Saturday, January 21, 2012

Dragonseye - Anne McCaffrey

Anne McCaffrey
Del Rey
Copyright: 1997

The product description:
In Anne McCaffrey's New York Times bestselling DRAGONSEYE, join Weyrleaders, Holders, and Craftmasters in the creation of the legendary Star Stones and the teaching ballads of Pern!

It's been two-hundred years since the deadly Thread fell like rain upon Pern, devouring everything in its path. No one alive remembers that first horrific onslaught and no one believes in its return--except for the dragonriders. For two centuries they have been practicing and training, passing down from generation to generation the formidable Threadfighting techniques.

Now the ominous signs are appearing: the violent winter storms and volcanic eruptions that are said to herald the approach of the Red Star and its lethal spawn. But one stubborn Lord Holder, Chalkin of Bitra, refuses to believe--and that disbelief could spell disaster. So as the dragonriders desperately train to face a terrifying enemy, they and the other Lord Holders must find a way to deal with Chalkin--before history repeats itself and unleashes its virulence on all of Pern. . . .
Read for the All The Books of Pern challenge, putting me well over half way completed and not even a month into the year!

In terms of the evolution of Pern, Dragonseye is an interesting book. Although it's been over two hundred years since the colonists had landed, the remnants of their technology are still working: computers, etc mostly. But they're definitely failing. At the same time, all the signs are pointing to the imminence of the next Fall. But not everybody believes. So, there's two sets of struggle there - the struggle over what is needed for the future - what else they can discard as not relevant to their culture, and how to communicate it, and the struggle over what to do with Threadfall on the horizon.

It's also a multi-thread storyline, told from the perspectives of several different characters. My favourite is Debra, but there's also that of Iantine, an Artist (something I don't remember seeing anything more about in the later books - a lost Craft, maybe?), the various dragonriders, and the Teachers. Those I found interesting, especially as I was reading the Harper Hall trilogy before. In Dragonseye, you can see the first steps from the teachers to Harpers.

Sometimes though, I found the various perspectives a bit jarring. I wanted to know more of what was going on with the perspective I'd been following in the last chapter, not what the new perspective was following.

I did find the mix of "old" and "new" to be intriguing though. For example - names. Some of the names for the characters are still similar to or the same as the "Earth" names of today, but others are different, and clearly in the style of the later Pern culture. And also, the knowledge that you know is going to be lost later on, such as the grubs. I'm actually trying to remember about the cats - if they're still as much of a problem in the later books involving the Southern Continent.

Overall, this is a great book for the world of Pern, even though it's well over a decade old by now. It's really neat to see the origins of some of the things we take for granted in the later Pern novels. Dragonseye is definitely worth the read.

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