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3.9 out of 5 stars72
3.9 out of 5 stars
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 24 June 2012
I have loved Anne McCaffrey's Pern books since reading Dragonflight back in the Seventies and leapt on this new book as Anne is sadly with us no more, however it is not really a book by her having been written by her son Todd as a sequel to his "Dragongirl" and it certainly shows! It has none of the sympathetic characters that Anne was so good at creating, the central character Fiona apparently loves lots of people around her but I found her distinctly unappealing. Kindan a hero of earlier books now has a minor role and there were lots of other characters behaving in strange ways that I frequently either forgot who they were or couldn't work out what they were doing in the story.

Also the story jumps about in time worse than "Back to the Future", with Lorana coming and going to support an "is she dead or not" conundrum. Plus once again there is a sexual partnership where the female partner is only 12 or 14 which is below the age of consent and not a great role model.

I struggled to finish it in the end and only the hope that something good might happen kept me going, overall it was a huge disappointment. If you love Anne McCaffrey's books of Pern then go back and re-read them rather than bothering with this.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
It's official: Anne McCaffrey should have retired the Pern series, rather than handing it off to her profoundly untalented son Todd. And we get yet another demonstration of why in "Dragon's Time," another painfully slow, tension-free story that is more soap-opera than sci-fantasy. And this time around, Todd is obsessing about something new: PREGNANCY.

Specifically, Fiona is pregnant, and everyone cares about this because she's so wonderful. Lorana WAS pregnant, but traveling through time causes her to miscarry. However, she does manage to keep hopping through time, supposedly to find help in obliterating the thread in the present... although most of it just seems to be sightseeing.

Meanwhile, everybody is delighted by the fact that Fiona is pregnant, even when another woman miscarries. Fiona "adopts" more random people into her little family, Lorana pops in and out of the plot, and dragon eggs are attacked by tunnel snakes. Think that McCaffrey has run out of plot ideas?

There's supposed to be a lot going on in "Dragon's Time," but you wouldn't know it by actually READING the book. I mean, main characters DIE, two women miscarry their babies, and Pern is about to be obliterated by the Thread... and all anyone seems to care about is that Fiona is knocked up.

In fact, Todd McCaffrey seems weirdly obsessed with pregnancy in this book, since a good chunk of the story is devoted to what happens to the female characters' pregnancies. Occasionally he throws in some brain-meltingly confusing time travel stuff, or some truly horrifying romantic dialogue ("Shut up harper, and get into bed. I want your apology in silence").

And once again, McCaffrey seems to think that readers will adore Fiona as much as he does. Well, I don't. She comes across as a twee, syrupy Mary Sue who exudes love and peace -- one nauseating scene has all the other characters discussing how wonderful she is, and how they would even DIE for her. This sentiment is REVOLTING when it comes from a woman whose unborn child had just died.

As a result, the other characters are pretty much shortchanged. They seem to exist mainly as a cult to the pregnant mother goddess Fiona, and any hints of tension or dislike are quickly swamped under a sticky sea of oppressively warm'n'fuzzy feelings. Lorana is vaguely interesting, but too much of a silent martyr to be engaging.

It also doesn't seem like this book was proofread by an editor. There are frequent mistakes in punctuation, run-on sentences, and the phrase "She point to the worst spot."

"Dragon's Time" might as well have been called "Drags-on Time," because not much actually happens -- but hey, Fiona is pregnant, and that's all that apparently matters. This cash cow needs to be taken to the slaughterhouse.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 30 June 2011
I will buy the next book (the yet to be published Dragonrider) as I'm a completist, but if you aren't I'm not sure that you should bother with this. First off the prose just doesn't grip like an Anne McCaffrey book - somehow I just can't care as much about this lot. Secondly this one just piled disaster upon disaster - what else is poor Lorana going to have to suffer? Thirdly it's a shame that although there are some really good ideas here (the increase in the number of women riders is just one), the overriding impression of the book is - 'Fiona's sleeping with who tonight?', 'how young is that girl?', 'oh whoops lots more people just died, nevermind'.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 12 August 2011
With Dragongirl setting the bar on the floor of satan's wine cellar, I thought this series had nowhere to go but up.

I was wrong.

The plot is at once turgid and yet overblown. With Todd's excursions into the dragon plagues timeline needing some firm hammering out, I wasn't expecting much. What we got was a confusing mess of deus ex mechanica style time travelling that fits as smoothly as a square peg into a round hole.

The characterisation is not what I have come to expect of Pern: in parts you can almost feel Anne slapping Todd away from the keyboard in an attempt to bring sanity to the mess of the current story arc, but these attempts simply throw it further out of line with the writing style long-term readers have become familiar with. The book feels schitsophrenic; making attempts to bring Todd's work into line with Anne's canon and falling completely flat on its face.

