Dragonsong - Anne McCaffrey Classic fantasy by the Queen of Dragons herself. I read a number of these books when I was younger and unfortunately had to leave them all behind after moving to a different country, but somewhat thankfully I could remember absolutely nothing of what went on in them. Except that there were dragons, and I wanted to read them again in my adulthood.

The edition I read had quite a few errors, grammatical and spelling-wise, that got me stuck on the words a fair bit. Not to mention the dialogue can be a little confusing at times - you don't always know which character is speaking, or why they're saying what they're saying in response...it just doesn't seem to fit with the flow, as if a sentence or two was missing.

Thankfully, though, the book is pretty damn easy to follow, so in the end those ended up being minor - if annoying - issues. Definitely knocked it down from 4 to 3 stars, though.

Surprisingly little happens in Dragonsong. Menolly runs away from her Hold as she no longer feels welcome there, thanks to her family being deeply ashamed of her love for music - a boy's ability, in their traditions, and never a girl's. She sets her course for the area that she had previously seen a number of fire lizards (thought to be more myth than reality) and where she had sheltered in a small cave during a Threadfall. She does quite well on her own, and even Impresses on nine of the fire lizards upon their hatching. Eventually, she's found by a dragonrider as she's fleeing from another Threadfall which caught her off-guard, and she's taken to his Weyr. While she's there, giving her feet time to heal (after running them raw in an attempt to escape the Thread), she slowly begins coming out of her shell and allowing her incredibly musical nature to seep through. The restraints and even fear of beatings that had been put into place in her mind eventually lift when the Masterharper, attending the hatching of the queen dragon Ramoth's clutch, figures out that the harper from Menolly's original Hold had recommended her (without, of course, mentioning who she was or that she was female, as that would be improper in their Hold), and she
is swept off her feet to the Harperhall with her singing fire lizards in tow, destined to harp.

Thankfully the book is quite short. If it were any longer, the general lack of story content would be a little tedious. We do, however, get a good look at Menolly and who she is as a person. We feel her injustices along with her, feel her loss when her music is taken away from her, and her joy when she finally has a chance to take it back again, in a way she never dreamed possible. Menolly feels very much like the 15-year-old she is in the book, struggling with trying to fit in and to fulfil the roles that she thinks are expected of her. She's a likeable character, if a bit bland sometimes.

A hesitation I have with the story is the amount of people that were introduced. I will chuck out a disclaimer now saying that if they ever show up again in the later books then it would make perfect sense and wouldn't be a waste. If they don't, though, then a lot of the extra characters introduced felt like they weighed the story down. Most of them felt like they didn't need to be there at all, and the ones that should have been more prominent felt quite weak and almost separated from both the main character and the story.

Also, I'm not gonna lie, the thing with the fire lizards made me reeeally uncomfortable. I know it was explained a couple of times WHY they were useful to the people who wished to Impress upon them, but - and maybe it's just the animal nerd in me talking here - it felt kind of really wrong that they were just picking up clutches of wild eggs and plonking them into their Weyrs and Holds. I wasn't ever really sure what exact use they had, except to be cool and trendy pets. That...kind
of seemed to be it. I do know that it was apparently an extremely recent development, literally happening during the story itself, so I guess it would make sense to adopt clutches, and then to simply use captive-bred (is captive even the right word?) fire lizards later on for...whatever they're going to be using them for. I don't bloody know.

All in all, it's a good book. It's not incredibly fantastic, but I do have high hopes in the following books improving both technical-wise, and content-wise.