staple in my literary life for a quarter of a century. I consider myself an avid fan and was happy to read Todd's continuation of the storyline, entrusting Anne's wisdom and Todd's abilities to tell a great story in a familiar land.
Though the plotline re-covered ideas and concepts that have long been drawn from in the Pern universe, there was enough of an immersion into Weyrlife to make the story enjoyable, like greeting an old friend.
The phrase "old friend" helps me move into my first real criticism. The heroine of the story is a 13 year old girl. Not a problem, many stories are told from a child's perspective. (Ender's Game being a great example.) My issue is that this girl is like a 20 year old with a 13 year old's Birth Certificate. Now, I don't know if the author has met any 13 year old girls, however they simply aren't that mature. They have mature moments, sure, and that would be more apt to show with Holder training, which the heroine had, but leaving a 13 year old girl in charge of a Weyr is just plain ridiculous. The fact that this 13 year old girl is flirting her head off and conveniently waits until her 16th birthday before she finally goes through with said flirting was just... uncomfortable for me to read through. That and the driving need for her to sleep with other girls... a point made once too often. Lessa, in the original Dragonriders series, was around 20 when she became Weyrwoman and she still had some growing up to do. If the author could have replaced "13" with "17" in the novels, there would have been no other text change, because indeed the character is written as much older, just with the jailbait age attached. I don't think the author has any daughters, because frankly no man with a 13 year old daughter could write any of that without alternately laughing and gasping in horror. If you think I'm exaggerating, in this book a 10 year old (again female) child serves as one of the main heads of the household.
My second criticism is that throughout the entire book, I found myself truly missing the DRAGONS. There were no true Dragon voices; they were simply used as the occasional voice of a conscience, but in italics. Mr. Mccaffery, putting quotes in italics does not make it dragon-worthy. Please re-read your mother's novels, not for the plots or the tempo, but for the voice of the Dragons. It is not a Dragonrider novel if the Dragons are simply plot-puppets with wings thrown into the 'verse.
Read The White Dragon. Ruth had a clear voice that was very discernable from his rider and other dragons.
My final verdict is that the Dragonriders series is continuing in capable hands and written by a talented author well versed in the Pern world and lore, but without a true understanding and love of the actual Dragon half of the Draonriders series. Oh, and a unnerving and slightly off fixation on very young female children who behave like experienced adults.
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
I'd give it a Zero if possible15 Mar. 2009
- Published on Amazon.com
After about 4 weeks of up picking this book up, reading as long as I could stand it, and then putting it down, I have only been able to force myself to read 140 pages, all the while waiting, waiting, waiting for something to make sense or something to happen.
All the weyrlings and their dragons are sleepy and muzzy-headed. The older dragons are sick and coughing and the fire lizards have been banished because it is thought they may be the source of infection to the dragons. Thread is getting ready to fall. There are pages and pages of disjointed dialogue, more complaints abut the sleepiness of the weyrlings and dragons, more disjointed dialogue. In the midst is Fiona, a Lord Holder's daughter who has managed to impress a golden queen dragon. She walks about worried that her dragon is sleeping too much and she can't remember things, all while nursing sick dragons and their riders. But after 140 pages of this disjointed book, I'm still waiting for a plot and wondering why in the world the author wasted 140 pages to say absolutely nothing.
Todd McCaffrey's last book was very well written - in fact, it was a page-turner, which is what I expected this one to be. I keep thinking that if I just read a few more pages, then it will finally pick up the pace and something will happen. I just don't know if I can make myself do it.
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Not the best...probably the worst16 Mar. 2009
- Published on Amazon.com
I just finished the longest drawn out Prelogue to whatever is coming up next in this series, which I will probably NOT read at this point. I felt like I was walking through mud throughout most of the book...there was too much talk, not enough action. Huge sections where I think I totally missed something. It just ends...no wrapping up, no urge to read on. It just ENDS. The hair cutting scene made me laugh out loud. (If you read it, you know what I mean) Not from amusement, but from hysterical 'you've got to be kidding me!' emotion. HORRIBLE. What a stereotype...could it be any worse...I dont' think so! Todd is not Anne, in any light. I love Dragonriders. I love Pern. I love Anne McCaffrey. I am not a fan of Todd McCaffrey, or this series. This book is too squeaky, written for an extremely young crowd, and just obnoxious to read. Fiona is annoying. Terin is annoying. Still can't figure out Xihanna's role. I do not recommend to any fans that are familiar with Anne's work. Just stick with the old books, don't bother picking this one up. I am soooo disappointed!
47 of 56 people found the following review helpful
Strangely Compelling16 Nov. 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
What is the matter with the weyrlings? This has, no doubt, been a common complaint for exasperated Weyrlingmasters the past 500 Turns or so, but in this instance there really IS something wrong with the youngsters -- a number of them are frequently inattentive, lack energy, and want to sleep a lot. A handful of the older dragonriders also suffer from this mysterious malady to a degree. Even the newly hatched dragons are sleepier than they ought to be.
