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Anne and Todd McCaffrey – Dragon's KinHere's an old review of mine for Dragon's Kin by Anne and Todd McCaffrey, who keep things in the family:

And once in a while they come run-of-the-mill...

Kindan is a boy in a mining company on Pern. When his father, the Watch-Wher (a kind of night/underground dragon) handler dies in a mining accident Kindan's life - and that of the entire colony - are thrown into disarray. Secrets, internal conflicts between miners and dragon handlers, and lack of knowledge about the Whers' abilities (Kindan is chosen as handler for the new baby Wher for the mine) make life interesting (Chinese definition), and thus worth another Pern book.

The story is set in the Pern universe, or, to be exact, on Pern the planet, and mainly underground. There are 17 books in/on/about Pern to date. This book, albeit deeply embedded in this environment, can be read on it's own without ploughing through the other 16 books first. A short introduction of the history, organization and challenges faced on Pern is provided at the beginning.

Anne McCaffrey, the author, has written 42 books to day, has received the Hugo, Nebula, Golden Pen, SF Book Club and the Margaret A. Edwards Lifetime Achievement Award (don't ask, I don't know either); and has been dubbed as `one of the Queens of Science Fiction and Fantasy' by The Times. This is the first book she has co-written with her son, Todd McCaffrey, and it shows. The story feels patchy, writing styles change, and there are minor inconsistencies to be found.

Overall I'm not too impressed with Dragon's Kin. It's a vanilla growing up/coming of age tale, `Harry Potter' style adolescent fiction pitched to adults, with no real depth or complexity. The characters are not overly developed, stereotypical, and very one-dimensional. The plot is simple, and very linear, there are no real surprises or unexpected twists that made me re-think or re-read. No new concepts besides the species of Watch-Wher and its capabilities are introduced in this latest instalment from the Pern conveyor belt. Recommendation, I hear you ask? Read it if you're 12, if you like Pern and have the rest of the series, or if you're seriously bored, it reads easily and quickly. Else I'm sure you'll find better ways to spend your money.

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Title: Dragon's Kin
Subtitle: A new Novel of Pern
Series: Pern
Series Number: 17
Author: Anne & Todd McCaffrey
Reviewer: Markus
Publisher: Corgi/Bantam/Transworld
Publisher URL:
Publication Date: November 1, 2004
Review Date: January 2005
ISBN: 0552151505
Price: pound6.99
Book URL:
Pages: 304
Format: Paperback
Topic: Fantasy


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