Spoiler Free Summary: The Masterharper of Pern by Anne McCaffrey is the biography of Pern’s Masterharper, Robinton, who is one of my favorite characters in the series. His story is beautiful and tragic. Here we see his birth and growth in both music and Pern politics. We see him from a boy to his full-fledged growth as the name of this title implies. This book takes a character I already love and multiplies his sympathy by infinity.
Character: If the above summary didn’t express it, Robinton is probably my third favorite character in the series (Ruth and Jaxom). He’s such a sympathetic (kind) person. He’s not necessarily proactive, but he doesn’t have to be because he’s not a main POV character so much. This allows him to have the same feeling I get when I see one of those kind mentor characters in a TV show like that neighbor from Home Improvement. This book addresses his proactivity by revealing the parts of his life that required more action. The lack of proactivity is actually offset by his confidence. He’s a clever, gifted person.
Exposition: For fans of Pern, this books is wonderful because McCaffrey assumes that readers are fans. The down side applies only to those who aren’t already fans because McCaffrey doesn’t take a lot of time catching readers up. So I’d recommend reading this book after the series. But this choice allows readers to see the plot and read at a fast pace without having to learn the history of Pern.
Worldbuilding: This book is way more about giving readers more Robinton than it is about expanding the world. We get a look into Pern politics and society a bit, which isn’t really my favorite thing. However, since the Pern saga is so great at this anyway, I really only read this book to get more of Robinton, so I got what I wanted. The bottom line here is if you want to see the world of Pern expanded, this isn’t what you’re looking for.
Dialogue: I feel like dialogue is already one of McCaffrey’s areas of strength. However, there’s one particular scene involving Robinton’s music that is based in dialogue, and it’s such a strong scene that it really conveys how to use dialogue effectively in a story to develop character. That scene alone holds in my mind even though it’s been years since I’ve read the book.
Description: I feel like the same relationship this story has with its decreased worldbuilding is the same here. The description that is here is great and visceral, there just aren’t a lot of new elements to note, so there isn’t much additional detail. So I’d say the description is good in quality but low in amount.
Overall: This book was exactly what I wanted it to be. After reading the main series, I wanted to know Robinton better. This is a great dramatic biography of one of the best characters I’ve ever had the joy to meet and fall in love with. If you’re a fan of Pern, this book is just a wonderful character journey, so if you like character driven drama, this is for you.
Thanks for reading