McCaffrey - Book Reviews

***** - Excellent
**** - Good
*** - Okay
** - Bad
* - Terrible
+ - Half-star

The Ship Who Sang
(The Brain and Brawn Ship series, Book 1)
Anne McCaffrey
Baen
Fiction, Sci-Fi
*****

DESCRIPTION: In the future, children with major physical defects are modified starting at birth to become the brains behind some of humanity's most sophisticated machines. Enjoying enhanced senses, longer lives, and generally greater intelligence, they can look forward to becoming society's most valued members. Helva is one such person, who chose to become the brains of a starship. She's to be partnered with a "brawn," a human companion who acts as her hands and flesh-and-blood agent beyond the spaceports. But just because you're capable of interstellar travel and have a hull of reinforced metal doesn't mean you're not human at heart...

REVIEW: There's a reason this is a classic in the sci-fi community. A great concept with interesting characters, it almost reads more like a series of short stories than as one novel. I nearly docked it a point for a weak ending, but I'm feeling generous today.

You might also enjoy:
The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide (Douglas Adams, Fiction - Hapless Earthman Arthur Dent is saved by a hitchhiking alien friend before the planet's destruction, ending up on a prototype starship powered by the laws of improbability)
Kiln People (David Brin, Fiction - Society has been transformed by the ability to create living clay duplicates of oneself)
The Ender books (Orson Scott Card, YA? Fiction - Humans fight off alien invaders, then spread to find their own foothold among the stars)
The Star Riggers series (Jeffrey A. Carver, Fiction - "Riggers" navigate interstellar ships through hyperspace via lucid dreaming)
The Expanse series (James S. A. Corey, Fiction - Humanity's colonization of space is disrupted by a remarkable discovery and dangerous conspiracy)
Starflight (Melissa Landers, YA Fiction - Teen orphan Solara and spoiled son of privilege Doran become entangled with a peculiar starship crew in a cross-galaxy race against multiple enemies)
Trading in Danger (Elizabeth Moon, Fiction - A disgraced daughter of an interstellar trading dynasty finds herself in the middle of a brewing galactic war)
Cinder (Marissa Meyer, YA Fiction - A teen girl cyborg, hated by her stepmother and society, stumbles into a plot that might enslave the prince and destroy her world)
Ringworld (Larry Niven, Fiction - Two humans, a catlike k'zin warrior, and a strange "puppeteer" alien investigate a vast habitable ring discovered around a distant star)
The Android's Dream (John Scalzi, Fiction - After a diplomatic disaster, Earth's only hope for survival against an angered alien race lies in finding a rare breed of sheep as a peace offering)
Old Man's War (John Scalzi, Fiction - Retired people are recruited to fight humanity's interstellar wars)
The Leviathan trilogy (Scott Westerfield, YA Fiction - World War 1 in an alternate-history Earth involves great walking "Clanker" machinery and "Darwinist" fabricated animals)

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PartnerShip
(The Brain and Brawn Ship series, Book 2)
Anne McCaffrey and Margaret Ball
Baen
Fiction, Sci-Fi
***

DESCRIPTION: This is the story of Nancia, a brainship in service to the interstellar Courier Service of the Central Worlds. It's a top-notch position, but one she has fully earned. Unfortunately, she's about to discover that the challenges of the Service are paltry compared to the challenge of saving the galaxy.

REVIEW: This is very much like The Ship Who Sang, only not nearly as good. The story structure is almost identical to the first book, but lacking the interesting characters and situations. It hardly explores the concepts it presents at all, just giving us a retread of Helva's adventures with different names and places. Readable, but not very thought-provoking - and if sci-fi can't provoke thoughts, what can?

