Sky Dragons by Anne MacCaffrey and Todd MacCaffrey
Publisher: Random House
Length: 368 pages
Rating: 4 stars
From the New York Times bestselling mother-and-son team of Anne McCaffrey and Todd McCaffrey comes the final installment in the riveting Pern saga that began with Todd’s solo novel, Dragonsblood. Now, with all of Pern imperiled by the aftereffects of a plague that killed scores of dragons and left the planet helpless against the fall of deadly Thread, the only hope for the future lies in the past.
There, on an unexplored island, a group of dragonriders led by Xhinna, a brave young woman who rides the blue dragon Tazith, must battle lethal Merows and voracious tunnel-snakes to build a safe home for themselves and the dragons, whose offspring will one day—if they survive—replenish Pern’s decimated dragon population. But as the first female rider of a blue dragon, and the first female Weyrleader in the history of Pern, Xhinna faces an uphill battle in winning the respect and loyalty of her peers . . . especially after an unforeseen tragedy leaves the struggling colony reeling from a shattering loss.
Amid the grieving, one girl, Jirana, blessed—or cursed—with the ability to foresee potential futures, will help Xhinna find a way forward. The answer lies in time . . . or, rather, in timing it: the awesome ability of the dragons to travel through time itself. But that power comes with risks, and by venturing further into the past, Xhinna may be jeopardizing the very future she has sworn to save.
Sky Dragons is the latest installment in the Pern Series and the last book which will feel the touch of Anne MacCaffrey herself. It's thrilling as a reader and lover of the Pern series that this latest and last book by her is as wonderful and thrilling as the first. The Pern series does need to be read in order because there are elements, which are developed and explained in early books and may leave readers confused, if they're picking up Sky Dragons for the first time.
Sky Dragons revolves around the first female blue dragon rider and a small group of dragon riders and potential dragon riders who travel back in time with the hopes of breeding enough dragons to help repopulate the Weyrs in their own time. They establish Sky Weyr after an attack and some are stuck in a time drama which leaves the young blue rider Xhinna, as the oldest dragon rider in the group and therefore Weyrleader, the first female to ever take the position. She must see to the youngsters both human and dragon as she tries to save them from vicious predators. She becomes the leader of a wing of Queen dragons. Throw in some fancy flying and daring unprecedented ideas and you have a wonderful story that brings adventure, romance, danger, and drama all together in a smooth and delightful mix.
While I enjoyed this story it wasn't quite as enjoyable as some of her other works. There were a few areas of confusion where even I was wondering what was going on. They were quickly sorted out when it became apparent that as the dragons were moving back and forth through time so was the story and there were time leaps to allow maturing of the characters. Also a heads-up: a lesbian relationship figures prominently in the story, so if that's something which offends you, you may choose not to read this book.
Overall, the book was well written, as delightful as the first in the Pern series and made me a bit melancholy because it will be the last of these special books from an amazing author. It's a book that has joined my collection and I encourage anyone to pick up and read Sky Dragons by Anne and Todd MacCaffrey.