I Recommend… Anne McCaffrey and The Harper Hall Trilogy

Those that know me well are likely aware that I love dragons. I read books about the creatures somewhat obsessively, as well as watch shows including them and collect objects involving them.

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But of course, I love some dragon books more than others, just as I favor some authors above others. And since I’ve recently reread the book for what must be the third or fourth time, it seems only natural that I speak about The Harper Hall Trilogy and Anne McCaffrey. These aren’t all of the books that McCaffrey has written, certainly not all of the ones about dragons, but I continue to find myself pulled back to them, the first two in particular. They aren’t even exactly about dragons, to be truthful, but the creatures that dragons came from. The main focus is on the fire lizards. What all dragons would have remained if the humans of Pern had not genetically engineered them to grow bigger and fight off the deadly Thread that falls from the planet’s Red Star on occasion. But these mini dragons are just as interesting to me as their larger and more highly focused on counterparts.

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My copy of the first book in the series is proof to that, as it has become largely mangled and torn from various rereadings as well as its age (it was published in 1976).

So why do I like it so much? The short answer would have to be the main character. Her name is Menolly and I love her. Menolly is a bit younger than most YA protagonists at fourteen, but this doesn’t stop her from being just as awesome as any of the more well known YA protagonists.

At the start of the novel Menolly lives with her family in the Sea Hold. This wouldn’t be much of a cause for trouble for most, but Yanus, Menolly’s father, makes everyone work with the fish and do other sea related chores, and sees music as pointless at best. Menolly prospers even among these conditions, and manages to leave the hold and Impress nine fire lizards. Basically I find her very impressive, especially since practically everyone in her original home is prejudiced against girls. I’ll leave it at that, so that anyone who wants to read Dragonsong can discover for themselves how she finds the lizards and survives without her hold. It really is amazing.

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