on 19 October 2010
Sadly, I have to agree with Mr Clarke. Unfortunately, Todd McCaffrey has not inherited his mother's imagination. This is a very pedestrian book which dwells far too much on the domestic details of the Weyr. The actual action could have been dealt with in a couple of chapters - if not less. The main character seems to spend half the book inviting the entire Weyr to sleep in her quarters, which I found somewhat odd.
When Anne McCaffrey was writing this series, each book covered a broad spectrum of well defined characters from all walks of life on Pern. To me, the difference between the books by the two authors is that Anne wrote about a world, Todd writes about one family in a small village.
I will probably buy the next book, but will wait for the paperback.
on 9 February 2011
I was lucky enough to first find Pern about 25 years ago, when it was solely written by Anne McCaffey who so obviously loved what she was writing. I am not sure if Todd is writing about Pern in tribute to his mother or for the money, but I can't believe he is doing it with the same love that Anne had for it.
His earlier stories are not too bad and you can sense Anne's guiding hand in them, however the last few without her have definatley lost the plot and Dragonsgirl is the worst of a mediocre bunch. My advise is if you are just starting reading about Pern, then start with Anne's books, Dragonsflight would be my reccomendation. If you are already a Pern fan, then grit your teeth and read this one in the knowledge that Dragons' Time, which is the sequel, is co-authored by Anne, and she may be able to save the day!!
Why didn't I like this book, well maybe I have been spoiled by Anne's books, but her books have very strong storylines which constantly evolve and progress, whilst the middle 60% - 70% of this book took a long time to go nowhere. Her characterisations make Todd McCaffreys efforts look like a childs ramblings, her key characters are strong, authorative intelligent people you could believe in as leaders, whilst Todds are half wits blundering around without a clue and being led around by a teenage brat. I am quite sure that Lessa or Moretta would have given Todd's Fiona a bloomin good telling off and sent her to her room like the sulky spoilt child she so obviously is!! The dragons of the earlier pern novels were also much more developed characters with a heavy focus on the bond they have with their riders. In Todd's books the dragons as characters are very much overlooked, and honestly pay far more attention to my cat than the riders appear to pay their "life" mates. As other reviewers have also mentioned, there has also been a worryingingly paedophilliac undercurrent in this book and its predecessor Dragonsheart, with a lot of the key characters - who are young girls between 11 and 17 years old - being involved at a very young age in sexual relationships and it made me very uncomfortable.
Will I read the next book in the series, yes because it is being co-authored by Anne, will I read any of Todd's solo efforts in the future, most emphatically no!!
on 17 August 2011
I have been reading Anne McCaffreys Pern novels for 30 years and although dubious decided to give Todd a try I quite enjoyed the first few books about Kindan and Nuella and DragonHarper but then what happened, the last three books are appalling, no proper character desciptions, much too much emphasis on sex especially with very young girls, the dragons are hardly mentioned and I don't know what happened to the plot if there was supposed to be one. I was profoundly disappointed and will not be buying any more Pern books by Todd. I am having to read the original ones by Anne to get the nasty taste out of my mouth.
If all life on the planet was about to die and the only way of saving it was suffering from a virulent plague, I imagine people would be at least a LITTLE worried. But apparently the people of Pern don't have that problem. Todd McCaffrey sets plenty of high stakes in "Dragongirl," the latest book in his mother's Pern series, but he ends up making it a mushy, sluggish mass of mediocrity.
Junior Weyrwoman Fiona and her dragon Talenth have returned from the past, where dragons and riders have been training, healing and generally preparing to blast out the Thread. Unfortunately there's STILL a plague that is killing the dragons -- like in every Todd McCaffrey book -- meaning that there aren't enough dragons to save Pern. Yes, again. The man is obsessed with plagues.
Then a tragic disaster hits, leaving countless dragons and riders dead. So Fiona immediately becomes the new Weyrwoman, and takes a position of authority in Telgar just as the plague hits her own dragon... which is very dramatic for about five minutes. Then Lorana and Kindan arrive at the hold, and a tepid love triangle suddenly becomes the centerpiece of the plot.
Todd McCaffrey's Pern books are an excellent illustration of why an author should just retire their bestselling series instead of handing them to someone else. "Dragongirl" has the bones of a brilliant fantasy novel, but those bones are almost buried under a few hundred pages of repetitive flab -- seriously, I felt like screaming every time somebody mentioned that Talenth was going to "rise."
McCaffrey's prose is tepidly mediocre and very stilted ("If you do this, you are no longer of Fort. For by standing by these riders, you stand for Telgar"), and his poetry is even worse. What little plot there is ends up being a string of repetitive crises that are half-forgotten after ten minutes -- he infects Talenth with the plague, has Fiona angst for a day or two, and then PRESTO! she's healed. It's like the man is terrified of any major plot developments.
The deadliest sin this book commits? No tension. No drama. No suspense. At all. EVER. McCaffrey packs the story with endless boring minutiae about life in the Telgar Weyr, usually about stuff that doesn't really matter. I honestly couldn't care less about Fiona's pottery experiences, Bekka's career goals, or what the proper funeral arrangements at Telgar are -- let alone the halfhearted romantic tension. Isn't Pern supposed to be in danger of annihilation?!
And it's pretty hard to care what happens to Fiona -- she's a tepid Mary Sue whom everybody just LOVES, even though she's bossy, stiff and insensitive. And while McCaffrey tries to convince us that she has a deep passionate love for Kindan, the two of them have as much chemistry as a math book -- as do Kindan and Lorana, and Fiona and that other guy whose name I've already forgotten. Even the riders and their dragons barely seem to notice each other.