You might also enjoy:
The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide (Douglas Adams, Fiction - Hapless Earthman Arthur Dent is saved by a hitchhiking alien friend before the planet's destruction, ending up on a prototype starship powered by the laws of improbability)
Kiln People (David Brin, Fiction - Society has been transformed by the ability to create living clay duplicates of oneself)
The Ender books (Orson Scott Card, YA? Fiction - Humans fight off alien invaders, then spread to find their own foothold among the stars)
The Star Riggers series (Jeffrey A. Carver, Fiction - "Riggers" navigate interstellar ships through hyperspace via lucid dreaming)
The Expanse series (James S. A. Corey, Fiction - Humanity's colonization of space is disrupted by a remarkable discovery and dangerous conspiracy)
Starflight (Melissa Landers, YA Fiction - Teen orphan Solara and spoiled son of privilege Doran become entangled with a peculiar starship crew in a cross-galaxy race against multiple enemies)
Trading in Danger (Elizabeth Moon, Fiction - A disgraced daughter of an interstellar trading dynasty finds herself in the middle of a brewing galactic war)
Cinder (Marissa Meyer, YA Fiction - A teen girl cyborg, hated by her stepmother and society, stumbles into a plot that might enslave the prince and destroy her world)
Ringworld (Larry Niven, Fiction - Two humans, a catlike k'zin warrior, and a strange "puppeteer" alien investigate a vast habitable ring discovered around a distant star)
The Android's Dream (John Scalzi, Fiction - After a diplomatic disaster, Earth's only hope for survival against an angered alien race lies in finding a rare breed of sheep as a peace offering)
Old Man's War (John Scalzi, Fiction - Retired people are recruited to fight humanity's interstellar wars)
The Leviathan trilogy (Scott Westerfield, YA Fiction - World War 1 in an alternate-history Earth involves great walking "Clanker" machinery and "Darwinist" fabricated animals)

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The Ship Who Searched
(The Brain and Brawn Ship series, Book 3)
Anne McCaffrey and Mercedes Lackey
Baen
Fiction, Sci-Fi
***+

DESCRIPTION: The third tale of the brainships follows the child of a pair of archaeologists. Infected by an alien virus that leaves her paralyzed from the neck down, she becomes one of the oldest children ever entered into the brainship program. She has a will to win, and is determined to someday track down the enigmatic, presumably extinct race from which she contracted the disease to begin with.

REVIEW: I liked this better than the second book, and would've given it top marks if not for the fact that it, too, is virtually a carbon-copy of The Ship Who Sang. I could almost pinpoint which chapter what event would take place in before I got there. Still, the main character is different enough to make it interesting reading, even if the story arc is pretty much the same.

You might also enjoy:
The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide (Douglas Adams, Fiction - Hapless Earthman Arthur Dent is saved by a hitchhiking alien friend before the planet's destruction, ending up on a prototype starship powered by the laws of improbability)
Kiln People (David Brin, Fiction - Society has been transformed by the ability to create living clay duplicates of oneself)
The Ender books (Orson Scott Card, YA? Fiction - Humans fight off alien invaders, then spread to find their own foothold among the stars)
The Star Riggers series (Jeffrey A. Carver, Fiction - "Riggers" navigate interstellar ships through hyperspace via lucid dreaming)
The Expanse series (James S. A. Corey, Fiction - Humanity's colonization of space is disrupted by a remarkable discovery and dangerous conspiracy)
Starflight (Melissa Landers, YA Fiction - Teen orphan Solara and spoiled son of privilege Doran become entangled with a peculiar starship crew in a cross-galaxy race against multiple enemies)
Trading in Danger (Elizabeth Moon, Fiction - A disgraced daughter of an interstellar trading dynasty finds herself in the middle of a brewing galactic war)
Cinder (Marissa Meyer, YA Fiction - A teen girl cyborg, hated by her stepmother and society, stumbles into a plot that might enslave the prince and destroy her world)
Ringworld (Larry Niven, Fiction - Two humans, a catlike k'zin warrior, and a strange "puppeteer" alien investigate a vast habitable ring discovered around a distant star)
The Android's Dream (John Scalzi, Fiction - After a diplomatic disaster, Earth's only hope for survival against an angered alien race lies in finding a rare breed of sheep as a peace offering)
Old Man's War (John Scalzi, Fiction - Retired people are recruited to fight humanity's interstellar wars)
The Leviathan trilogy (Scott Westerfield, YA Fiction - World War 1 in an alternate-history Earth involves great walking "Clanker" machinery and "Darwinist" fabricated animals)

