Spoiler Free Summary: I consider All the Weyrs of Pern by Anne McCaffrey to be the final book (sort of) in the Dragonriders of Pern series (at least what is commonly regarded as the first in the main arc). The discovery of AIVAS has changed everything. The Dragonriders of Pern have a hope and a plan that might just eliminate the Thread for good. A battle some have fought their whole lives may come to an end, but it won’t come without sacrifice.
Character: This was the first book I ever cried while reading. And I wept. It’s beautiful. We’ve seen everything these characters have been through and how hard they work together, and this book triumphs when they’re all faced with different challenges to see those dreams come true. If this were a spoilerific review, I would tell you which characters stood out, but that would really ruin certain parts of the story. Needless to say, this was the first series that ever showed me how characters can grow from one book to another. It also showed how endings can be beautiful no matter how sad.
Exposition: AIVAS sort of demands exposition and serves that role nicely. I will admit, when I saw someone go and talk to AIVAS, I was sort of like, “Buckle in. Here come the plot points.” However, given what AIVAS is, one has to expect that, and at least the plot points are hidden in some charming dialogue. Perhaps I’m writing this and giving you the wrong (worst) impression. There are no “super chunks” of exposition to be found in this wonderful book, but there are definitely parts where readers are fed information.
Worldbuilding: This book rewards readers with a final look at the galaxy (of Pern) at large. Readers have been piecing clues together for several books, and this book finally lays everything out nicely. We gain a better understanding of Thread, why is comes and how it relates to the universe at large. The best part is this galaxy is the conflict. These days it’s easy to develop a suitable “big bad” for the heroes to fight against. This book (and series) proves that conflict doesn’t always have to be a fight. Sure, it’s nice, but it’s not all we have to explore.
Dialogue: This story is heavier on dialogue, but most of it is because everything is getting wrapped up. The characters are growing, and this is the last book. Also, readers have to expect AIVAS to provide all the big plot reveals. But the dialogue is more charming, and the characters still have their own unique voices.
Description: This is the best of McCaffrey’s best element. This book is the literary version of a 4-D IMAX theatre just for your brain. She effortlessly provides all the stunning detail you could wish for while never slowing down the plot as it steamrolls to a conclusion that is anticipated despite the absence of a Thanos or Voldemort on the opposite side of a showdown. Instead, this is a cast of character united against an environmental threat that is all the more frightening because it has no motivation whatsoever.
Overall: This book is a large part of the reason I still consider this the best series ever. I love Wheel of Time. Mistborn is genius. Lord of the Rings is amazing worldbuilding, but this story is everything I ever want in a story and more. This series is everything great science fiction and fantasy should be: Wonderful, compelling characters. Great conflict. Fantastic storytelling. If you’re going to try a series to see what this genre is all about, read this one.
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