It’s that time again… another DIK Reading Challenge review that snuck up on me! This time, I’m reviewing The Dragonriders of Pern. Which I’m taking to mean the first three books, and not all of Anne McCaffrey’s Pern oeuvre — because I’ve read ‘em, I just don’t want to review them all here and now!

The three books I’m including are Dragonflight, Dragonquest and The White Dragon. Dragons and riders protected Pern from a deadly invasion from the skies: Thread. At the beginning of Dragonflight, it’s been 400 years since the last incursion, and not only have dragons and their riders become indolent and lazy, but the people of Pern are beginning to wonder why they should continue to support the riders with tithes if Thread is no longer a threat.

One rider, F’lar, is convinced Thread is poised to return and intends to rebuild the Weyr to fighting strength…. Assuming he can find the right candidate for the queen dragon egg about to hatch.

The trilogy tells the story of F’lar and Lessa (the new queen rider) and their struggles, both within the Weyr and without, to build up a force to protect Pern, as well as develop other ways to effectively deal with the threat.

The world building is stupendous, the characters are incredibly realistic and the telepathic bond between dragon and rider fulfills, I think, most everyone’s fantasy to have an unequivocally loyal friend who always has your best interests at heart. The whole being able to fly on the back of a fire-breathing, intelligent dragon is pretty cool, too. In many ways, Pern brings to mind all the fantasy and romance of the age of chivalry, with the dragon riders as knights (but with a little more equality between the sexes).

I’ve read these books several times over and my copies are falling apart – testament to how much I love them. I don’t even think I read them until close to twenty years after the first one was published, yet I maintain that Anne McCaffrey created one of the best fantasy/sci-fi worlds out there, and filled it with timeless, compelling and emotional stories. I would recommend The Dragonriders of Pern to anyone.