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A Diversity of Dragons
Anne McCaffrey (with Richard Woods)
HarperPrism
Fiction, Fantasy
***

DESCRIPTION: The author of the Dragonriders of Pern series, Anne McCaffrey is considered an expert on the literary dragon. One day, she receives a phone call from a man who, though evasive about his motives, seems desperate to learn all there is to know about the great reptilian beasts of legend. Between Anne and a local, eccentric dragon-lore expert named "Eppy" Tighe, the young man is about to get more of an education than he bargained for... and he may have something to teach them about dragons, in turn. This oversized volume features illustrations by noted fantasy artist John Howe.

REVIEW: If not for the illustrations, this book would have barely rated two stars. Even then, only the fact that I found it at less than half the original price spared it. McCaffrey has a reputation for considering herself God's gift to dragons, and this book seems to be her attempt to affirm that title. She does this by quoting - very extensively - from other people's books about dragons. From Jane Yolen to Melanie Rawn, McCaffrey gives us prolonged clips from someone else's visions as though claiming them, in some small way, as her own. The passages she selects are too long and too out of context to lend much to the so-called story. They serve mainly to highlight the fact that A Diversity of Dragons is an excuse to mention as many dragons as possible under McCaffrey's name. The book is at its most interesting when it deals with actual legends of dragons, but still the quotations and sidetracks run too long, and with too little point. Much like the narrative, this book comes off as two people competing to throw out the most dragon facts and stories before an overwhelmed third party (the reader), more caught up in bragging and lecturing than conveying actual information or providing interesting conversation. The illustrations aren't too bad, but John Howe has a limited style of drawing dragons, and the pictures often have little to do with the stories they claim to be associated with. Still, the images are a bigger selling point than most of the text. Frankly, I get more use out of this book as a hard surface to write on than as a reference for dragons.

You might also enjoy:
Tales of Great Dragons (J. K. Anderson, YA Fiction - An introduction to world dragon lore, with pictures to color
Dragon Art (Graeme Aymer, Nonfiction - A celebration of the dragon in modern fantasy art)
Jim Henson's The Storyteller: Dragons (Daniel Bayliss, et al., YA Graphic Novel - Four stories of dragons based on world folklore)
The Book of Dragons (Ciruelo, Fiction - Dragon lore and illustrations)
Dancing with Dragons (D. J. Conway, Nonfiction - Using dragons in magick)
Dragonlore (Ash "LeopardDancer" DeKirk, Nonfiction - Myths and traditions ancient and modern about dragons and their kin)
Dragons Composed (James Ferris, editor, Fiction - A dragon-themed anthology)
Dragons (Peter Hogarth with Val Clery, Nonfiction - An examination of dragons in myth and story around the world)
Forging Dragons (John Howe, Art - The artist discusses how to create dragons on paper and canvas)
The Great Book of Dragon Patterns (Lora S. Irish, Art - Basic dragon lore with many designs)
Tell Me a Dragon (Jackie Morris, YA Picture Book - Everyone has their own unique dragon)
The Book of Dragons (Edith Nesbit, YA Fiction - Original fairy tales about all manner of dragons)
The Dracopedia books (William O'Connor, Art - Imagining many varieties of dragon, and realizing them in art)
Dragons Love (Stephen Parlato, YA Picture Book - Dragons love many wondrous, imaginative things in the world)
Dragons - Truth, Myth, and Legend (David Passes, YA Nonfiction - Dragon lore and myths)
The Dragons are Singing Tonight (Jack Prelutsky, YA Poetry - Whimsical verses about dragons of all kinds)
An Essay on Dragons (S. Shana, YA? Fiction - A brief essay about dragons)
Dragons: A Natural History (Dr. Karl Shuker, Nonfiction - Dragon myths from around the world)
The Evolution of the Dragon (G. Elliot Smith, Nonfiction - An exploration of the roots behind the universal dragon myth)
The Art of the Dragon (J. David Spurlock and Patrick Wilshire, Art - Interviews and an art gallery celebrate the dragon in contemporary fantasy art)
The Dragonology books (Dugald A. Steer, editor, YA Fiction - The notebooks of the famous 19th-century "dragonologist" Dr. Ernest Drake describe the world's vanishing dragon species)
How to Raise and Keep a Dragon (John Topsell, Joseph Nigg "editor", YA Fiction - A guide to keeping dragons as pets, based on real-world dragon lore)
Serpents of Sky: Nine stories of dragons (Heidi C. Vlach, YA? Fiction - Tales of many different dragons)

