Thursday, March 10, 2005

Dragon’s Kin, by Anne McCaffrey and Todd McCaffrey

Dragon’s Kin, by Anne McCaffrey and Todd McCaffrey

I’ll admit it: I’ve been a fan of the Pern universe since coming across Dragonsong as a kid. At first glance this looks like a straight fantasy universe, but bits and pieces of a long lost high-tech society become recognizable as time goes on. We start with pure fantasy letting us soar with dragons, then slowly work our way to pure sci-fi showing us how the planet was originally colonized and the dragons were gene-engineered. This captured my imagination 25 years ago and to this day tales of alternate history and lost civilizations remain my favorites. Whenever I see a Pern book I haven’t read, I grab it!

This read more as a young-adult novel than some of the more recent Pern outings, but several of the early tales did as well so that isn’t a huge distraction. In fact, I seem to recall that the Harper Hall Trilogy was all YA targeted as well; I didn’t see any such markings on this book but it certainly fits the bill. We’ve seen a lot of the story in previous volumes: the race against time to prevent a disaster, the arrogant old-timer who threatens the hold (or mine in this case), the outcast who becomes the hero, and a rediscovery of forgotten lore (the watch-whers see in infrared). While I would have preferred a more original storyline, the Pern saga certainly isn’t devolving into the mess that other long-running titles sometimes do. (Think Robert B. Parker’s Spenser or Kinky Friedman’s ... well, Kinky; I love both of these characters but the later books in both series got harder and harder to read. Kinky at least realized this and killed himself off in his latest effort!) The repetition of old themes didn’t hurt my enjoyment, though, and I found the exploration of the abilities of watch-whers fairly interesting. I suspect that there will be a future companion tale that tells for what purpose the watch-whers were originally bred and engineered, and when it comes I’ll happily read it.

First Sentence:
Kindan was so excited that he practically bounced as he ran up to the heights where Camp Natalon kept its drum, fire beacon, and watch.

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