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Bestseller Anne McCaffrey (The Skies of Pern) collects four tales of Pern in A Gift of Dragons, including a new adventure written especially for this volume, "Ever the Twain." Tom Kidd's illustrations of cuddly dragons and their human companions add extra value. Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
A dragon-hatching at Ista Weyr provides twin brother and sister Neru and Nian with their first crisis of love and duty in "Ever the Twain," original to this illustrated collection of four Pern stories by McCaffrey. Also included are "The Smallest Dragonboy," about a young boy's fervent desire to bond with a baby dragon; the author's classic "The Girl Who Heard Dragons," the story of a girl with an unusual talent; and "Runner of Pern," a tale involving one of Pern's most important and least glamorous occupations. Tom Kidd's moody, atmospheric illustrations give a visual focus to these tales and help create a work of the imagination that belongs in most libraries. Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Anne McCaffrey, the Hugo Award-winning author of the bestselling Dragonriders of Pern® novels, is one of science fiction's most popular authors. With Elizabeth Ann Scarborough she co-authored Changelings and Maelstrom, Books One and Two of The Twins of Petaybee. McCaffrey lives in a house of her own design, Dragonhold-Underhill, in County Wicklow, Ireland.
A Gift of Dragons (2002) is a collection of four short works in the Pern series. Three of these works have been previously published and one is new to this book.
The Smallest Dragonboy (1973) is the story of a twelve year old boy who is the smallest candidate in his Searched group and cruelly treated by another older boy, yet perseveres in his efforts to impress a hatchling.
The Girl Who Heard Dragons (1994) is the story of a young holdless girl who can hear dragons talk to each other and, when her family is threatened, finds that she can also talk to them.
Runner of Pern (1999) is the story of a young women who is a runner, carrying written messages for long distance, who comes to Fort Hold at gather time with a score to settle with someone who ran her off the runner trace the night before.
Ever the Twain (2002) is the story of a pair of twins, one of whom desperately wants to become a dragonrider, but the other is selected to be a candidate at the next hatching.
These tales are about character, courage and perseverence and not one of them has an unhappy ending. Some will find them too sweet for their taste, especially together, but I enjoyed the uplift that they brought me.
Recommended for McCaffrey fans and anyone else who enjoys stories like O'Henry's The Gift of the Magi.
-Arthur W. Jordin
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This is a somewhat strange little book, and I'm not at all sure who the intended audience is. First of all, it is an anthology of four short stories, only one of which is being newly printed. Other than being set on the dragon planet of Pern, the stories have nothing in common, each standing quite apart from the others in its topic. Every page is adorned with a fanciful border, making for wide margins and short lines of type. There are also a few full-page illustrations here and there, endearing enough but sparse. Surprisingly, the book is also printed entirely in a sepia-toned ink (which I thought might be hard on the eyes but actually posed no problems or eye fatigue). Since only one-fourth of the content is newly published and because of the artwork and the unusual ink color, I simply cannot fathom for what audience the book is intended. Junior high school level, perhaps. The four stories are quite fun to read, especially if one hasn't read them recently in their original publications. However, especially with science fiction, I much prefer to become engrossed in the lengthy plot afforded by novel-length books. Short stories always end too soon, jerking the reader out of the fantasy and back into the mundance world of reality just as one is really getting into the story! Maybe this book is for readers with short attention spans, or maybe McCaffrey is tiring of creating new story lines for the residents of Pern, and this book is analogous to a StarTrek re-run. Overall, I prefer McCaffrey's earlier full-length novels about this planet and its wonderful, telepathic dragons.
A Gift of Dragons contains 4 short stories that take place on Pern. It includes: The Smallest Dragonboy - Keevan is the youngest dragon candidate and he is also the smallest. It is easy for other boys to pick on him and to make fun of his desire to become a dragonrider. But this only makes Keevan more determined then ever to impress a dragon and on his first time on the hatching grounds, too! But when a horrible accident leaves him alone in the hospital wing during hatching time, Keevan gives up hope that he will impress a dragon this year - or does he...? The Girl Who Heard Dragons - Aramina and her family are Holdless, but they are not vagabonds or shiftless people who were tossed out of their holds because they were too lazy. They were of Benden blood, forced to flee when Lord Fax killed all of their blood kin before he realized that Benden blood ran in Aramina's mother's veins. And, just like many others of the Benden lineage, Aramina can hear dragons and talk to them. She is careful to hide her skill, but Lady Holdless Thella found out somehow and is determined to use Aramina's talents for her own gain... The Runner of Pern - Tenna is a runner, just like everyone in her family and spends her time running up and down the trails of Pern, delivering messages. She is working hard to finish the stitches on her belt and no longer be an apprentice. But when a reckless driver forces Tenna off of the runner trace, where no horses and carts are supposed to be allowed, Tenna is injured and upset. She is determined to give this careless Halgion a good talking to... Ever the Twain - Neru has always dreamed of becoming a dragonrider, but his twin Nian is afraid of life without him.Read more ›
I call the first story a classic because, well, in the McCaffrey Universe in my head it is. In fact, the Littlest Dragonboy was _the_ story that got me reading Pern in the first place. I adore this story for that reason and others. To me, it encompasses all that Pern represents, justice, kindness and simplicity. It is that simplicity that draws me back to this long lived series time and time again. The second and third stories are beauties as well. The Girl Who Heard Dragons is one of my Mother's favorites. A sweet story with a predicitable, but still sweet ending. The Runner of Pern is wonderful because it explores a totally new aspect of our beloved Pern, with Ms. McCaffrey's characteristic, opposites- attract romance thrown in. A story that left me smiling like I had just seen an old friend. Finally, the last story in the book did not sit well with me at all. It was just too cozy and sweet. This may sound hypocritical of me, after all, K'van's story is awfully sweet too, I just couldn't really believe this one. (I won't spoil it for you, but it's extremely predictable) Maybe the horrible event that I have been dreading has happened. Perhaps like so many fantasy readers before me I have become disillusioned with the Dragonlady. Everyone told be the day would come, but I swore it would not happen to me. Ah, who knows? All I can do is cling to my fondness of The White Dragon and hope that I can hold out a little longer. Anyway, I say buy it, or at least check it out from the library and read the first three if you haven't already. As for the new one, which I am assuming most of you veterens of Pern are looking for in this book, I'd skip it and read any wannabe's story from one of the hundreds of fan weyrs on the web, it'll be the same thing.
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