5 out of 5 stars.
I thought I’d bring back an old classic: Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonsong. It was one of the first novels I read in which I truly connected with the protagonist. I didn’t just sympathize or care about Menolly’s story, I understood it.
No, I didn’t live with dragons growing up. And no, my parents weren’t crazy sea-faring folk. But, I related to all the self-doubt, longings, and loneliness that Menolly endured. There’s a reason McCaffrey is known for her “lifetime contribution in writing for teens”, and this is one of those reasons.
Menolly is a young, gifted musician in a world where musicians (known as harpers) are almost always men. This world called Pern (you’ve probably heard of it since it’s one of the most famous fantasy worlds ever created) suffers from regular “attacks” by a horror known as Thread. One day, as Thread are falling, Menolly takes cover in a coastal cave.
In her cave, she discovers a clutch of fire-lizard eggs. They’re like cat-size dragons. As the eggs hatch, Menolly starts to care for the babies. But now she’s trapped in the cave, and she’s got to learn to survive — and care for the babies.
McCaffrey isn’t as famous as she is for no reason. Her books are amazing, and her world-building is unbeatable. Pern sang to my heart in a way that no other fictional world had or has. And, boy did I want to be a harper when I grew up! I read this book and then burned through the sequel Dragonsinger — a book I managed to love even more than the first.
If you’re a reader hoping to be transported to an amazing world with a tough heroine, this is the book for you. If you’re a writer hoping to learn the intimidating craft of world-building and subtle art of setting, then this is the book for you.
P.S. You may recall that McCaffrey was the author who actually responded to my teenage email. Yeah. She’s awesome.