I tend to like the Pern books a bit more now since Todd started writing with Anne. They are a bit grittier and not so fluffy.
Dragon's Kin shares some of the delight of earlier Pern tales. There's unlikely heroes and some well crafted characters. And the threat of thread.
but let's face it, kin or not, Watch-wehrs are no way near as wonderful as dragons, and neither are stories about them.
In this vist to Pern we find out more about the watchwhers. These creatures, genetically engineered by Wind Blossom, the daughter of the famed Kitty Ping who engineered the Dragons of Pern from indigeous fire lizards, are photosensitive. They are useless in daylight,however,the miners find them very handy in the dark mines. Watchwhers, who bond with their handlers just as Dragons do with their riders, prove to be a great asset since they can detect both "bad air" and tunnel snakes.
This then is the story of a watchwhere handler, a girl with a secret, and a harper with a long range view. Enjoy yet another visit to Pern and it's resourceful residents.
from back cover: Young Kindan has no expectations other than joining his father in the mines of Camp Natalon, a coal mining settlement struggling to turn a profit far from the great Holds where the presence of dragons and their riders means safety and civilization. Mining is fraught with danger. Fortunately, the camp has a watch-wher, a creature distantly related to dragons and uniquely suited to specialized work in the dark, cold mineshafts. Kindans father is the watch-whers handler, and his son sometimes helps him out. But even that important job promises no opportunity outside the mine.
Then disaster strikes. In one terrible instant, Kindan loses his family and the camp loses its watch-wher. Fathers are replaced by sons in the mineexcept for Kindan, who is taken in by the camps new Harper. Grieving, Kindan finds a measure of solace in a burgeoning musical talent . . . and in a new friendship with Nuella, a mysterious girl no one seems to know exists. It is Nuella who assists Kindan when he is selected to hatch and train a new watch-wher, a job that forces him to give up his dream of becoming a Harper; and it is Nuella who helps him give new meaning to his life.
Meanwhile, sparked by the tragedy, long-simmering tensions are dividing the camp. Far below the surface, a group of resentful miners hides a deadly secret. As warring factions threaten to explode, Nuella and Kindan begin to discover unknown talents in the misunderstood watch-whertalents that could very well save an entire Hold. During their time teaching the watch-wher, the two learn some things themselves: that even a seemingly impossible dream is never completely out of reach . . . and that light can be found even in darkness.
A look at the mysterious watch-wher!
I read the Pern books long ago. Decided to re-read in "chronological order". Then I got to the ones Todd McCaffrey wrote, both in conjunction with his mother and on his own. I made it through the first, Dragon's Kin, which wasn't TOO bad, and the second, Dragon Harper, which was okay, then got through about half of Dragon's Fire, and now a quarter of the way into Dragon Heart, I just can't go on. When I look at the ratings, I'm astonished to see his books rated as high as hers...is it just loyalty? Why can't people see the vast, gigantic difference between her most excellent writing and his pathetic attempts?
His books are pedantic, fluff-filled, stilted and downright boring. There is no life to them, the ones I've read are all about plagues, there's no humor, there are so many characters thrown in, I can't keep track of who's who, or even who's a dragon and who's a human. The dialog is terrible, the "plots" ramble around in circles...I am totally mystified as to why they get such high ratings. I hope that people READ the 1 and 2 star reviews and don't just assume from the star count that they're as good as the REAL Pern books. I wasted some money, won't read the rest of what he's written.