Monday, September 11, 2006

Dragonsblood, by Todd McCaffrey

Dragonsblood, by Todd McCaffrey

Dragonsblood takes place in two time periods, one soon after the dragons were initially genetically engineered, and one five centuries later with a much lower technological base. If you’ve read any Pern stories, you won’t find much new here: a girl who can hear all dragons, a plague, a race against time for a cure, time-travel to find healthy dragons and riders, and recovered technology from the past saving the present. For Pern, though, familiar is comfortable.

There are two main story lines, with the narrative jumping back and forth between them. While this isn’t an uncommon technique, it isn’t handled all that well here. Secondary plots are started but vanish without a thought a chapter later. Characters are introduced only to be killed off before they have become anything more than a shallow caricature. The ending is ludicrous at best; marginally educated characters in a largely agrarian society find a trove of lost information and in a week are suddenly discussing advanced biology, comfortable using microscopes and computers, and genetically engineering a cure for a plague. All this leads me to believe that like his last book, this is a young adult book in trade dress. It isn’t going to hold the attention of an adult not already enamored with Pern, but I can easily see a younger audience eating it up.

First Sentence:
Four men stood in a knot around the Star Stones of Fort Weyr.

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