Dragon’s Code – Gigi McCaffrey

Pern #26

Piemur, mischievous young harper boy, is growing up. His voice has broken, and he doesn’t sing anymore, spending all his time mapping and spying for the Masterharper, and wondering what to do with his life.

2.5 stars
In brief: The kind of magic that McCaffrey mere brought to bear is sadly missing.

Dragonflight – Anne McCaffrey

Pern #1

The rightful heir to Ruatha Hold, hiding in plain sight from its tyrannical conqueror, is friends only with the Hold’s small, dragon-like watch-wher. When true dragons and their riders appear unexpectedly, she seizes the moment to try to win back her heritage, and finds something else entirely.

4 stars
In brief: Deserves its place as a classic.

Irontown Blues – John Varley

Eight Worlds #0

On the moon, a hard-boiled detective and his dog are hired to find justice for a mysterious woman nefariously infected with a virus. Naturally, they find more than they anticipated.

3 stars
In brief: Effective time filler, but a story that will vanish from memory almost immediately.

Outcasts of Order – L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

Saga of Recluce #20

Having fled one country already, the black-mage-trained-as-white Beltur is trying to make a place in Elparta for himself and his intended Jessyla. The local Council has other plans, and soon Beltur, Jessyla, and their friends are on the run once again.

3 stars
In brief: There's a decent story here, but it could and should have been told in 200 pages, instead of well over 600 of excruciating minutiae.

Beneath the Sugar Sky – Seanan McGuire

Wayward Children #3

At a home for young people who can move between worlds but are temporarily out of the appropriate one, Rini arrives unexpectedly, falling out of thin air into a turtle pond. She’s from the bakery world of Confection, and looking to resurrect her mother, whose death before Rini’s conception is leading to Rini’s gradual disappearance. It’s odd, but that’s how things work in a Nonsense world.

3 stars
In brief: A passable YA novel, and probably fun if you're already immersed.

Dark is the Sun – Philip Jose Farmer

At the twilight of a world, a young man goes in search of mate, but soon loses his soul egg. Without it, he’s no one, and in his search for it, he finds adventure, science, magic, love, and escape from a rapidly collapsing world.

3 stars
In brief: An interesting world, decent (if into entirely credible) characters, and a challenging quest.