Having read my first Todd McCaffrey novel, “Dragon’s Heart” I’m inclined to believe so. I’m not so far on in my years that I was worried about my memory going, but I picked up Dragon’s Heart expecting the experience that drove my younger, introverted, orthodontically-challenged self to clean thrift stores in a ten-mile radius around my house of Pern novels.
What ensued was sheer drudgery, the likes of which I cannot remember experiencing in any of my leisure reading. My own stubbornness drove me through the torturous prose, the intermidable plot and through to an “ending” which provided no satisfactory resolution to the middling story that actually existed in the book.
Now, when you strip the library shelves with the same efficient ruthlesness of a hungry koala, running across a bad book now and then is par for the course. Thinking harder, I stopped reading Anne McCaffrey when I started college in part because I found her a tad bit formulaic (it did take my mom another two years to stop buying me Pern books. I had quite a collection, at least three copies of each book). Bad isn’t terrible.
What’s terrible is the generally uncomfortable and more than a little pervy undertones pervading an adult science fiction novel, written by a man, with main characters who are tween girls. The main character is something like 12? Okay, I’ve read some great YA novels that have fantastic characterisation of a pre-teen. This was not one of them. The character was written to be 12, written as 30 in terms of maturity level. The kid was boring! And more than a little scary.
But wait, where’s the pervving? That would be Fiona and her naked pre-teen bedmates. There is a whole lot made about the main character bedding down with other kids on the teen girl squad, enough so that I thought it would cross over the “is this legal?” line.
I suppose it’s good to know that one “new Pern” novel is more than enough for me. Unfortunately, all of my happy memories of the world of Pern are also now slightly tainted by the association. My remedy would be to whip out ‘Dragonflight’ et al. over the inter-Christmas break, but unfortunately all of my books are boxed up 5,000 miles away. My next trip back won’t give me enough time (or free luggage space) to get them out and bring them back to the UK, so I suppose it’s yet another teenage pursuit consigned to the bin.