Monday, 9 September 2013

Reading: The Masterharper of Pern

This is my first time reading Anne McCaffrey, and I guess it's about what I expected. Epic fantasy isn't necessarily my first choice for leisure reading - and the ones I publish have to be truly outstandingly exceptional - still, she kept my interest to the end. In some ways it is an extended coming-of-age tale, from Robinton's birth to the prime of his authority.

Doused in music from the first page to the last, there are many other threads too. My musical learning is long past, but the way it's described here, the making of it, the building of instruments, the training of voices and hands, it almost makes me feel like I've done it in just that way.

Of course Pern is a gigantic storyworld and any one book can only skim the surface, or so it seems after my first go. This is certainly an accessible entry point, following the life of one man, his loves and tragedies, and his particular ability to hear dragonspeech.

I must interrupt myself to express surprise at the fact that the second book in this series, Dragonquest, although famous in its own right and extant since 1971, was shamelessly copied in title by a Christian YA book released in 2005. Not sure what that publisher thought they were doing - maybe they believed it would help sales? Or, more likely, that their target market had never heard - would never hear of the first Dragonquest. That's probable enough, sad though it is. Or even...did they not know of the other? In any case, I find it just a bit cheeky.

Anyway, back to this book - I found it worth reading for the sustained story threads that run throughout, for the deft depiction of humanity, and for some gems of words such as "bruited" and concepts of dragon bonding at hatching, and so on. Decent read.
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