Book Review: The two McCaffrey, and dragons in the sky

Sky Dragons by Anne McCaffrey and Todd McCaffrey

If I have a soft spot for a series, it’s the Dragonriders of Pern. After Tamora Pierce’s Alanna series in middle school, the Pern books were my first foray into Fantasy cum Science Fiction. Somewhere along the road, though, my attention drifted. McCaffrey began co-writing the books with her son, Todd McCaffrey, and I started seeing other novels. But when I saw the cover of Sky Dragons this June, I couldn’t resist. Sky Dragons is also the last Pern book written by the late Anne McCaffrey.

So. Eight books have gone by since I stopped reading. A lot has gone down. Dragonrider politics is a-broiling, time travel is glitchy, and there just aren’t enough dragons to keep the planet safe from the deadly falling space parasite called Thread. So the dragon riders jump back in time to the southern continent to raise dragon hatchlings so they can grow up in time to battle the deadly Thread when it begins to fall.

What should have been a simple and fool-proof plan becomes a Lost-style (well, not quite) struggle for survival. Xhinna, a rare female rider of a blue dragon is shoved into the role of leader, against all tradition. Supplies are running out.

The predatory creatures from the wilds are going after the eggs. It is no longer a question of training the next generation of dragonriders – the very survival of the new settlement  is at stake.

Now storywise, the McCaffreys deliver the character angst and drama that first got me hooked on her books. However, one canary got lost trying to navigate some of the character personalities and a few rather strange personality turn-abouts that were never quite explained. The second canary got knocked off the perch when more than a few conflicts were solved by one girl’s ability to see the future. And so, the real action and drama comes not so much from the plot, but rather from the way characters react to the events.

Because this book is the latest chapter in the 22-book saga that is the dragonriders of Pern, it’s not a good dive-in point for Pern newbies. After my rather long break from the series, many of the more recent names and event references went whooshing over my head. But despite the fact that I’ve been out of the Pern loop for the last few (many) books, I still found myself enjoying the ride.


Complimentary copy courtesy of
Netgalley and Del Rey.


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