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Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey
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5,37976811 (4.1)1 / 207
Authors:Anne McCaffrey
Info:Corgi (1980), Mass Market Paperback
Collections:Your library
Tags:Fantasy, Dragonriders of Pern, Harper Hall trilogy Book 1

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Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey


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Showing 1-5 of 74 (next | show all)
Menolly is a gifted harper (musician, essentially), but being a girl and belonging to what seems to be the equivalent to a backwater town on her world, she's bullied by her parents into giving up her dream. She resists, though, by running away, and in the process befriends some small dragon-like creatures in a way that she doesn't at the time realize is just short of miraculous.

One of those gawky-girl-who-doesn't-realize-she's-actually-really-amazing type stories. It's good, but not the best of its kind. I enjoyed it, but not enough to scramble for the next in the series. ( )
  electrascaife | Apr 9, 2017 |
Re-read of an old favorite. ( )
  theexiledlibrarian | Feb 7, 2017 |
Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey is the first book of the Harper Hall trilogy (along with Dragonsinger and Dragon Drums). I first read these and the original Dragonriders of Pern trilogy (Dragonflight, Dragonquest and The White Dragon) back when I was barely a teenager.

I loved all of them for many years, along with many other McCaffrey stories. It took me awhile to figure out that one of the things that I really enjoyed is that there is no religion in this fantasy setting, and no war or large-scale violence.

The Harper Hall trilogy are my favorites, and the only ones I am interested in keeping now. That's because they don't involve any sex, unlike the other early trilogy. It took me a long time to figure out that McCaffrey's portrayal of sex was deeply problematic: almost always involving at least one scene where the man makes sexual overtures, the woman says no, and the man goes ahead anyway. Sex without consent is by definition rape. Add in the particular twist of the telepathic bonds with dragons or fire lizards, such that when the dragons mate, the people linked to them have sex too, swept away by the sexual urges. Which is to say, the woman bonded to the gold queen dragon doesn't get to pick her sex partner and may not even know what the hell is happening if she didn't happen to grow up in a dragon weyr. But hey, that's just biology and associated social order.

The protagonist of Dragonsong is Menolly, the youngest daughter of the chief (Holder) of a small, isolated fishing village (seahold). She's 14 at the beginning of the first book, musically gifted, and bereft at the death of her mentor Petiron, the hold's harper. Her father reluctantly assigns her to teach the children until the new harper arrives so they don't fall behind on their lessons. However, she is to teach only the formal and traditional teaching songs. She is forbidden to make her own music because only boys can apprentice to learn a trade, including harpering.

Menolly becomes increasingly unhappy under the patriarchal and narrow restrictions of her family and village and runs away because possible death foraging alone and holdless is better than her increasingly intolerable home life. Adventures ensue as Menolly learns to survive and become self-sufficient. She isn't lonely though, when she discovers that the legendary fire lizards are real and become a part of her new life. Part of the story is told from the perspective of Elgion, the new harper, as he tries to find out what happened to Petiron's mysterious apprentice at the behest of the Masterharper. Their stories converge at the end for a happy resolution and shiny new future for Menolly.

This is a charming books featuring a strong female character coming of age and finding her strength and her friends. She deals with physical and emotional abuse, seeking food and shelter, social ostracism, prejudice, and overly narrow gender roles. But the story is hopeful and ultimately rewarding. I wanted to be Menolly when I read these books at her age. ( )
  justchris | Jan 22, 2017 |
I haven't devoured a book in a single session in a long time! I got swept away! ( )
  yonitdm | Jan 18, 2017 |
I seem to be reviewing these as I reread them.

By the time she wrote this one, McCaffrey seems to have had enough of a society that limits women. Menolly is born into that society but rejects it and by the end of the book is promised the life she always wanted.

The book concentrates more on the 'song' half of the title than the 'dragon' half. It takes the developments of Dragonflight and Dragonquest as given, and parts of the story will not make much sense to those who haven't read them. Those parts however, while important to the series, don't really matter to this book.
1 vote MarthaJeanne | Nov 12, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anne McCaffreyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Alkım, Barış EmreTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Darling, SallyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fairbrother-Roe, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Malczynski, ElizabethCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marcellino, FredCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morrill, RowenaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reß-Bohusch, BirgitTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rondeaux, EricTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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To Beth Blish who stands first in line for a dragon - behind me!
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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.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553258524, Mass Market Paperback)

Anne McCaffrey's best-selling Harper Hall Trilogy  is a wonder-filled classic of the  imagination. Dragonsong, the first volume in the  series, is the enchanting tale of how Menolly of  Half Circle Hold became Pern's first female Harper,  and rediscovered the legendary fire lizards who  helped to save her world.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:15 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

On the planet Pern, after her father forbids her to indulge in music in any way, fifteen-year-old Menolly, runs away and takes shelter with the planet's fire lizards who, along with her music, open a new life for her.

(summary from another edition)

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