Thus begins Todd McCaffrey's "Dragonheart", set at the very start of Pern's Third Pass, in the year (or "Turn") 507 After Landing. At age 13, Fiona, the only surviving child of Bemin, Lord Holder of Fort Hold, has unexpectedly Impressed gold dragon Talenth. As a junior Weyrwoman she has much to learn with little time to spare. Not only does she have to care for her rapidly growing young dragon, she has to learn all about managing a Weyr populated by hundreds of dragons, their riders, and the support staff.
To make things worse, Harper Kindan's fire-lizard dies of a serious lung ailment, and all fire-lizards are banished to the Southern Continent. Given how closely related these creatures are to dragons, no one can risk cross-species infection. Not with Thread so close to falling. Without dragons to flame this ancient menace from the sky, Pern would rapidly be rendered uninhabitable.
Alas, dragons begin to fall ill and then to die, and Thread begins to fall for the first time in 200 Turns. The ranks of the inexperienced dragonriders are decimated by injury from threadscoring. The situation is even worse when they're forced to fight Thread at night, when they can't see what they're fighting. Unexpected allies prevent utter catastrophe, but still the situation is getting more dire by the moment.
Given how many of Todd's Pern novels have dealt with plague, either among humans or among dragons, I should by all rights be completely fed up with yet another plague novel. Yet, as always, I've enjoyed reading this one.
One difference between this story and "Dragonsblood", a parallel novel taking place at roughly the same time, is the scope of the story. While in "Dragonsblood" the focus is on the likes of Kindan and Lorana, of Benden Weyr, desperately trying to find a cure for the dragon plague, in "Dragonheart" the focus is mainly on Fiona at Fort Weyr, and how she copes with growing up in a time of disaster and upheaval. She remarks at one point to Cisca, another Weyrwoman, that she's never really had a childhood, given how her mother and all her siblings had succumbed to another plague, described in the book "Dragon Harper". As a likely future Lady Holder she has always had to set an example for the underlings -- it's no different now, being a Weyrwoman.
Thankfully, about halfway through the book we get a respite from the dragon plague as the Fort Weyr leadership implements a daring plan for giving the injured dragons and their riders, plus the weyrlings, some breathing space to recover from their injuries, or grow up, before the next threadfall.
I guessed the cause of the mysterious muzzy-headedness almost immediately, but no matter. The main attraction of this book is in seeing sides of Weyr life we haven't seen before in such detail:
- How do young riders and their dragons train for flying and going "between" one place and another?
- What's the most efficient way of delivering firestone to dragonriders in the middle of fighting thread?
- How do dragonriders resolve their differences when the traditional Pernese sword duel is too dangerous, given how the dragon commits suicide if its rider dies?
- What happens if a young green dragon has her first mating flight before she has started chewing firestone?
Carrying on from Todd's earlier books, he also goes into more details about the Watch-whers, nocturnal cousins of the dragons long thought to be of dubious use, but now proving to be most valuable indeed.
There are lots of unanswered questions at the end of "Dragonheart", which will likely be covered in a future story. First and foremost, who is this mysterious queen dragon rider who can communicate with Fiona telepathically, and leads her and her fellow weyrlings to undertake a very dangerous journey at such a young age, only to disappear right afterward? Fiona and T'mar, a bronze dragonrider, have their suspicions, but they don't know for sure.
Also, what will become of Xhinna, a young virtually outcast girl whom Fiona befriends near the beginning of the book, but ends up having to leave behind for a number of Turns? It seems likely that Todd has something in mind for her, along with another girl named Terin. Only time will tell.
There's also a prophesy of sorts uttered by one of the desert traders encountered later in the story. This was one of the things that gave me a bit of a pause: a bit of mysticism that is traditionally absent from Pern books. Todd's mother, Anne, has always been adamant that the Pernese are non-religious, though they have a form of spirituality.
Also, while I can't think of any physical reason why Thread couldn't fall at night, it does seem like something Anne's characters two thousand Turns in the future would have encountered in the Ninth Pass, yet no mention was ever made of it.
My main concern with Todd's work is that, in a few places, I found myself a bit confused as to what time of the Turn it was. Some of those later chapters span weeks or months at a time, and I found it hard to keep track. Also, it seems like characters repeat themselves more than they ought. Todd probably could have tightened up the plot a bit by getting rid of some needlessly redundant conversations and observations.
So, should you read this story? If you're new to Pern, you're going to want to start with Anne's early works, such as "Dragonflight" and "Dragonquest". If you're new to Todd's books, you'll likely want to start with his earlier works as well -- a number of characters, like Harper Kindan, Lorana and Nuella the WherMaster, are introduced elsewhere.
Ultimately, if you like Todd's earlier works, I can't think of any reason why you wouldn't like this one as well. But, given the cost of hardcover novels, you might want to check some of the other reviews first.