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The Dragonriders of Pern trilogy
(Books 1 - 3)
Anne McCaffrey
Random House
Fiction, Sci-Fi
*****

DESCRIPTION: Long ago, interstellar human colonists settled on the distant planet Pern, hoping to create a better world. Though it looked like a paradise, Pern had a dark danger: every 200 years, a rogue planet in the system comes close enough to spread a deadly, devouring lifeform known as Thread, falling from the skies like a silver rain of death to destroy any living thing it touches. Using native Pernese creatures, humans managed to genetically engineer great dragons who telepathically bond to a human rider at hatching. Combining the dragon's wings and fire and the human's combat strategy, they battle Threadfall and allow life to flourish on the world below. Over the centuries, the people lost all memory of their origins, reverting to an agricultural, feudal-style society, where harpers sing the history of the land, lord-holders watch over their subjects, and tithes are paid to the dragon weyrs which protect all of Pern... but, if history has taught nothing else, it's that humans are a short-sighted species, and when the threat of Threadfall fades into memory during a long "Pass," caused by the Red Star's irregular orbit, will the people be prepared for its return?
This book was originally published as three volumes:
Dragonflight - It has been four centuries since Threadfall was last sighted, and people are forgetting the need for dragons and resource-hungry dragon weyrs. Only one still remains, steadfast Benden Weyr, and their old dragon queen and human Weyrwoman have died. She left a golden egg behind, which will hatch a new queen... but first the dragonriders must find a suitable candidate for Weyrwoman, someone strong enough to bond with and guide the golden queen. Their search is complicated by resistance from skeptical lords, convinced that Threadfall is a thing of the past and not, as the dragonriders fear, an imminent threat about to return to a woefully unprepared Pern.
Dragonquest - Thread has returned, and while the new Weyrwoman has brought prestige and strength to Benden Weyr and the dragons, danger still lurks. Their unexpected allies are relics of another time and seem reluctant to adapt to today's Pern, while continued distrust and dissent breeds among lord-holders who resent the weyr tithes.
The White Dragon - Jaxom became a lord-holder long before he became a man, an heir to the position by blood. When witnessing a dragon hatching, he inadvertently bonds with a runt dragon named Ruth. Like most boys on Pern, Jaxom has always dreamed of riding a dragon, but a lord cannot be a dragonrider, nor a dragonrider a lord. Once a dragon bonds, however, there is nothing to be done about it. Besides, Ruth is a white dragon. Undersized and underdeveloped, he may not even be able to carry a man's weight, let alone produce Thread-burning flames. Jaxom and Ruth may be shunned by other riders, and Jaxom may be bound to a landlocked life as a lord, but neither he nor Ruth are going to sacrifice their dreams, or each other.

REVIEW: Pern, one of the classic sci-fi worlds, is well worth visiting if you haven't experienced it before, and this three-in-one volume is probably the most economical and convenient way to do it. These, the first trilogy in the still-ongoing series (now written by Anne's son), are the best. McCaffrey considers her dragons strictly sci-fi, but the story is more likely to appeal to fantasy lovers. She creates a rich, detailed world full of memorable characters. I sometimes see these books published as Young Adult titles, but as a warning there is a fair amount of violence and sex.

