This is the first time I’ve read any of the Pern books by Todd McCaffrey and to be honest I was a hesitant to start it because of some reviews from fellow Pern lovers. I heard that basically his stuff was crap in comparison to Anne’s work and that I shouldn’t give him the time of day. I decided to read it and synthesize my own opinion of his work and I started with Dragon’s Blood.
I started out with the foreword which was written by Anne McCaffrey and after reading I felt a little better about reading a book about my beloved Pern by someone who wasn’t Anne. She basically said in the foreword that Todd was there for the whole process of creating Pern and she read and approved of this book. She also had two of her biggest fans read and approve of the book before it was allowed to be sent to a publisher. I felt a little sad after reading this because I still get feels when I think about Anne passing away.
So, I continued reading. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I think that Todd really captured the feel of Pern and he had all the facts right. The basic plot of the book is that there are two timelines occurring at the same time during the book and characters from both times lines are racing to create a cure for a virus that is infecting and killing dragons. It was nice to see some returning characters from early in the time line, and I liked that there were some new characters introduced. I’m always a little leery about new characters because I never think I will like them as much as the original characters. Fortunately, I feel in love with the characters in this book and I think it was Todd’s ability to write in a way to make the reader empathized with the characters.
One blaring difference between Pern books by Anne McCaffrey and Todd’s was that the overall tone was much darker. Dragon’s Blood was dark. Very dark. Much darker than even the plague themed books by Anne. I felt there was so much death in this book and it was all sudden. It was like, “La, la, la, oh look baby dragon, so cute, much love, omg dead baby dragon.” 😐 BAM. Here I was thinking the main heroine was going to be the next Lessa… nope. I’m currently half way through Dragon’s Fire by both Anne and Todd and I’m finding it very dark as well. Todd seems to have a thing about dead babies…
So, overall I did enjoy reading this book and I feel that Todd did Pern justice, even if his tone is much darker than Anne’s. Of course he will never totally replace Anne as the writer of Pern, but at least he’s giving it his best effort and open to taking feedback from the fans. I’ll continue to read his books and I think I will enjoy them more and more as I get used to all the darkness.