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Dragonseye by Anne McCaffrey
Published by Del Rey Books
Reviewed by Leigh Kimmel
Dragonseye is another Pern book, set just before the Second Pass. This is one that particularly attracted negative criticism that it did not have to be set on Pern, but rather used the Pernese background because of the guaranteed fan market for any Pern book. Others felt that it was in too many ways a rehash of the basic conflicts of the original books, albeit with some window-dressing changed.
In this book, it has been two centuries since Thread last fell upon Pern, and not everyone really believes that the menace will return and once again wreak the havoc that fell upon the first settlers at Landing. Although they still have the scientific records and a wealth of knowledge, at least one greedy Lord Holder refuses to believe that he really needs to start making preparations. He'd far rather be squeezing his people for all they're worth. His actions finally become so severe that he has to be removed from office and exiled to the Southern Islands as a murderer.
It is interesting and rather fun for the longtime Pern fan to see the society in transition, leaving behind the last vestiges of Terran culture and transforming it into a truly Pernese culture. However, it seems at times that McCaffrey was trying too hard to explain the origins of various Pernese customs, at the expense of good story-telling. Because of that, the novel has a certain diffuseness that is apt to disappoint casual readers. There isn't any one single compelling plotline, and one of the interesting ones (the budding romance between Iantine the artist and Debera the green rider) is left unresolved, which is apt to frustrate a reader who really wants to see whether they'll get together in the end.
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Review posted May 19, 1999
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