Thursday, 10 December 2009

Book Review: Harper Hall Trilogy [audio books]

This is a bit of a departure from my normal reviews as I am going to review three books in one review. I’ve been listening to these books over the past few weeks while I have been sick. Because of the being sick part it has been a bit disjointed. I’ve fallen asleep and woken up (and occasionally dreamed about them) so I have listened to some sections several times and others just once. They are re-reads so I haven’t missed the story.

The Harper Hall Trilogy were the first books by Hugo and Nebula award winning author Anne McCaffrey I read as a teenager. Since then I have read most of the Pern series (I haven’t read the last few books written by her son Todd McCaffrey) and the Talent Series. She had me reading Sci-fi. I don’t like Sci-fi. But yet I found myself reading it. She snuck it in when I wasn’t looking. I do have to admit that I do tend to glaze over at some points when they talk about space and science in some of the books. I read very fast. But she had me reading it.

Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey

This is the first book in the trilogy and it follows teenage girl Menolly. When we first meet Menolly she has lost her teacher and confidant Petiron. No one at her hold understands her love for music and she feels utterly alone.

Although I am not musical in the least (couldn’t sing to save my life) as a teenager I could still identify with Menolly and her feelings of being alone and misunderstood (don’t all teenagers feel misunderstood at some point?). I was also attracted to Menolly’s independence and free spirit. Dragonsong will always have a place in my heart as one of the books that I loved as a teenager.

Dragonsinger by Anne McCaffrey

The second book in the Harper Hall Trilogy follows Menolly when she finally starts to find her place in the world. She arrives in the Harper Hall and immediately makes an impression. She also makes several friends and several enemies.

Again as a teenager I could relate to Menolly’s insecurities of fitting into a new environment. Not being sure of her place and being the victim of some rather nasty girls. I loved the fact that although these books are set on another world the problems were the same as the ones I was facing (also I wanted a firelizard).

Dragondrums by Anne McCaffrey

Although Menolly is in this book, the third book in the Harper Hall Trilogy is actually about her best friend at the Hall, the young boy Piemur. Piemur is an apprentice with a glorious soprano voice. He is also a scamp, he has big plans and he often gets into trouble. The start of the book heralds changes for Piemur.

As a teenager I was not as fond of this book as the other two. I think most of my problem lay in the fact that I wanted more Menolly. She was like me. And all I got was this stupid boy. As I have grown older I have come to appreciate this book more (although I still want more Menolly). The book looks at what happens when you do not speak up when something or someone is mistreating you. I also think it shows how completely clueless adults can be sometimes. And how important it is for adults to tell teenagers what is going on. To communicate with them.

Audio: All three books were narrated by Sally Darling. It always takes me a while to get used to her voice. Something about it sets me on edge right at first but then I get used to it. Part of the problem might be that she pronounces some of the names differently from how I do (thinking about it she is more right than me, which is probably what annoys me, I don’t like being wrong). The voice is quite soothing which is probably why I have been dozing off while listening to them. Overall I like these books as audio books.

General Comments: I read these books as a teenager and I think they fit very well for the YA group. I know some people have some problems with the last book and some more adult scenes in it. My thoughts on this is that there is nothing graphic AT ALL. There are hints of an adult relationship but it is beautifully done and no body parts are exposed. If however you have strict rules pre-read.

Ms. Bookish is hosting the 42nd Bookworms Carnival and Jemi at JustJemi and I both have these books as our comfort reads. 

Robin at My Two Blessings is hosting a Science Fiction Fantasy Challenge in 2010 called Mind Voyages where these books would fit very well. I wasn’t going to take part but maybe now I will. I have a hankering for some Pern reading :)


1 comment:

Aarti said...

Ooh, I have the first in this series on my shelf but haven't read it yet. Clearly, I'm lacking, and should remedy that.