Friday, November 16, 2012

Book Review: Sky Dragons

Sky Dragons, By Anne McCaffrey and Todd McCaffrey

I have been reading Anne McCaffrey's books about Pern since I was in Junior High (egads--that's a long writing career.  Never mind.), and knowing this was her last book, I really wanted to love it.

Alas, while I didn't hate it, I can't say I loved Sky Dragons, either.  Let's start with some clarity about some things: this was a collaboration with Anne McCaffrey's son, Todd McCaffrey, and it felt like his voice more than hers.  Unfortunately, I haven't cared that much for his treatment of Pern--his stories have a grittier edge, which some may like, and are more sexually explicit (there has always been a certain sexual element, brought on by the relationship between dragons and riders, and I need not say more), which isn't really what I go to Pern for. There was less physical drama (flying Thread, etc.) and more interpersonal drama.

It has been a couple of years since I read the preceding book, and the authors depended a little too much, especially in the opening chapters, on readers knowing the set-up.  This left me a bit at sea in the start, which isn't a good way to get buy-in.  I gradually picked up most of what I needed, but still felt like the series (I think it's four or five books set in one time period) needs to be read in a block.

I'm having trouble putting a finger on the problem, but the writing just didn't seem as polished as I'd hoped, the story as coherent (a couple of characters with very similar names didn't help--I kept having to check to see which was which).  I finished the book, and enjoyed it well enough--but it's a long way from the best of the Pern novels.

Two point five stars.

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