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Dragon Harper (Pern: The Dragonriders of Pern) Mass Market Paperback – September 30, 2008


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As a terrible plague sweeps Pern, a brave Harper apprentice emerges as a true hero in this satisfying third collaboration between McCaffrey mère and fils (after 2006's Dragon's Fire). The danger this time is not the deadly Thread but a virulent disease, similar to our world's 1918 influenza epidemic or the more recent outbreaks of SARS. Kindan, a young apprentice of the Harpers' Guild who's dedicated to music, education and healing, had hoped to become a dragonrider, but failed to bond with a dragon at the last hatching. Then his education and budding romance with a lord's daughter are disrupted by the epidemic, which poses a particular threat to the dragons and dragonriders who will be needed to fight the approaching Thread. The McCaffreys depict the crisis vividly, with enough detail to make the tragedy all too real and with enough hope to keep fantasy fans happy. (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

In this sequel to Dragon’s Fire (2006), young Kindan is now a Harper Hall apprentice and proud owner of a fire lizard. Hall, Hold, and Weyr (three sections of Pernese society) are threatened by a deadly plague, and Kindan and his fellow apprentices are racing to find the cure before the Third Pass begins. In a smooth, clear reading that is somewhat lacking in intensity, Ericksen does not create distinct voices for each character. Series fans, however, will undoubtedly have no trouble identifying the principal players. Featuring a large cast of adolescent characters, this coming-of-age tale is suggested where earlier Pern titles by the McCaffreys (mother and son) are popular. --Jessica Moyer --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Pern: The Dragonriders of Pern
  • Mass Market Paperback: 370 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; Reprint edition (September 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345480317
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345480316
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,365 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

And each time, I get a little bummed out.
desert_gal
Dragon Harper was an excellent book, but then I am a Dragons of Pern fan as a Anne McCaffrey fan.
Mary E. Steadman
Too many characters with no development of why they are acting how they are acting.
QCLady

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

70 of 75 people found the following review helpful By B. Capossere TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
To be honest, I don't expect much when I pick up a Pern book anymore. These last few have ranged from middling at best (Dragonsblood) to nearly unreadable (Dragon's Fire). While the eternal optimist in me keeps me reading the series, the realist in me can't help but note just how long it's been since there's been a good book (I'm not asking for the glory of the great ones). Sadly, Dragon Harper doesn't break that streak. It's not as bad as Dragon's Fire, though that isn't saying much at all, and it's not quite as good as Dragonsblood, which also isn't saying much since that novel was mostly just adequate.
Time-wise, the book picks up just after the events of Dragon's Kin and Dragon's Fire. Harper apprentice Kindan is having a tough time at Harper Hall--he can't find something he's good at and he and his friends (Verilan and two girls--Nonala and Kelsa) are tormented by the requisite school bully Vaxoram. Kindan eventually challenges Vaxoram to a duel and Vaxoram becomes his servant and then friend. Soon after Kindan impresses a fire-lizard and at the hatching meets and falls in love with Koriana, daughter of Lord Holder Bemin of Fort Hold (who has Harper "issues" and is no way going to allow his daughter to hook up with one). Then we get the by-now-too familiar plague sweeping across Pern, killing nearly everyone. Kindan and his young friends frantically search the records to find a cure and then gradually take on even more duties as the adults begin to falter before the plague's onslaught.
Where does one start when detailing all the problems with the book? How about plot? The biggest problem has already been mentioned--we've seen it all before. The plague. The search through records. The sense of urgency. The exhausted survivors trying to save the others.
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47 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Doc Magick on December 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
OK, I accept that Anne McCaffrey has passed the Pern torch to her son, Todd. I even accept that Todd is passable as an author, though he lacks his mother's genious. But how many plagues will Pern suffer? Can't he come up with another plotline? There are fewer than two dozen characters in the storyline, and most of these flit into scenes without any development. His characters are inconsistent and the situation unbelievable. In a sudden, catastrophic plague, the Masterharper of Pern sets his most junior apprentices to searching the Archives for a cure. Not Healers. Not even Masters. Or Journeymen. And the basis for the search? Look for information about the last Plague. No symptoms of illness, no original source, no planet-wide gathering of Lords, Masters and Weyrleaders - almost all critical decisions are made by a pubescent Apprentice Harper! This premise is well outside bounds set previously in the series, and so absurd that "suspension of disbelief" is impossible. This is a cute enough story that should be in Youth Fiction, but not creditable or deep enough for anyone over the age of twelve to waste any time on this pathetic attempt to continue the Pern saga.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Aerin on December 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is the firsst of the collaborations between Anne McCaffrey and her son that i've read and my overall impression is disappointment! I adore the Pern series and have been reading them since they first came out but thisis definitely lower quality. In the first place, it is highly inconsistent with the body of the works:
1. If this is supposed to have happened before "Moreta's Ride",why is there no mention of this previous, major plague in that work; if it happens subsequent, why don't the people of Pern have the benefit of that previous experience.
2. Somewhere on Pern, there is a "Healer's Hall". Every other profession has a power base but healers don't? If they exist, as logically they must, where are they? Where is there the group of people trying to find a cure as in Moreta's day?
3. By all accounts, the ability to impress fire lizards is discovered in Lessa's day but here they are, all over the place. PLEASE do not tell me the records were lost! Weyr records were lost when most of the Weyrs of Pern went forward in time leaving their records untended. The rest of Pern, however, went on its merry way and the Harpers kept their records intact. Where are the teaching Sagas about this in Lessa's day?
4. Finally, since when are major tasks, like finding information about plagues, left to the bumbling efforts of adolescents, WITHOUT ANY SUPERVISION? Look at the original Pern books where many adolescents appear as major or minor characters but only under the direction and supervision of adults.

In addition, I find the total concentration on "superteen" Kindan a little lacking in the color and richness of Anne McCaffrey's solo works. Compare this with three novels in "Harper Hall of Pern" and you can see the difference.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By desert_gal on January 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
It's Pern, and so I had to borrow it from the library, and I will buy it at some time, because I simply must own the complete Pern library, in hardcover. :) But must say that I too am disappointed, for all the same reasons every other review mentions.

No more plagues! Enough already! It was great in Moreta and Nerilka's Story, but that's it. I appreciated what someone noted in a comment, that when Anne took a small piece of one book (such as ship-fish) and spun it off into another entire novel, there was genius at work. I for one would really, really like to see such moves again. Please. New things, not recycled old ideas again...and again....and again.

And I too agree that the very young apprentices (13-ish, I think?) were given far too much latitude in this story for their age, despite the fact that such a society would have much more mature youngsters than our own does. I missed the adult subtle nuances and interplays, the brilliant conversations and decisions and actions. The leadership of the young people truly was unbelievable, and that honestly made me sorrowful, because I felt so let down.

A few things that really intrigued me: I liked the mention of massage as a healing art, and crystals. I liked the pushing of "feminist" ideas, even if it was a little forced, as pointed out by another reviewer.

I love Pern. I've loved it since I was 12-years-old and read The White Dragon for the first time. This series had succored me, given my own imagination flight, and allowed me to delve back into it time and again with a sigh of pleasure and familiarity. So whenever a new Pern novel comes out, I am so hopeful, and I read it, because I just have to. And each time, I get a little bummed out.

Yes, it's still Pern.
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