From School Library Journal
YA-Set just prior to Dragonflight, Masterharper details the life, loves, and heartbreaks of Robinton, Pern's most beloved harper. Readers follow him through a childhood filled with rejection and neglect by his Mastercomposer father, the loss of his wife, the death of his best friend, to his becoming Masterharper of Pern. This is McCaffrey at her best, combining excellent writing with vivid settings and detailed, fully fleshed-out characters. The book would be best read after Dragonflight (1986) and Dragonquest (1979, both Ballantine), but can stand alone.John Lawson, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
McCaffrey's latest rummage through the archives of planet Pern (Dragonseye, 1997, etc.) has unearthed Robinton, the Masterharper of Pern, and the circumstances surrounding the advent of weyrleader F'lar and Lessa, the first woman Dragonrider. It's a time when no Thread has fallen for centuries (it's due in 50 years or so), and five of the six weyrs stand inexplicably empty of Dragons and Riders. Young Rob, rejected by his father, is a musical prodigy and has the ability to speak telepathically with dragons. As Rob's musical and diplomatic skills grow, he becomes friendly with Dragonrider F'lon and also earns the enmity of Fax, a holder who refuses to allow his people to be educated (the traditional role of the Harpers). Rob marries, but his wife dies of a fever; F'lon's wife dies in childbirth; Fax, meanwhile, by force and trickery dominates the north and threatens the very basis of Pern society. Then, after F'lon is killed in a contrived duel, Fax invades Ruatha Hold, and now Rob must enlist the aid of F'lon's son F'lar to defeat Fax. Covers well-trodden ground in more detail than hitherto; presumably, most dragonfans will find it satisfying enough. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.