I am reviewing Dragonsinger as part of the Anne McCaffrey Reading Challenge which I am hosting here.
If you would like more information on the Challenge, check out my post here.
Each Pern novel can be read as a stand alone, but Dragonsinger is the second book in the Harper Hall trilogy so if you want to read the books in the order, head over here and check out my review of the first book of the trilogy, Dragonsong.
Dragonsinger starts where Dragonsong ends with Menolly finally accepted in Harper Hall, the school for harpers, with her nine fire lizards. After spending a lifetime in the remote Sea Hold with her family, she has, in a couple of weeks, Impressed nine fire lizards, met the incredible Lessa, seen a dragon hatching and rode on one.
When she starts her classes, Menolly has a hard time adjusting to people being nice to her and to people acknowledging her talent. She has alose issues finding friends among the girls because she is the only girl Apprentice (the other girls are just students and mainly think about which son of lord they would want to marry and pretty dresses). This book shows more and more of Menolly's personality and how she only lives for her music (and her fire lizards!) and how she has issues relating to other people and especially girls. Dragonsinger follows the main theme present in Dragonsong about gender inequality.
It's also the first time that Menolly meets strong near-parental figures in Masterharper Robinton and Silvina. They both are patient with her and don't try to restrain her from who she is and what she likes. Obviously, since Menolly has been used to a more strict education, she appears as a very sweet and modest girl, constantly afraid of doing the wrong thing.
I really loved the character of Piemur! He is a very cheeky young boy who befriends Menolly from the beginning and helps her get on with the life in Harper Hall. If there is anything silently whispered in the Hall, you'll be sure that Piemur has heard about it and already started spreading it. He also knows how to bargain and knows how to get what he wants which contrasts with his very young age and size.
Menolly meets several teachers who will refine her talent, and their classes seen through Menolly's eyes are fascinating to read. I really think that people who enjoy music should read this book just as much as people who love dragons and fantasy. We really get into the fire lizards singing along to Menolly and I can't imagine how impressive and beautiful it must be.
There are several new characters appearing in this book and I really loved their different personalities and the relations they have to each other.
With Anne McCaffrey, you start reading a book and you end up walking in Pern with your very own Impressed fire lizard on the shoulder and a (yet undiscovered) ability to sing. I love the power of her imagination, the quality of her writing and the importance of the themes she develops behind her stories.
Thanks to Transworld for the copy of the book!