HOW CAN ONE GIRL SAVE AN ENTIRE WORLD To the nobles who live in Benden Weyr, Lessa is nothing but a ragged kitchen girl For most of her life she has survived by serving those who betrayed her father and took over his lands Now the time has come for Lessa to shed her disguise and take back her stolen birthright But everything changes when she meets a queen dragon The bond they share will be deep and last forever It will protect them when, for the first time in centuries, Lessa s world is threatened by Thread, an evil substance that falls like rain and destroys everything it touches Dragons and their Riders once protected the planet from Thread, but there are very few of them left these days Now brave Lessa must risk her life, and the life of her beloved dragon, to save her beautiful world It s been ages since I read Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey It was my first introduction to her writing andspecifically her world of Pern with its blend of fantasy and sci fi everything looks fantasy but is explained thanks to the ubiquitous prologues across the series as science fiction I rarely re read books, but felt like going back to something familiar and so thought I d give Dragonflight a try to see how it has aged in the intervening years.The first thing that strikes a moder It s been ages since I read Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey It was my first introduction to her writing andspecifically her world of Pern with its blend of fantasy and sci fi everything looks fantasy but is explained thanks to the ubiquitous prologues across the series as science fiction I rarely re read books, but felt like going back to something familiar and so thought I d give Dragonflight a try to see how it has aged in the intervening years.The first thing that strikes a modern reader is how remarkably gendered everything is in that world Women and men serve very different roles, which sometimes feels so off as to be grating This didn t surprise me since, even as a teenager, I remembered finding Dragonflight oddly sexist in ways that sometimes felt out of step even with the world as presented in the pages of the book What I noticed this time was that it was a bit funny how even the dragons get this treatment gold dragons are vital, matronly forces whose primary function and source of pride is producing large quantities of eggs Green dragons arewell, kind of promiscuous for the hell of it.The women in the books tend towards similar descriptions, either being consumed with the idea of maternal duty or with sleeping with as many dragonriders as possible There are plenty of exceptions, of course, otherwise the book would descend into self satire, but the trend feels so consistent as to sometimes make it hard to distinguish between one secondary character and another More troubling, of course, is the constant shaking of women, the use of physically dominant actions even as modes of affection, and the unclear way in which consent is understood within the world.I ll dispense with this part of the review quickly, since I lack any useful training or qualification for delivering much of an analysis other than, Geez, it sure seems kinda sexist a lot of the time I do find it kind of embarrassing to read online the far reaching justifications for the world of Pern, that so often seek to find some explanation for its preposterously gendered rules beyond the obvious one that Anne McCaffrey just happened to have views about gender that don t fit all that well in our contemporary world This always seems like the problem with call out culture, though if something is popular enough, rationales are constructed by which to grant the author a pass, even when it s the work itself and not the author that we should have the issues with.But why does that desire to preserve the sanctity of McCaffrey s books exist in the first place Because they re just really good stories The world of Pern, its peculiar dragons and dragonriders, the economics and politics and social conflicts that emerge from the threat of spores that periodically come from the sky, destroying everything in their path, makes for interesting reading even decades later It s worth noting that Dragonsong, McCaffrey s third book set in this world, remains my favourite children s book of all time and though I have nothing demographically in common with Menolly these days, I still have no difficulty seeing the world of Pern through her eyes and sharing in her adventures.It s also worth noting that even in Dragonflight, Lessa, the main character of the book, has loads of agency despite the highly gendered world she lives in I wouldn t go so far as to say she challenges those roles, but certainly she chooses to interpret them in her own way despite the resistance she gets from everyone around her.All of this confuses and conspires to make Dragonflight a mixed bag for me The quality of storytelling seems undeniable, and even the problematic aspects of the book are sometimes confounded by McCaffrey s own narrative choices At first I thought the sexist aspects were just my present, much older self reading with the voices of online outrage culture shouting in my head, but as the book went along I remembered that all these elements struck me as troubling even as a teenage boy.I suppose all that leaves to say is this Dragonflight is a good book, and one fantasy and sci fi fans who haven t yet journeyed to Pern for the first time are likely to enjoy, even as they may find themselves staring curiously at the pages, wondering why it was so damned important that women fit into such narrow roles I understand that this book and series has a lot of haters Their complaints are valid, but I still regard this as one of the best sci fi fantasies I ve ever read I started reading this series really young, and got so caught up in the whole OMG DRAGONS part of it that I didn t even realize until later that this book had sci fi elements, namely, that we are on a different freaking planet here It s a mishmash of several genres that worked surprisingly well.From the other reviews of the book I understand that this book and series has a lot of haters Their complaints are valid, but I still regard this as one of the best sci fi fantasies I ve ever read I started reading this series really young, and got so caught up in the whole OMG DRAGONS part of it that I didn t even realize until later that this book had sci fi elements, namely, that we are on a different freaking planet here It s a mishmash of several genres that worked surprisingly well.From the other reviews of the book I ve read, the main complaints about the book seems to be the fact