[Originally posted on Tumblr on 21. January 2013]
I finished this omnibus of three Dragonriders books: ‘Dragonflight’, ‘Dragonquest’ and ‘The White Dragon’.
I already saw some reviews about how Lessa is ‘such a Mary Sue’ in the first book. I want to complain about that. Lessa is a female character in a genre that obviously has mostly male heroes. The books were also published in a time in which male heroes were probably standard in Science Fiction. The author herself proclaimed often enough that the Pern books were Science Fiction. I’m no genre guru, so let’s say it’s SciFi with a tiny dash of Fantasy because of the dragons.
Back to Lessa: She doesn’t really know how she wants to do things until everything falls into place. In the book, F’lar tells her that dragon and rider are often alike. Less has amibitions, she’s strong headed. No surprise then that her dragon Ramoth is a huge beast that lays many awesome eggs. Or something like that. Sure, she does a lot of great things but for me she lacks the usual traits of a Mary Sue: Not everyone likes Lessa. As a matter of fact, even her later weyrmate F’lar seems to be sceptical of her at first.
The three books read like one big story but there’s one thing to it: The books have a lot of excess story. Don’t get me wrong, that’s not so bad. It’s actually interesting to get to know Pern better. Then again, it does nothing for the story. I guess you find this much excess only in older books. Nowadays most writing advice has shortening down books to the size of 75k to 100k or alike suggestions.
Then, there’s the threat of Thread. That’s sporse from a planet that comes too close to Pern every 200 years or so. Or does the fall of Thread last 200 years? I’m suddenly not so sure about that anymore. I can’t even grasp the concept of how a solar system can attract a ‘stray planet’, then again, these books are old and we’re talking about fiction here. Especially since you’d expect things like spores to burn when trying to get into Pern’s atmosphere. While I like the idea of people fighting an enemy that doesn’t even think the flaws of the story still get to me.
A thing I love though is the plot about re-discovering how ‘the ancient ones’ did things and their equipment. And so on. Unfortunately ‘The White Dragon’ finishes shortly after the characters discover a space ship. I wonder if there’s a book about that part so I’m still unsure about reading other Pern books.
Well, I liked the idea good enough and I liked the dragons and most of the characters, especially Jaxom and Ruth. I also liked Lessa in the first and second book. In the third book she was a little too … seasoned, if you know what I mean. (I’m not even sure what I mean myself.) She didn’t lose any edge though and that’s great. :)
About the dragons now: They are interesting. In case you didn’t know about how Paolini stole that one for Eragon - the dragons are linked to their riders. With their minds. It’s a very intimate bond. Not the kind you’d have with a pet or something (especially since that’s mostly one-sided). The dragons of Pern are intelligent beasts which love their riders dearly. So dearly that they suicide when their rider dies.
Cheers everyone! The garish purple cover of this book looks great on my bookshelf. :’D