As the cold weather begins to seep into my bones, I think it’s about time to head back and read an oldie-but-a-goodie: Anne McCaffrey’s “Dragonflight,” the first in her Dragonriders of Pern series.
A classic among science fiction and dragon lovers alike, “Dragonflight” takes place on the planet Pern — a planet hosting both humans and dragons. The towns that formerly paid respects to the dragonriders begin to ignore them once their lifelong enemies have basically vanished from the planet.
Lessa of Ruatha Hold has other problems, though, like getting back what is rightfully hers. Her Hold was taken over when she was just a child, but as the rightful heir, she plans on getting it back — even if it means destroying it.
But when the dragonriders come and offer Lessa the chance to be their Queen Rider, she takes it. Ruling over the entire planet is infinitely more appealing than ruling over her Hold alone — and when the dragons’ enemies come back, they’re going to need her.
Now, there’s infinitely more to the world of Pern than that simple explanation — it’s what makes McCaffrey’s world stand out among the many other dragon novels that have come and gone. It’s intricate and detailed while simultaneously being easy to understand. The telepathic dragons — each with a will of their own — would leave an impression on any reader.
On top of that, McCaffrey’s unique writing style is a force to be reckoned with.
But the strongest part of the book is Lessa herself. Though it is split between her point of view and that of another dragonrider, Lessa’s strengths seep through the entire novel. Her spirit can challenge the best of the modern day heroines. I think she and Katniss Everdeen would get along rather well, and Daenerys would adopt her as a sister in arms.
With that in mind, “Dragonflight” isn’t for those who don’t favor science fiction or fantasy to begin with. While it’s much loved, it’s far from light sci-fi.
If you want to delve into something with depth right away, I recommend it. But if you’re a first time science-fiction reader, I’d start with something lighter. Perhaps pick up McCaffrey’s Freedom series instead.