that the leading male character is kind of an asshole, of the Jericho fucking Barrons sort Let me tell you that I hate Jericho fucking Barrons come ON, I have a fucking shelf named after him, for Christ s sake Yes, this book can be conveyed as being misogynistic, but I don t think that s fair to the main characters F lar is an asshole at times, but he needs to be tough and a leader I m not using that as an excuse, I m just saying that his character was not over the top, and he is not an asshole for the sake of being an asshole, unlike Jericho fucking Barrons.Keep in mind also that this book was published a long time ago 1968 You have to make reasonable accomodations for that and this book was pretty well advanced for its days Lessa, the main female character, may be a bitch at times, but taking into consideration her very difficult background, her behavior is perfectly fitting with her character.However dated it is, this book still has one of the most well thought out setting I ve ever read in fantasy and sci fi The dragons and how they came about, the societal structure, the culture, everything was well written and believable.No, this book is not perfect, but I adored this book and this series.Read this review andThe Book Eaters I m sorry in advance to everyone who grew up loving this book I promise you, I really tried to love it too What I liked our mc started out great She was strong, scrappy, sure she was impulsive and rude at times, but it all made sense for where she came from fast paced and easy to read plot generally fairly interesting ideasWhat I REALLY didn t like most of the characters are very shallow and really not well developed or layered at all the execution of the plot was also really shallow I m sorry in advance to everyone who grew up loving this book I promise you, I really tried to love it too What I liked our mc started out great She was strong, scrappy, sure she was impulsive and rude at times, but it all made sense for where she came from fast paced and easy to read plot generally fairly interesting ideasWhat I REALLY didn t like most of the characters are very shallow and really not well developed or layered at all the execution of the plot was also really shallow Sure, it was fast paced and easy to read, but also NOTHING WENT WRONG They regularly put themselves in dangerous situations but nothing ever went even slightly wrong Tension This author doesn t know her set up of the story removing this part because a couple people have mentioned thattime had passed between the attacks than I had thought I apologize for my mistake now lets get to what moved this from a low three star all the way down to a one the romance So due the way this world is set up dragon sex makes me horny is what it narrows down to , our mc is boarderline raped The man who does it even admits to itHe had not thought to control his dragon incided emotions, and Lessa s first sexual experience had been violent He had been a considerate and gentle bedmate ever since, but he would coax her into responding wholeheartedly to his lovemaking eventuallypage 104 So basically, she s taken away from her home, forced into the experience, sexually assaulted, and then ends up in this really abusive relationship and it s not just abusive because of the sexual assault the love interest Not only does he sexually assault her, but he also verbally abuses her, and physically assaults her He constantly degrades and insults her, SHAKES her regularly, and slaps her What a great guy our mc s arc Lessa s love interest really breaks a lot of her spirit in this book and she generally fears disappointing him because she knows he ll continue assaulting her Here s somefun quotes,Oh, F lar will be so angry with me He will shake me and shake me, He always shakes me when I disobey him He ll shake me, Lessa cried, like a little girland there s a lotlines like this I hear her character grows to be incredibly strong throughout the series I m glad to hear that because she deserves it MORE ROMANCE MADNESS Don t worry guys She grows to love her abuser So it s romantic.I know a lot of people grew up loving this book And I think if I had read it at a much younger age, I would have had a great time reading the fast and easy plot And a lot of this other stuff would have gone over my head But man, this is a book I m not passing on to my kids to read.Edit Obviously this review made a few people mad it s a well loved story so I get being defensive of it And I really don t mind people having differing opinions than I do But keep in mind that just because the book was written in 1968 doesn t mean it s depiction of a romantic relationship can t be viewed with a critical eye This whole review is a Spoiler so don t read it On the other hand, nothing interesting happens in the book anyway, so might as well save yourself the trouble of reading the actual book People of Pern What s that in the sky Is it a bird Is it a Plane Is it SUPERMAN Ugh, no It s those goddamned Dragonmen, trying to filch our resources Dragon People We are Dragonmen We will protect you from the evil threads Evil Threads People of Pern Sod off, there s no such thing.Lessa Aha The d This whole review is a Spoiler so don t read it On the other hand, nothing interesting happens in the book anyway, so might as well save yourself the trouble of reading the actual book People of Pern What s that in the sky Is it a bird Is it a Plane Is it SUPERMAN Ugh, no It s those goddamned Dragonmen, trying to filch our resources Dragon People We are Dragonmen We will protect you from the evil threads Evil Threads People of Pern Sod off, there s no such thing.Lessa Aha The dragonmen are here I will use them to regain my kingdom Wait, where are you taking me I don t want to be a dragonwoman I want to rule my kingdom Actually, scratch that On second thought, I want to be a dragonwoman Oh I love my dragon, her eyes are so beautiful, I want to get lost in themDragon Lessa I hate F lar I like F lar I hate F lar I ll have sex with F lar Only because his dragon chased mine and raped her Dragon sex makes me feel so kinky BUT I STILL HATE YOU F LAR YOU SON OF A BITCH F lar I m having sex with Lessa and she is the Weyrwoman, yet I will continue to call her girl because I m from the stone age.Time Travel is discovered Hooray.Evil Threads start falling.People of Pern Oh no Dragonmen, Dragonmen Save us The Evil Threads Exist Evil Threads Dragons F lar Ahahah I am so clever, I knew this would happen all along Ahahaha Now, if I could only get that Girl to love me Lessa Let s time travel and bringdragons Hooray I hate F lar I like F lar I m going to have somesex with himEnd of Book 1