There are some promising subplots and unique twists at times, but "Dragongirl" is basically a big dough mass of mediocrity. Time for this series to go between.
on 14 September 2010
This is the third Pern Novel by Todd McCaffrey who has taken over a money spinner from his Mother. As she has withdrawn from authorship so the quality of the stories has deteriorated. With this book ''Dragongirl I had to literally force myself to finish reading it. Instead of the custumary 2 nights for one of the original series it has taken 3 weeks of laboured reading and in the end the story went nowhere -- slowly. Incredible story line with endless repetition of minute detail just becomes boring and tedious. So far I have collected every book in the ''Pern'' series but no more,this is the last time I'll spend good money on such second rate writing about this world of Pern. Why is it that I somehow feel cheated?
on 16 August 2011
The story focuses so intensely on doom and gloom that I feel the title would have been more accurate as 'Dragondoom' or 'Dragondirge'. Has anyone figured out what or whom the title 'Dragongirl' refers to? Certainly there are far more young female characters than in any other book from the series but I for one cannot figure out who the titular 'Dragongirl' is. I had such high hopes we'd find out a lot about the mystery queen rider from the last book.
We are instead inflicted with an endless series of tragedy that soon fails to shock surprise or have any impact whatsoever as the author kills off most of the memorable characters introduced over the last two books. He has an awfully predictable habit of making something significant happen to a character and within a chapter, if not a paragraph, that character has been killed off.
There is also quite a focus on a rather orgiastic view of weyr life. We've been made subtly aware by Anne McCaffrey that relationships must be looser in a weyr due to draconic mating habits, but Tom seems to have taken this writ large and shoved it in our faces - a foursome during a mating flight, and the first lesbian blue/green pairing to name but two.
There are good things if you've cared over the last few books set in this timeline, but it does feel like a lot of filler with very little substance, I hope the next volume concludes the storyline in a satisfactory manner that covers the relationships, why thread suddenly is falling strangely [at the moment it just seems a useful plot device to kill off characters!], why the first riders coped from 18 riders but current riders can't cope with several hundred, and why no-one thought to go to Igen 'now' with the weyrlings and come back from the future when they are ready to join the fighting ranks. Finally, why did Lorana leave before her baby was born? Surely if she was jumping forward she could have waited for the baby to arrive & then jumped 'sacrificing' his childhood but not his life. Or is that just me? Not even sure why she had to jump forward at all, but that at least is sure to be covered by the next book.
I'm gonna borrow 'Dragon's Time' from the library, if its everything I hope I'll buy it after. If its everything I fear, I may cry. I love Pern. I enjoyed 'Dragonsblood', got involved with all the characters in 'Dragonheart', but am no longer holding my breath for any future volumes by Todd McCaffrey.
on 16 October 2012
Its not enough to just include dragons in a story to make it a good book about Pern. Most of the story is lengthy backstory that does not belong in the book, there is just way to much 'domesticity' of the Weyrs, lots of senseless flying about, little action, no dramatic finale or otherwise. There is very little development in the characters either, Fiona at the beginning of the very thick volume is exactly who you would expect and remains exactly the same. I found myself flicking through scenes and jumping ahead - something I would never do with a book that intrigues me.
I kept wanting the story to be more interesting, the characters to be better drawn, only to find myself waiting til the last page with a distinct feeling of disappointment and even after only two days I have forgotten most of the story already.
Conclusion: Unfortunately only for very dedicated fans of the series and if you have really nothing better to read.
on 20 May 2012
I started reading the Pern books in the early 80's when a friend gave me The White Dragon as a gift, knowing my love of all things Dragon. I was hooked and have read and re-read them ever since, with The White Dragon remaining my favourite summer read. I was delighted when Todd took over from his mother and felt there would be many new stories to add the the series. Sadly like many other lovers of the series I am profoundly disappointed. It is boring, his storytelling style is weak and lacks characterisation. Fiona, is no Lessa, Menolly, Brekke or the other characters I have come to love and care about in fact, I dislike her intensely. I did quite enjoy Todd's Dragonsblood but this one is just not up to the mark. Sorry,
on 21 July 2011
Like most of the others, I'm a long-term fan of the Pern books, and have bought them all. Like many of the others, I'm saddened by the way the series is going. "Not ANOTHER plague!" has been my main reaction, but I have to admit that making very young teenagers sexually active leaves me very uncomfortable - starting with the 13-year old running Igen during their trip into the past.....
Moreover, unless he's abandoning the story lines laid down in the earlier series, the biology is suspect. It was established long ago that the watchwhers were also engineered from the lizards, but the instant reaction to the disease was "get rid of the lizards" and yet nobody considered the position of the watchwhers, either in passing on the plague, or in being vulnerable to it. Yet again we have a "last gold on the planet" situation. If all of the watchwhers of Lessa's time descend from a single female, I'm amazed that they're as healthy as they seem to be.
Much as I hate to say it, maybe Mr McCafferey should develop his own universe, and let Pern fade into an honourable retirement if his mother is tired of it.
on 16 November 2011
This book goes on and on and yet never actually seems to get anywhere, which is a great shame as this story had a lot of potential. But instead of doing anything with it, the author seemed to treat major advents somewhat like bullet points. A few lines surrounded by tones of waffle. Too much everyday goings on and nowhere near enough story development.
And the main characters are now starting to great on the nerves. If Kindan wasn't angsting over that state of his love life, the two woman he is in love with one of whom is the sister of his dead first love. Then it was Lorana being wonderful and amazing while doing a great impression of a cardboard cut-out doormat. And as for Fiona, her name should be changed to Mary-Sue and we should just be done with it.
The side characters on the other hand seemed rather interesting, however we get to see so little of them it's hard to come to any really conclusions.