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Dragon's Kin
Anne and Todd McCaffrey
Del Rey, 292 pages


Paul Youll
Dragon's Kin
Anne McCaffrey
Anne McCaffrey was born in Cambridge, MA. She graduated cum laude from Radcliffe College, majoring in Slavonic Languages and Literatures. Her first novel, Restoree, was published by Ballantine Books in l967. However, she is best know for her Dragonriders of Pern novels. Del Rey has developed an extensive site dedicated to her Pern novels.

Although she used to make appearances throughout the world, arthritis has now restricted such travel. She lives in a house of her own design, Dragonhold-Underhill, in Wicklow County, Ireland.

Anne McCaffrey Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: On Dragonwings
SF Site Review: Acorna's Rebels
SF Site Review: A Gift of Dragons
SF Site Review: Freedom's Ransom
SF Site Review: Nimisha's Ship
SF Site Review: Black Horses for the King and If Wishes Were Horses
SF Site Review: The Masterharper of Pern

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Cindy Lynn Speer

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Kindan has spent his life (only a whole ten years) in the coal camp of Natalon, where he helps his father tend the watch-whers that are so vital to the safety of the mines. A distant relative to dragons, they have large eyes that are painfully sensitive to the sun, and an ability to tell if the air in a mine is bad. A tragic accident robs Kindan of his family and the mine's only watch-wher. They need a watch-wher, and since Kindan is the only person there who knows anything about it (an assumption based on him helping his father. Actually he knows little more than how to talk to them through clicks and whistles.), he gets to ride on a dragon to get a new one. Kisk will do more than become the mine's new watch-wher. Her relationship with Kindan, his best friend Dalor and Nuella, a young woman whose blindness has made her father decide to hide her, will teach us more about these previously unexplored creatures.

The real fun in Dragon's Kin is its focus on an aspect of Anne McCaffrey's world of Pern that she's only mentioned briefly before. The watch-whers are amazingly nifty creatures, much more than their previous handlers ever knew. The reason why they can't stand the sunshine, their intelligence, the secret to how their handlers "impress" or bind to them are all really interesting. They bear some similarities to their cousins, the dragons and the fire lizards, with enough surprising differences to make them their own entities.

Kindan, perhaps not surprisingly, doesn't want to stay in the mines, so his new job is something he accepts with less joy than you might imagine. He would rather be a Harper. So training the new watch-wher, learning to sleep all day so that he can stay up with the little thing all night, are all huge changes for him. He's helped a lot by Nuella, a sweet blind girl. The night time world of the watch-wher is hers, as well, simply because that's the only time she can sneak around. Her father is not a bad man for hiding his daughter, he's just afraid that if people find out about her, since his mother, too, was blind, that they'll think that maybe his line suffers from weakness and take away his job as head of the mine. Nuella's especially nifty because she has never let any of these things really hold her back. She knows every inch of the mine, and she has a real connection to Kist.

This is basically what most of this book is about. Some other things happen to make all the elements come together, but that's so close to the last quarter of the book I better not discuss it, other than to say yes, something else does happen.

Dragon's Kin is really an easy, fun read. One that I swallowed down in an evening. Anne and her son worked very well together. Todd has one small, almost invisible flaw. He doesn't quite handle the sense of wonder the same way his mother does, the fantasy and wonder are there, and strong, but I think as they both work together (and I have this supposition in the back of my mind that he'll eventually take over from her completely) I think he'll find this same sense of wonder, and be able to continue the worlds we all love so much.

Copyright © 2004 Cindy Lynn Speer

Cindy Lynn Speer loves books so much that she's designed most of her life around them, both as a librarian and a writer. Her books aren't due out anywhere soon, but she's trying. You can find her site at www.apenandfire.com.


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