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Dragongirl (The Dragonriders of Pern) by Todd J. McCaffrey
Cover Artist: Les Edwards
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Del Rey Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780345491169
Date: 27 July 2010 List Price $26.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

This is not your motherís or Toddís motherís Pern. Things have come a long ways since the Dragonflight launched a beloved sensation. The latest entrant in the series returns to the third pass. Kindrin, Lorana, and Fiona are back. Fiona is growing up, in ways you might not expect. In truth, parents should read this novel and decide if the relationships portrayed within are acceptable. The polyamorous love triangles that are at the core of this story may be found offensive by some readers or their parents.

The story begins with dragons still suffering from the plague. Fiona returns from Ingen Weyr with the injured Fort Weyr riders to help with the next threadfall. Even with their return, the situation on Pern is dire. There are not enough dragons to fly thread. A disastrous choice decimates Telgar Weyrís and makes the situation worse. As one of the few available Gold Queen riders available, Fiona volunteers to help at Telgar. It doesnít hurt that she will regain some of the freedom that she enjoyed at Ingen. The main thrust of the story is how the weyr leaders plan to overcome the shortage of dragons. This was the best part of the story, working to overcome the long odds.

The other part of the story was the interpersonal relationships between Fiona and the others. Scarred by her youth during the plague that recently reduced the human population, Fiona has difficulty being alone. Her need for other people causes her to have deep feelings for those around her. Throwing things into a bigger mess is her attraction to Kindin and Lorana. Their relationships become complicated because of Tímarís dragon, Talenth. The complication is that Tímar was in a coma and Kindin and Lorana are controlling his bronze. This leads to love declarations all around that seemed a little out of place.

I only recommend this novel for current fans of Pern. I was not overwhelmed by Dragongirl. I felt that the love polygon took away from what should have been the only story, overcoming thread with a reduced dragon population. The discussions of the critical mass of dragons needed to fly thread and protect Pern were very good. That is what makes the rest disappointing. Gold riders are not promiscuous, that role is for the green riders.

Since Anne will be working with Todd a future entrant into this series, it will be interesting to see if she can bring the arc closer to her original vision of Pern. A part of me hopes that she takes him out behind the woodshed to discuss what is appropriate for her younger fans. I understand that he has to make the series his too, but I have heard many fans complain about the changes and reimagining that has occurred.

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