Sunday, January 13, 2013

The White Dragon: Review

I have said this before and I still think it's true, there are some books that are meant to be read at certain times.  And if you miss that particular time, then they just won't do it for you the way they might have.  I suspect that The White Dragon is just such a book. I have found, and it seems to be more often the case with science fiction/fantasy novels, that I seem to have missed the (space) boat with McCaffrey's novel.  Back in the 80s, when I was in the midst of my science fiction binge, my best friend got me Dragonflight, the first in the Pern series, and I loved it.  I immediately grabbed up the next Pern book I could find (this one) and put it on the shelf....and got distracted and never read it--till now.

Which leads me to my first question.  If I read Dragonflight now, would I discover that it too has no real storyline? Because as far as I can tell, The White Dragon doesn't.  We have young Lord Jaxom, last of the Ruatha Hold bloodline, who whines and carries on about how nobody treats him like a Lord and yet he's not allowed to be a real dragonrider even though he's got a dragon--albeit an unusual, under-sized one. And he goes off and teaches his dragon to fly and destroy the deadly Threads in secret.  And he has sex along the way.  And, oh---this is a good one, his dragon participates in the sex too (No, NOT physically, but he loves right along with Jaxom and his lady-friends....say what? A dragon peeping tom.).  And he flits here and he flits there and he saves a dragon egg and finds where the ancient men used to be and....well, it's all this major jumble.  And there's no real struggle, no real plot points, and no real resolution.  It all just kind of rambles to a close.

Granted, I didn't read every word on every page--mainly because I was not interested and also because when I did I couldn't see that it mattered a whole heaping bunch.  And maybe you've noticed that my review style has changed here and my writing isn't exactly full of coherent thoughts?  Yeah, we'll blame that on side-effects.

The best part (and what makes this a two-star book instead of a one-star book) is the relationship between Jaxom and his white dragon Ruth--with most of the points going to Ruth.  Ruth has a very well-defined personality and I like the way he calms Jaxom down when he (Jaxom) gets off on his "why are they treating me this way?!" jags.  I would have enjoyed this book a lot more if there had been more focus on Jaxom and Ruth.  

Not the most auspicious beginning for my re-entry to the SF Experience (non)Challenge.  I'm thinking I need to pick up Harlan Ellison next......



*Counts for 150 Plus, Mount TBR, Book Bingo, Off the Shelf, Outdo Yourself, Monthly Key Word, Color Coded, what an Animal, Monthly Mix-up Mania, Embarrassment of Riches, and the SF Experience Challenges

6 comments:

Jean said...

I loved those books when I was 12 - 14. I read them over and over. I thought The White Dragon was a great book! I should probably re-read it and see just how terrible it is. I'm pretty sure they were all like that, yes, and the sex is very very creepy with the dragons involved and the whole dragon mating routine where the humans ...yeah, I can't even type it. I can't believe I wasn't scarred by them in youth, but I didn't get the implications and it all sailed over my head. Thank goodness.

Dragonsong was my absolute favorite and I thought the cover was perfection. It really is a cool cover though.

Bev Hankins said...

Yeah, I was 12-14 when I read the first one. Should have gotten this one out of the way then, I think. :-)

jmisgro said...

I read this one years ago too....I love her books but sometimes there is too much info!
Have you read this one> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stranger_in_a_Strange_Land

Bev Hankins said...

I loved Stranger in a Strange Land back when I read it in the 80s....

marveloustales said...

I feel exactly like Jean--I read these around the same age, and I think a lot sailed right past me!

I enjoyed rereading Dragonflight for the group-read, and I think it is more focused on the immediate threat of how to deal with the start of Thread. As I think back, I barely remember The White Dragon.

I still love the Harper Hall Trilogy...really the first two. I've reread those more recently, but I'm not feeling much need to go back to the most of the others in the series.

Lynn said...

I'd love to leave a proper comment but I've not read your review as I've only just finished the first book so I'm being careful about spoilers.
Lynn :D