Book Review: The Masterharper of Pern, The Harper Hall Trilogy

The Masterharper of Pern (PERN)I’ve been on a bit of a Pern kick lately, and decided to read The Masterharper of Pern, by Anne McCaffrey. I enjoyed it, and was glad to learn more about Robinton, the title character, as well as about the harpers. I think I preferred the earlier parts of the book to the later ones. Reading it made me realize how much of the Pern story I’ve forgotten. Perhaps I’ll re-read some of the others someday, Perhaps not.

I did, however, want to re-read the Harper Hall trilogy. The first two books are mainly about Menolly, while the third follows Piemur.

In the first book, Menolly is initially not allowed to become a harper by her family because she’s a girl. It does feel a little strange reading a story about a girl who isn’t allowed to do things because she’s a girl, since many of the other Pern books do have very accomplished female characters. Still, it’s based on the idea that Pern is slowly coming out of it’s dark ages, so I guess that makes sense.

The second and thrid books seem to follow a very similar premise: Menolly and Piemur are both excellent at what they do, and this earns them the envy of the other students—the girls for Menolly, the apprentices (who are almost all male) for Piemur. The envious students then cause trouble for Menolly and later Piemur, but each finds a place at the Harper Hall thanks to their special talents. In some ways, it felt like I was reading the same book twice, but the characters are engaging enough that it’s still quite entertaining.

I wouldn’t mind if there was another Harper Hall book, this time following Sebel. It’s possible, though, that he plays a bigger role in some of the later Pern books. That said, I’m probably going to give Pern a break for a while.

The Masterharper of Pern by Anne McCaffrey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dragonsinger by Anne McCaffrey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dragondrums by Anne McCaffrey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Source: All from the Free Library of Philadephia

2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Masterharper of Pern, The Harper Hall Trilogy

  1. Heh… Dragondrums scared the heck out of me as a kid. Like Piemur, I was a top soprano, and the way they portrayed voice changes made me absolutely convinced that I’d never be able to sing well again. Fortunately, it worked out for both of us.

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    1. It did work out, although I don’t know if Piemur ever goes back to singing.

      Strangely, I didn’t really like Dragondrums when I first read it, but after rereading the trilogy, I think it’s possibly the strongest one.

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