This book unfortunatly was already crippled by its predecessor and for the sake of continuity has to carry over much of its baggage in terms of plot and prose. The Dragons especially seem to have been pushed to the sidelines, save when they make an appearance to conveniently mate or die horribly to drive the sluggish plot. At all other times they're buried beneath reams of rider soliliquising; the emotional connection that made earlier books enthralling does not exist. Counter-intuatively to the title, the dragons seem little more than glorified transportation, living aphrodisiacs and expendable deaths to create drama that is becoming distinctly stale after three books of it. Human characters too have recieved a downgrade; the intricate Pernese social and cultural mores and character development these prompted that were so closely explored in Anne's original works seem to have been thrown aside in favour of underage threesomes and shock drama gained from torturing the cast.

Whilst I can appreciate that trying to form a workable story when the outcome is already a given and the past set in stone is not easy, it calls into question the necessity of the entire arc. Todd's idea of meddling with Pernese chronology by further exploring the dragon plagues era had a bullet in one knee before pen was even put to paper by Moreta and Nerilka's story; wonderfully written, moving and neatly self-contained exploration of that time-period. Attempting to scrape enough retcons to shoehorn this mess in is just going to alienate fans of the originals.

If Dragongirl was throwing Moreta and Lessa into a blender with the Olsen twins and publishing the result, Dragon's Time is the dregs that were left in the bottom. Readers new to the series will find this a lacklustre, uninteresting read with a confusing chronology. Seasoned Pern fans will despise it.

I am dreading to see what next book has in store.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 3 July 2011
I cannot believe i am about to say something negative about a McCaffrey offering but here I go......

Dragon's Time continues Fiona's story. I found it confusing and dull. The absolute opposite of a page turner. A whole book about timing it and 'cheating' time? A very odd concept - we knew what was going to happen - this was a book about how it happened. Yawn. And there was SO much dialogue.

Also the three in a bed theme was odd to start with. Now it is just plain annoying.

I will of course be buying the next book too - but I really hope it is better than this one.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 16 November 2011
I think it's now got to the point where we have spent too much time with the same characters. I'm no longer interested in their stories, in fact I'm finding them more than slightly annoying. I kept finding myself wishing they would all be killed off by which ever plague is currently going around so I would have to deal with an entire cast of Mary-Sue's.

We know it is possible to travel between time, but there was far too much of it in this book and, for me, it didn't really add anything to the plot. A plot which was so lacking as to be almost non-existence while at the same time filled with so many overblown complexities as to leave the reader dazed and confused.

In truth Dragon's Time reads like a piece of fan fiction, with cannon facts completely ignored just so the writer can shine an even brighter spotlight on his heroine. A character he seems to think the rest of the world adores as much as he does. However she just comes across as a sickeningly sweet nightmare.

But worse than all of this, which as a die hard Pern fan I could forgive, is the fact that the dragons have been relegated to the sidelines. As another reviewer perfectly stated it 'they've been turned into glorified transportation that only show up to mate or die'.

No one was expecting Todd McCaffrey to write Pern the way is mother did, but if he doesn't get his act together I fear it will be too late for a series that, potentially, still had so much more to give.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 28 June 2012
This book must be the nail in the coffin.Sadly the much loved stories of the dragons of Pern have gone between for ever.This book is a none starter lots of confusing time jumping endless babble about the sex life of Fiona. no action little involvement of the Dragons, a bore from start to finish. R.I.P. pern
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 21 June 2012
Thousands of years after humans colonised Pern and genetically modified dragons to help them fight the dreaded Thread the world finds itself on the brink of disaster.
The dragon's sickness has left Pern with perilously low numbers of Dragons to fight the deadly Thread with. Although Lorena found a cure to the sickness, the cure came too late to save the animals in sufficient numbers. And every Threadfall, the numbers of available dragons dwindle further. The people of Pern will have to find a way to quickly increase the number of dragons if they want to have a chance to survive.
In a desperate bid to find a solution, Lorena decides to fly forward in time knowing that this action will cost her the baby she is carrying.
While Lorena is travelling into between and through time, looking for a place to safely raise more dragons, back on Pern Fiona, Kindan and T'mar are trying to fight the Thread without dwindling the numbers of dragons and riders too fast and struggling to keep despair at bay.
Most people are convinced that Lorena must be lost to them and put Fiona's reports of contact with the traveller down to pregnancy induced hallucinations.
When Lorena returns though, she has found a possible location and solution and soon the group find themselves on a newly discovered continent in a different time raising the dragons they will need to have a chance at survival. An enterprise that will turn out not to be without difficulties of its own and filled with danger and potential loss of loved ones.