You might also enjoy:
Dragons Wild (Robert Asprin, Fiction - A college-graduate slacker learns that he and his sister are really dragons, about to develop their potent "secondary traits")
The Last Dragonlord (Joanne Bertin, Fiction - The near-immortal dragonlords, shapeshifting beings with both a human and a dragon soul, inspire awe, envy, respect... and hatred)
The Vlad Taltos series (Stephen Brust, Fiction - An assassin/detective in a world of magic and gods, Vlad works with his bonded dragonlike familiar)
The Shadow of Black Wings (James Calbraith, Fiction - After a disaster, the son of a naval captain and his dragon find themselves in the forbidden island nation of Yamato)
Dragon Companion (Don Callander, Fiction - A librarian is suddenly transported to a world of elves and magic, where he is befriended by a dragon)
Dragons in the Stars and Dragon Rigger (Jeffrey A. Carver, Fiction - A "rigger" who navigates interstellar ships via lucid dreaming encounters the embattled dragons of hyperspace)
Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher (Bruce Coville, YA Fiction - A boy buys a dragon's egg in a magic shop, never expecting it to actually hatch out a living dragon)
How to Train Your Dragon (Cressida Cowell, YA Fiction - Misfit Viking boy Hiccup struggles to train a stubborn dragon to avoid shaming his chieftain father)
The Flight of Dragons (Peter Dickinson, Fiction - A speculative essay describing a hypothetical, biologically plausible dragon)
Dragonsdale (Salamanda Drake, YA Fiction - Born and raised at a dragon-riding academy, a girl's stablemaster father forbids her to fly)
The Coldfire trilogy (C. S. Friedman, Fiction - A colony world on the galactic rim is plagued by a dangerous natural force that manifests subconscious fears and desires)
Dragon Rider (Cornelia Funke, YA Fiction - A brave dragon seeks a legendary sanctuary in the Himalayas with an irritable brownie friend and an orphaned London boy)
The Familiar Dragon series (Daniel Hood, Fiction - A murdered wizard's dragon familiar forces a bond with the detective who finds the body)
The Dragon quartet (Marjorie B. Kellogg, Fiction - Elemental dragons and their human companions travel around the world and through time to avert a global catastrophe)
The Temeraire series (Naomi Novik, Fiction - In an alternate-history Earth, sapient dragons act as living warships during the Napoleonic Wars)
Eragon (Christopher Paolini, YA? Fiction - A farmboy finds a dragon's egg, changing his life and the destiny of his kingdom forever)
The Waking Fire (Anthony Ryan, Fiction - A corporate-run world where dragonblood grants power faces war)
Serpents of Sky: Nine stories of dragons (Heidi C. Vlach, YA? Fiction - Tales of many different dragons)
Kasey And His Dragon (E. H. White, YA Fiction - A modern boy finds a dragon's egg, sweeping him off to his destiny in another world)
The Pit Dragon Chronicles (Jane Yolen, YA Fiction - On the world Austar IV, a slave boy steals a dragon hatchling from his master)
The Dragonback Adventures (Timothy Zahn, YA Fiction - A teen thief on the run from an interstellar megacorporation becomes the reluctant ally/host of Draycos, a dragonlike alien whose people are being systematically exterminated)

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Dragonsong
(The Dragonriders of Pern series: The Harper Hall trilogy, Book 1)
Anne McCaffrey
Random House
Fiction, YA? Sci-Fi
*****

DESCRIPTION: Menolly was born to a small Pernese fishing community, ruled by her hidebound father who has a very strict idea of what women can (or can't) aspire to. One of these forbidden territories is the realm of the harper, and this is the one realm her heart yearns to explore. The old harper in town encouraged her innate talents, and even claimed to have sent off some of her songs to Harper Hall and the eyes of Masterharper Robinton himself! Unfortunately, she never hears if he responds. Crippled first by an accident to her hand and then found out by her father (who holds to the old ideas that women and harping don't mix), Menolly finally runs away from home. In the wild, she finds a nest of legendary fire lizards, native predecessors to the great Thread-burning dragons, and with them the courage to follow her gifts.

REVIEW: McCaffrey has done a fair bit of research into music, and it shows in this story. Menolly makes a brave heroine, well worth following through this book and the next, and the fire lizards are lively and fun. Pern continues to grow in this trilogy, moving a little beyond the world of the dragon weyrs into the lives of more ordinary citizens.

