Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey

04 Dec


McCaffrey, Anne. Dragonflight. Ballantine,1968. 303 pages. ISBN 978-0-329-55237-4

Plot Summary:

Lessa is the sole survivor of the noble ruling family of Ruatha Hold. The rest of her family was killed by a cruel man named Fax, but she survived by disguising herself as a drudge, a menial servant. She made herself look dirty and unkempt, but she used her telepathic abilities to make herself appear older than she was, and she fooled everyone. She became great friends with a watch-wher, a cousin to the dragon, so they are somewhat telepathic and are usually used for guarding the castle. Lessa is trying to make Ruatha Hold unlivable, so that Fax will renounce it, by causing other Hold workers to do less work and become clumsy and inefficient. But on a Search for candidates to bond with a new queen dragon, Lessa is found by F’lar, wingleader at Benden Weyr and rider of bronze dragon Mnementh. F’lar recognizes Lessa for who she really is and defeats Fax in a single combat so that she can claim her birthright as Lord Holder of Ruatha Hold. Lessa gives the right to Fax’s newborn son instead and heads to Benden Weyr in hopes of impressing a queen dragon.

Critical Evaluation:

This is the first book of the original trilogy of the Dragonriders of Pern that McCaffrey wrote before expanding upon the story. McCaffrey intended this novel to be classified as science fiction, but it is viewed as fantasy as well quite often because of the existence of dragons on this world. Pern is a world unlike any other written in science fiction or fantasy novels. It is what Star Trek fans would call an M-Class world where it is habitable by humans, however, on Pern there is a deadly Thread fall that was unforeseen and makes the world dangerous and this creates the whole premise for the story. Most of the characters are bold, daring and adventurous. The dragons being able to talk in their master’s heads adds funny dialogues to the story. It is told in a narrative that moves from place to place and people to people so that you get the full scope of what is going on across Pern’s seven territories. McCaffrey has put a lot of social, economic, and religious views into the Dragonriders of Pern and she leaves the reader with a great deal to consider and debate about.

Reader’s Annotation:

She went from royalty to servant to Weyrwoman and co-leader of Benden Weyr all in a short span of time. What other great feats with Lessa partake in.


Anne Inez McCaffrey,  born1 April 1926  and passed way on 21 November 2011, was the second of three children born to Colonel George Herbert McCaffrey and Anne Dorothy McElroy. She had two borther, Hugh and Kevin. She went to Stuart Hall, a girls boarding school in Stauton Virginia, but she ended up graduated from Montclair High School. In 1947, she graduated from Radcliffe College cum laude with at degree in Slavonic languages and literature. In 1950, she married Horace Wright Johnson who passed away in 2009. He shared her interests in music, opera, and ballet. They had three children together,  Alec Anthony, born 1952, Todd, born 1956, and Georgeanne (“Gigi”, Georgeanne Kennedy), born 1959.

She is best known for her Dragonriders of Pern series. She has won the Hugo Award and Nebula Award. The White Dragon, part of the Pern series, was one of the first science fiction novels to make the New York Times best seller list. In 2005, the Science Fiction Writers of America named her the 22nd Grand Master. On June 17, 2006, the Science Fiction Hall of Fame inducted her. She used experiences from her own life to help inspire her work.


Science Fiction/Fantasy

Curriculum Ties:

Economy, government/politics, social structures

Booktalking Ideas:

Lessa just may get a second life.

Will she be the one to impress the queen dragon?

Reading Level/Interest Level:


Challenge Issues:


Why I included this book:

I just had to use an Anne McCaffrey book for this blog to honor her and her work.

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Posted by on December 4, 2011 in LIBR 265-10 Database Project/Blog


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