Reading and reviewing a book that is the fourth title in a series which itself is part of an even larger series when you haven't read a single one of the earlier titles is probably not a great idea.
Of course every good book is able to stand on its own merits; a reader shouldn't need to have read the previous titles in order to enjoy the story they are reading. And I didn't. I thoroughly enjoyed this story, fell for its characters, both human and dragon, and found myself completely rapped up in the struggle to save Pern from the deadly Thread despite being new to this world. Having said that, I have absolutely no doubt that I would have enjoyed this book more if I had read the previous books in the series, had known more about the background of the characters and the situation they find themselves in. I was constantly aware of the fact that I was probably missing links, references to prior events and other connections. But, that didn't stop me from picking up the book on a wet Saturday morning and finishing it the same evening, compulsively turning the pages in order to find out what exactly was going on and how it all would end.
This is a well written book and an easy read. It is easy to lose yourself in the surroundings, the characters and the interactions between them, to marvel at the dragons and their links with their humans and as a result it is only natural that you start to care about the fate of all these characters as well.
I'm not sure if I'll ever find the courage or the time to go back and read all the Pern books I have missed. I will however read the next book in the New Adventures of Pern series because I really want to find out what is going to happen next.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 9 February 2012
I love the Pern series, I was gripped by The White Dragon and co when I was younger and they're the kind of books you can return to whenever you need a decent bit of escapism.

But sadly Todd McCaffrey has nowhere near the talent of his mum. As someone already familiar with the Pern concept I was fine with the assumptions made in this book about prior understanding of Threadfall, dragons bonding with humans and so on, but there's very little attempt to initiate newcomers. And even for people familiar with Pern, you STILL have to properly introduce your characters! A basic idea of who people are and their relationships with each other has to be woven into the early chapters or you'll never feel empathy with them and their dilemmas.

I agree with other reviewers that the time travel element was overplayed and the plot moved far too jerkily. There was loads of time spent on random motherly emotions by various peripheral characters, and ridiculous details such as making the dragonriders into expert gem and silversmiths during their exile overseas. But the main plot milestones were skimmed over and never felt like the climax they should have been.

If there was a 'no stars' option I'd select it - this is a prime example of lazy writing, full of typos and errors, based on the author's assumption that the audience is just gagging for any update on Pern without any taste or judgement.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 26 April 2012
It can't be easy going into such a beloved fandom as Pern, even if you do have the creator of that universe to guide you. For that reason, I resolved at the beginning to give Todd a fair chance and to try and read these books with an open mind. I'm also a little skeptical about others' reviews, since there have been several occasions in the past when I've loved a book everyone else has hated.

When other reviewers started talking about the pedophiliac elements in this book, at first I thought it was like Fiona having sex at sixteen (while sixteen is the age of consent here in the UK, I know in many other countries it's older). I apologize to all those reviewers; I should have listened to you.

Let's get one thing straight. A thirteen year old girl having a huge crush on a grown man is not creepy. When I was that age, my bedroom was plastered with posters and stills of a certain actor that I loved, so Terin's mooning over F'jian could be considered the Pernese equivalent.

But when that grown man - in this case, F'jian - returns that crush, and is deeply in love with that thirteen year old girl, and is never happier than when in bed and having sex with her (and admittedly vice versa; Terin doesn't exactly fight him off) that's when I start having serious problems. Admittedly Anne also did one or two things I didn't like (F'nor carrying a frightened Brekke into the bushes and forcing himself on her to prove that sex isn't all that bad is a case in point) but her characters and storytelling were both powerful enough to carry it through.

The story itself is monotonous and repetitive. I can't even remember the basic thread except that Xhinna Impresses a blue...or was that in the last book?

Anyway, this one is something about a plague and a LOT of timing it (thought not many people were supposed to know about it) and a recycled story not just from his own work, but his mother's. Think about it; something similar happened before, when F'nor took the weyrlings back in time to train them up to fight Thread. Oh yes, and at one point towards the end Lorana and T'mar perform CPR on an unconscious Fiona. I wasn't aware Pernese dragonriders even knew such a thing was possible, much less how to perform it. (Well, in fairness, they do get it hopelessly wrong...quite how it works at all is a mystery).

So, plagues, too much timing it, same old, same old, with a new pedophiliac subplot involving a grown man and his oh-so-willing thirteen year old lover. If you want to read that sort of thing, knock yourself out.

No, really. Knock yourself out. Unconsciousness would be preferable to this drivel. Anne, for all our sakes, either take Pern away from your son or teach him to play nicely with it.
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