You might also enjoy:
Fairy Metal Thunder (JL Bryan, YA Fiction - A modern teen musician steals magical instruments from Fairyland, leading his garage band to great success... and trouble)
Cora and the Nurse Dragon (H. L. Burke, YA Fiction - Young Cora discovers a special dragon, one that makes her pet dragon eggs hatch wonders)
Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher (Bruce Coville, YA Fiction - A boy buys a dragon's egg in a magic shop, never expecting it to actually hatch out a living dragon)
How to Train Your Dragon (Cressida Cowell, YA Fiction - Misfit Viking boy Hiccup struggles to train a stubborn dragon to avoid shaming his chieftain father)
Hatching Magic and The Dragon of Never-Was (Ann Downer, YA Fiction - A modern Boston girl finds a medieval wizard's pet wyvern, waking her own latent powers)
Dragonsdale (Salamanda Drake, YA Fiction - Born and raised at a dragon-riding academy, a girl's stablemaster father forbids her to fly)
The Dragon quartet (Marjorie B. Kellogg, Fiction - Elemental dragons and their human companions travel around the world and through time to avert a global catastrophe)
Bedlam's Bard (Mercedes Lackey with Ellen Guon, Fiction - A broken-hearted musician accidentally learns the power hidden in his music when he frees an elf prince in a California oak grove)
Fairest (Gail Carson Levine, YA Fiction - A homely girl with a fine voice lives in a kingdom where singing and beauty are all that matter)
Song for the Basilisk (Patricia McKillip, Fiction - Sole survivor of his noble line, a man raised and trained by bards seeks vengeance)
The Temeraire series (Naomi Novik, Fiction - In an alternate-history Earth, sapient dragons act as living warships during the Napoleonic Wars)
Eragon (Christopher Paolini, YA? Fiction - A farmboy finds a dragon's egg, changing his life and the destiny of his kingdom forever)
The Egg (M. P. Robertson, YA Picture Book - A boy discovers a dragon's egg in the hen-house)
Dragon Girl (Jeff Weigel, YA Fiction - An orphan girl discovers a cave full of dragon eggs, even as a dragon-slaying knight lurks nearby)
The Enchanted Forest Chronicles (Patricia Wrede, YA Fiction - Sick of being the proper princess, a girl in a fairy-tale world runs away from home to live with dragons)

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Dragonsinger
(The Dragonriders of Pern series: The Harper Hall trilogy, Book 2)
Anne McCaffrey
Random House
Fiction, YA? Sci-Fi
*****

DESCRIPTION: As the first-ever female apprentice at Harper Hall, Menolly's dreams have begun to come true, but just having talent isn't enough to wear the harper blue and live the life she longs for. In addition to her studies and personal challenges, she still has nine fire lizard companions to care for.

REVIEW: The first two Harper Hall books are perhaps McCaffrey's best Pern adventures (after the originals, of course), and Menolly one of her most real and engaging characters. For some reason, I felt it ended one chapter short, but otherwise it's a great tale.

