Dragonquest is an improvement upon Dragonflight. There is now an ensemble cast, which adds more complexity, and interesting minor plot points.
Is there a quest that involves dragons? Questing generally involves a long search for something. Most notably a journey of some sorts with lots of characters and events. Does this happen in Dragonquest? No, not at all, so I have no idea why this is named Dragonquest. It sounds cool, though. Dragons and Grubs Forever? That would sum of the major finding of this entry.
F’lar discovers particular grubs in the Southern areas that eat Threads. Now Pern has the ultimate fighting force against Threads. This is a rather boring impetus for the story to continue. He goes a bit crazed (with good reason, they do work) and peddles them off to all the Holds and Weyrs, usually puffing his cheeks out and blowing steam.
The real interest of Dragonquest is Brekke, F’nor, and Kylara. I really was hoping for Kylara to cause a lot of evil action and conflict for books to come, and maybe she will, but it doesn’t seem likely now. The main conflict of Pern versus the Threads is a bit of a snoozer because the time fighting the Threads in Dragonflight and Dragonquest amount to maybe 10 pages.
I really liked F’nor and Brekke, their relationship particularly, and I thought their personalities were of great contrast to F’lar and Lessa. They should have been the main protagonists, they actually seem human, and not like robots. The fight between Wirenth (Brekke’s dragon) and Prideth (Kylara’s dragon), and their demise, actually made me sad. I was surprised the dragons both ended up dying – even more so because the tension between Brekke and Kylara kept me reading, whereas all the grub nonsense made me snooze. F’nor lives, which makes me think McCaffrey isn’t going to kill off main characters.
Lessa doesn’t have much of a role in Dragonquest. She is certainly more tame and skillful in negotiating, and I liked this progression from the crazed rebellious person from Dragonflight. F’lar is the same. He needs to seriously loosen up a bit.
I liked Jaxom. He doesn’t seem too annoying, although his speech near the end about keeping a fire lizard made me question how old he really was. He seemed maybe about 10 or so….and then he makes a decent logical argument way out of his cognitive level, which is good for him, but odd. His parts with Falessan give a different angle to all the adult’s pedantic and argumentative gatherings.
The issues with the Oldtimers were never really resolved. It was set up as main issue in the beginning, and then pushed aside. Although the use of the fire dragons hasn’t been understood yet, I imagine them to be super cute, so I hoping for no descriptions about them. I didn't mind that they were somewhat off-topic because they are being set-up for something in future stories, hopefully.
The role of Robinton and other Harpers is very intriguing. He is essentially a bard with a lot of political power, acting like an advisor to Benden Weyr. A different take on the role of a bard for a fantasy story. However, his relationship wasn’t explained very well, other than the fact that Harpers are well respected. I would like to know why they are so respected. Certainly, Robinton shows his worth in the way he spins the conversations to go in Lessa and F’lar’s favor. Is it because everyone wants a beautiful ballad or tale about them? They have friends in many places? They are good luck?
There isn’t much of a directing story in Dragonquest. Really, it feels like the book ended prematurely. Sure, there is always the threat against the Threads, but there needs to be more conflict than ambiguous fungi.