13 January 2012

Dragonsong (Harper Hall, Book 1)

Anne McCaffrey

First line of Chapter 1: Almost as if the elements, too, mourned the death of the gentle old Harper, a southeaster blew for three days, locking even the burial barge in the safety of the Dock Cavern.

Like the third book in the Dragonriders trilogy, Dragonsong is focused on one character, Menolly, who also appeared in the first trilogy. Menolly is the daughter of Sea Holder Yanus and has lived at Half-Circle Sea Hold all her life. Yanus is a very no nonsense type, who expects every man, woman and child to do their duty to the sea hold. Menolly loves music, piping, singing, writing her own tunes. But girls are not supposed to be Harpers, so her parents do not encourage her interests.

Petiron, the Harper for Half-Circle Sea Hold, has passed away. While waiting for an opportunity to send news to the Harper Hall and for a replacement to arrive, Yanus grudgingly allows Menolly to take over the children's teachings. After all, someone has to continue that job, and Menolly is the only person capable of doing so.

Petiron had sent a couple of Menolly's original songs to Masterharper Robinton, but did not tell him her name or that she is a girl. An answer has come, but since Petiron is gone, the sealed envelope has been put up, to be opened by the new Harper when he arrives. Meanwhile, Menolly injures her hand while cutting up fish, and learns that she'll never be able to play her pipes again. When the new Harper arrives, Yanus insists that everyone allow him to believe that a fosterling boy took over the teaching, and has now returned to his own home.

This was a wonderful character study about young Menolly, as she copes with her injured hand and her feelings of being an outsider in her own home. It seems the more Ms. McCaffrey wrote about her planet of Pern, the more she began to emphasize the characters, letting us really get to know them and become vested in their stories. I'm quite eager to start the second book in the trilogy.

And I very much would like a fire lizard!

(I received this book through BookCrossing.com.)

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