You might also enjoy:
Fairy Metal Thunder (JL Bryan, YA Fiction - A modern teen musician steals magical instruments from Fairyland, leading his garage band to great success... and trouble)
Cora and the Nurse Dragon (H. L. Burke, YA Fiction - Young Cora discovers a special dragon, one that makes her pet dragon eggs hatch wonders)
Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher (Bruce Coville, YA Fiction - A boy buys a dragon's egg in a magic shop, never expecting it to actually hatch out a living dragon)
How to Train Your Dragon (Cressida Cowell, YA Fiction - Misfit Viking boy Hiccup struggles to train a stubborn dragon to avoid shaming his chieftain father)
Hatching Magic and The Dragon of Never-Was (Ann Downer, YA Fiction - A modern Boston girl finds a medieval wizard's pet wyvern, waking her own latent powers)
Dragonsdale (Salamanda Drake, YA Fiction - Born and raised at a dragon-riding academy, a girl's stablemaster father forbids her to fly)
The Dragon quartet (Marjorie B. Kellogg, Fiction - Elemental dragons and their human companions travel around the world and through time to avert a global catastrophe)
Bedlam's Bard (Mercedes Lackey with Ellen Guon, Fiction - A broken-hearted musician accidentally learns the power hidden in his music when he frees an elf prince in a California oak grove)
Fairest (Gail Carson Levine, YA Fiction - A homely girl with a fine voice lives in a kingdom where singing and beauty are all that matter)
Song for the Basilisk (Patricia McKillip, Fiction - Sole survivor of his noble line, a man raised and trained by bards seeks vengeance)
The Temeraire series (Naomi Novik, Fiction - In an alternate-history Earth, sapient dragons act as living warships during the Napoleonic Wars)
Eragon (Christopher Paolini, YA? Fiction - A farmboy finds a dragon's egg, changing his life and the destiny of his kingdom forever)
The Egg (M. P. Robertson, YA Picture Book - A boy discovers a dragon's egg in the hen-house)
The Enchanted Forest Chronicles (Patricia Wrede, YA Fiction - Sick of being the proper princess, a girl in a fairy-tale world runs away from home to live with dragons)

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Dragondrums
(The Dragonriders of Pern series: The Harper Hall trilogy, Book 3)
Anne McCaffrey
Random House
Fiction, YA? Sci-Fi
****

DESCRIPTION: Piemur, an apprentice at Harper Hall, was once a boy soprano, but his age finally caught up with his voice. Now without a place in the choir (literally), he finds instead a new, exciting job helping Masterharper Robinton in his many political explorations in the wilds of Pern. Piemur's adventures take him where few have gone before, and lead him to his own little fire lizard bondmate and ally.

REVIEW: Inexplicably, McCaffrey changes characters two-thirds of the way through the stream in the Harper Hall trilogy. Piemur isn't a bad protagonist, but I never got to know him or love him as I did Menolly, and his story ventured so far from Harper Hall that it might have been better served as the head of a separate trilogy altogether. Aside from that, Piemur and his new winged friend have a decent adventure, even if they seemed a bit short-changed by being tacked onto someone else's trilogy.

You might also enjoy:
Fairy Metal Thunder (JL Bryan, YA Fiction - A modern teen musician steals magical instruments from Fairyland, leading his garage band to great success... and trouble)
Cora and the Nurse Dragon (H. L. Burke, YA Fiction - Young Cora discovers a special dragon, one that makes her pet dragon eggs hatch wonders)
Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher (Bruce Coville, YA Fiction - A boy buys a dragon's egg in a magic shop, never expecting it to actually hatch out a living dragon)
Hatching Magic and The Dragon of Never-Was (Ann Downer, YA Fiction - A modern Boston girl finds a medieval wizard's pet wyvern, waking her own latent powers)
Dragonsdale (Salamanda Drake, YA Fiction - Born and raised at a dragon-riding academy, a girl's stablemaster father forbids her to fly)
The Dragon quartet (Marjorie B. Kellogg, Fiction - Elemental dragons and their human companions travel around the world and through time to avert a global catastrophe)
Bedlam's Bard (Mercedes Lackey with Ellen Guon, Fiction - A broken-hearted musician accidentally learns the power hidden in his music when he frees an elf prince in a California oak grove)
Fairest (Gail Carson Levine, YA Fiction - A homely girl with a fine voice lives in a kingdom where singing and beauty are all that matter)
Song for the Basilisk (Patricia McKillip, Fiction - Sole survivor of his noble line, a man raised and trained by bards seeks vengeance)
The Temeraire series (Naomi Novik, Fiction - In an alternate-history Earth, sapient dragons act as living warships during the Napoleonic Wars)
Eragon (Christopher Paolini, YA? Fiction - A farmboy finds a dragon's egg, changing his life and the destiny of his kingdom forever)
The Egg (M. P. Robertson, YA Picture Book - A boy discovers a dragon's egg in the hen-house)
The Enchanted Forest Chronicles (Patricia Wrede, YA Fiction - Sick of being the proper princess, a girl in a fairy-tale world runs away from home to live with dragons)

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