* On My Bookshelf * · 52 Books 52 Weeks · Grade: A · Reviews

52 Books 2014: Week 36

I skimmed the first few chapters of Dragonsong (Harper Hall Trilogy, Book #1) before finishing that book and then reading the rest of the Harper Hall trilogy, which is why I am not reviewing Dragonsong. I’d feel guilty including it in my list of 52 Books In 52 Weeks since it’s a short book to begin with and I didn’t read the whole thing.

Dragonsinger (Harper Hall Trilogy, Book #2)
by Anne McCaffrey
(fantasy, YA)

This is the second book of the Harper Hall trilogy, and possibly my favorite of the three. I love the antics the harpers get into, and watching Menolly develop as a character. Now that I know so many theatre people, it’s taken on another level of enjoyment, since I can recognize bits of the theatrical personality types in many of the characters. Very fun.

I also greatly enjoy reading the events of the main Dragonriders of Pern trilogy happen from another point of view. I feel these books are best read all at the same time to get the best enjoyment out of each of them. (This is probably one reason why I have a hard time reading just one of the Pern books. There’s so much more depth to the story when you read them ALL TOGETHER.)

One thing I didn’t notice while reading these books as a teen was how they really are geared toward teens. The main characters are all younger people, and they have many of the concerns that young people have. Fitting in, making a place for yourself, figuring out what you want to do in life… all things that I was dealing with when I initially read these books. They are still enjoyable for adults, though. I used to complain when I saw them put in with YA books, but now I completely agree. It’s not that they have no hard subjects, but that they approach these hard subjects from a teen’s perspective. And they manage to do that without talking down to anyone, which is a mark of McCaffrey’s talent in my book.

Dragondrums (Harper Hall Trilogy, Book #3)
by Anne McCaffrey
(fantasy, YA)

I have very mixed feelings about this final book in the Harper Hall trilogy. On the one hand, I love (as with the prior books) seeing the events in the series as a whole playing out through the eyes of harpers. On the other, I have never connected all that well with Piemur. Maybe because I was a young girl when I read it for the first time, and hadn’t yet learned to connect with characters who were boys. Maybe because I always tried (at least then) to follow the rules, and Piemur blatantly does not. But for whatever reason, it never resonated as well as the prior two books. (Looking back now, having re-read it, I think it may also have something to do with the fact that the other two books in this trilogy spend very little time with someone other than Menolly as the focus character. Dragondrums, on the other hand, spends large chunks of time following one of the other harpers instead of Piemur.)

I think my favorite aspect of this book is that it does nicely tie up the loose ends in the Dragonriders of Pern trilogy, and introduces a few new characters that we meet in The White Dragon. It also nicely closes out the Harper Hall plotlines, and finished Menolly’s growth arc. But it still is not my favorite of the Pern books. (Which one IS my favorite is often up for debate, but The White Dragon and All The Weyrs of Pern are up there.) I do still enjoy reading it, and I’d be curious to see how I reacted to it if I’d read it for the first time when I was older. But if I were to manage to pick up just *one* of the Pern books to read without also finishing the rest of the series, I doubt this would be it.

Side note: I noticed in the author notes that Anne McCaffrey mentioned she could knit an Arran sweater in ten days. While I am jealous of the impressive list of novels she has written, I think I am nearly as jealous that she could knit such an intricate sweater in just ten days. It seems unreal. And yet, I love seeing the peek into her life. It humanizes her to see that she had other hobbies.


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