reviewed Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey

Dragonflight (Paperback, 1978, Del Rey) 3 stars

There's one glaring issue I can't get over

3 stars

The good: it's an interesting world with interesting characters, it's reasonably paced & well written. The audiobook read by Dick Hill is terrific, he's a very good actor.

The neutral: it's kind of an odd idea to justify a high fantasy world with a science fiction premise. (Ursula K. Le Guin also did this with the early Hainish novels, particularly the first one, Rocannon's World.) The SF elements do enter more into the story as the book progresses, leading to a somewhat bizarre, but satisfying conclusion.

The bad: First of all I find it difficult to relate to nobility, which is unfortunate because nearly all the named characters in this story are some variety of noble. The whole plot of the book serves to justify the Dragonmen's rule over the Holds (themselves feudal). It's made obvious that (literal) draconic protection is necessary, but it surely could be achieved without Draconic leadership. But monarchy is, to some degree, in nearly every high fantasy novel, & I can't fault it too much for this.

& second of all, the issue I alluded to in the title of this review—Lessa and F'lar's relationship. They are said to have romantic feelings for each other by the end, but in my view F'lar is coercive & abusive just as much then as he is in the beginning. Lessa is afraid to anger him for fear of being violently shaken & yelled at. It's pretty gross & not a healthy relationship at all (though it is perhaps realistic to how royal partnerships were in real life). It's really a shame that it's like this because otherwise the book is pretty enjoyable. I don't know if I'll read more of these novels—I don't think I can if they continue to be Like This.