Genre: sci-fi / fantasy
Cover: I prefer my own book cover.
Every two hundred years of so, shimmering Threads fall from space, raining death and black ruin on Pern. The great dragons of Pern hurl themselves through the beleaguered skies, flaming tongs of fire to destroy deadly Thread and save the Planet. But it was not Threadfall that made young Menolly unhappy. It was her father who betrayed her ambition to be a Harper, who thwarted her love of music. Menolly had no choice but to run away. When, suddenly, she came upon a group of fire lizards, wild and smaller relatives of the fire-breathing dragons, she let her music swirl about them. She taught nine of them to sing. Suddenly Menolly was no longer alone – she was Mistress of Music and Ward of the dazzling fire lizards.
Menolly is the youngest daughter of Yanus and Mavi of Half Circle Sea Hold. Yanus was a very strict Holder, very hide bound, and life evolved around fishing and what ever else it entails. Menolly loves music, tunes just live inside her head, but her father forbids her to make her own music. Now old Petiron has died, there is no one else to teach the children their learning ballads and such, so Menolly is their only choice before a new harper can be send. But no tunings! She will have to teach the children properly, or else!
But teaching the children is not her only duty, Menolly has to help with all other house hold chores as well. One she does enjoy though, is going out side to gather greens or spider claws and such for dinner. And one day, when she has gone way further than she usually does, almost to the Dragon Cliffs, she sees a fair of fire lizards! Fire lizards are the stuff of dreams, every boy has dreamed of catching one. It would be almost like having a real dragon, as being chosen by a dragon as its dragonrider is meant for just a select few lucky youths. But lots of people think they are just a tale, and now she, a lowly girl, sees a whole fair of them, following their golden queen and her bronzes in the mating flight. What a sight to behold!
But a few days later, while cleaning packfish, Menolly’s knife slips and she severely injures her hand. Her mother cleans the wound as well as she can, but Menolly still almost dies from infection. It is not at all sure if she will ever be able to use that hand again, at least not to play music with it, which is fine by her parents. She will not dishonour her Hall, as harpering is for men, and not for girls. Menolly is devastated of course, and keeps going out alone further and further. The high tides are threatening the coast line, and the Harbor Master has asked all the young people who go out to keep him apprised of changing high water marks. It would not do to have the fleet trapped in or outside the cavern, unable to dock safely.
When she suddenly hears fire lizards, she is curious and carefully crawls to the edge of the cliff to look down. She sees the little golden queen fly at the waves angrily, and try to chase them back. Then the cliff crumbles and Menolly drops down on the beach. How will she get back up before the tide turns too high? But the queen does not want her to leave, she needs her help as her eggs are in danger of flooding! She has been transporting them to a ledge on the cliff side, and rolling them into a cave. But many eggs lie broken. And so Menolly finds herself handling fire lizard eggs, and saving them from the tide. Again, something she will tell nobody about! But still, there is music in her head, and she needs to let it out. Hiding her songs in the classroom with the formal teachings will be safe, no one will find them there.
Some time later, sail is spotted and the new harper has come to Half Circle Seahold. Menolly is forbidden to talk to him, and no one is to tell the harper that it was a girl who thought them their lessons so well. But when Menolly is even forbidden to sing along with everyone else, that is just too much. The next morning, before any one else is awake, she leaves the Hold, running as far as she can, gathering spiderclaws. Until she finds out that Thread is falling that day, and she is too far away from the Hold to go back safely. There is only one option, the cave of the fire lizards! And so she wriggles her way inside just in time, where the hatching takes place. To prevent the extremely hungry newborn fire lizards from flying into thread and a certain horrible death, she feeds them with her catch, and manages to save a lot of them. She should go back home now, or should she? No one wants her there, she could just live here, or go running across Pern!
But when she wakes up the next morning, she is not alone. 9 fire lizards have been Impressed when she fed them herself, the young queen, Beauty, two bronzes, three brown, a blue and two green. And it is all Menolly can do to keep them fed, they are just bottomless pits!
What Menolly does not know, is that Petiron send two of her songs to the Master Harper, just before he dies, and the Master Harper desperately wants her in his Hall. He needs songs like hers badly, catchy tunes everyone can sing or hum. But he does not know that the songwriter is a female, and so the new harper has no idea where to search for her. Only her brother Alemi misses Menolly, and he sets out to search for her when she goes missing after threadfall.
The book starts so sad, with Menolly and her harsh parents, and that bitchy older sister who keeps getting her in trouble. But the 9 fire lizards and her own music make her life full and happy, and when she is saved by a dragon and in Benden Weyr, life is almost perfect for Menolly. People really like her, take care of her?
Yes, this book is a heartbreaker for sure, it made me cry a few times, but also smile. I am happy for Menolly, her live improved dramatically. And now I really want my very own fire lizard!
© 2013 Reviews by Aurian