Author: Anne McCaffrey
Age Rating: Pre-Teen (PT)
Series: Dragonsong is the first novel in the Harper Hall Trilogy, followed by Dragonsinger and Dragondrums.
The protagonist, Menolly, is a woman of musical talent on the planet Pern. Her talent is repressed, however, as music is a male-dominated field and is considered inappropriate for women on Pern. Menolly struggles through the death of her musical mentor Petiron, the care of fire lizards, and a personal injury.
McCaffrey's strong female protagonists are compelling, and Menolly is no exception, but the nature of the characters and the division of the sexes on Pern makes the story seem dull and heavy. The entire plot revolves around a single social perception of Pern that is continually refuted, and while this conflict might reflect many women's struggle for careers in the mid-twentieth century, the plot is predictable and lacks nuance.
The combination of science fiction and fantasy made the Pern novels popular, and Dragonsong could be entertaining for those who enjoyed the Dragon Riders of Pern series.