Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Book Review: Dragonsblood by Todd McCaffrey

Author: Todd McCaffrey
Series: Dragon Riders of Pern (Book 8)
Publication: Del Rey (January 25, 2005)

Description: In Dragon’s Kin, bestselling author Anne McCaffrey did the unthinkable: for the first time ever, she invited another writer to join her in the skies of her most famous fictional creation. That writer was her son, Todd McCaffrey. Together, they penned a triumphant new chapter in the annals of the extraordinarily popular Dragonriders of Pern. Now, for the first time, Todd McCaffrey flies alone. And Dragonsblood is proof that the future of Pern is in good hands. After all, dragons are in his blood. . . .

Never in the dramatic history of Pern has there been a more dire emergency than that which faces the young dragonrider Lorana. A mysterious fatal illness is striking dragons. The epidemic is spreading like wildfire . . . and the next deadly cycle of Threadfall is only days away. Somehow, Lorana must find a cure before the dragons–including her own beloved Arith–succumb to the sickness, leaving Pern undefended.

The lyrics of an all-but-forgotten song seem to point toward an answer from nearly five hundred years in the past, when Kitti Ping and her daughter Wind Blossom bred the first dragons from their smaller cousins, the fire-lizards. No doubt the first colonists possessed the advanced technology to find the cure for which Lorana seeks, but over the centuries, that knowledge has been lost.
Or has it?

For in the distant past, an aged Wind Blossom worries that the germs that affect the fire-lizards may one day turn on larger prey–and unleash a plague that will destroy the dragons, Pern’s only defenders against Thread. But as her people struggle to survive, Wind Blossom has neither the time nor the resources to expend on a future that may never arrive–until suddenly she uncovers evidence that her worst fears will come true.

Now two brave women, separated by hundreds of years but joined by bonds transcending time, will become unknowing allies in a desperate race against sickness and Threadfall, with nothing less than the survival of all life on Pern at stake.

My Thoughts: This book weaves two stories and two time periods together. In 507, Thread is just beginning to fall but the dragons are getting sick. Lorana is the daughter of a herder and one of the population that survived a plague. She is a talented artist, a skilled healer, has impressed two fire lizards, and can speak to all dragons.

Lorana has set herself a goal of traveling around Pern and drawing pictures of all the life forms. To do this she boards a ship but has to escape it because the Captain wants more from her that her skills as a healer. After nearing death in a small boat in a storm, she sends her fire lizards away in hopes that they will survive. She is rescued by dragon riders and taken to Benden Weyr. Her skills let her impress a new queen at the latest hatching. But dragons are dying of some kind of disease. Lorana and Kindan are set to search the records that the Weyrs keep in hope of finding some information about this illness and some cure for it.

The other time period  that is woven into this story is the year 57 at the end of the first Threadfall. Wind Blossom is one of the original settlers of Pern and is a noted geneticist. However, she is seeing that the technology is breaking down and the settlers are focusing on growing their population and expanding their territories. It won't take much time for most of the information not needed for immediate survival is lost.

When a sick fire lizard - one of Lorana's - falls from the sky, Wind Blossom knows that the future of these genetically engineered dragons is in jeopardy. She has to come up with a cure and find some way to hide the knowledge so that it will be available in Lorana's time.

This is only the basics of the story. There is a jealous weyrwoman who resents Lorana's ability to talk to dragons and fears losing her power in the weyr. There are dragon riders in both time periods who are more focused on fighting thread now than in thinking ahead for the future. There is a romance.

All in all, this was a great story set in the world of Pern that shows a time that hadn't been explored before.

Favorite Quote:
What's a hatchling doing here? Lorana wondered. She shrank against the wall, trying to remain unseen, but the hatchling turned toward her.

I said I was hungry!

Lorana stopped dead, frozen in shock and fear, her breathing shallow, her eyes wide. It could not be. The dragonet couldn't be talking to her—it had to be her stomach.

Please, my wing hurts. the pitiful voice in her head was accompanied by a painful mewling that Lorana's ears heard.

Her instincts took over. She could never let an animal suffer. She rushed to the waddling dragonet and quickly untangled its baby clawed feet from its left wing tip.

"There, better?" Lorana asked out loud, oblivious to the crowd gathering around her, concentrating solely on this marvelous young gold dragon who had asked her for help.

Much, thank you, the dragonet replied, butting her head against Lorana's side. I am Arith.
I bought this book Sometime before February 2008. You can buy your copy here.

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