How To Read Dragonriders Of Pern Books In Order (By Anne McCaffrey)

The Dragonriders Of Pern series is composed of over twenty books, written by American-Irish author Anne McCaffrey.

How To Read Dragonriders Of Pern Books In Order (By Anne McCaffrey)

This science fantasy book series was first published in 1968 and still continues to wow fans to this day.

If you enjoy expansive fantasy worlds, science fiction, or an amalgamation of the two, then the Dragonriders Of Pern book series should be on your radar.

These books are great for kids and adults alike, as the author, Anne McCaffrey is a wonderful storyteller and world-builder.

About Dragonriders Of Pern


The Dragonriders of Pern book series is incredibly popular, while Anne McCaffrey has been praised for her intricate world of Pern, along with her excellent descriptive writing.

You really feel that the dragons that surround Pern are real, and the characters and riders are believable and relatable.

Many have called these books some of the all-time classics of science fiction, while Anne McCaffrey has been dubbed a Sunday Times bestselling author and a New York Times bestselling author.

The books take place in a remote, pre-industrial world where characters live simple lives.

This life is about to be turned upside down when their home is about to come under fire by an ancient myth. The protagonist and her dragon must work together to save Pern.

Dragonriders Of Pern Books In Order

The Dragonriders Of Pern books are best read in publication order.

However, there is one book, The White Dragon that was published later, that needs to be read later in the series as it continues the story of the same characters from a previous book.

Nonetheless, let’s start with the first installment, Dragonflight.


Dragonflight (Pern)

An eerie, evil substance, Thread that falls like rain, destroying everything it touches is looming on Pern.

In ancient times, the Dragonriders would protect the planet from Thread but there are so few of them left. But, only the Queen can breed new dragons, and her strength is failing quickly…

The story begins with Lessa, a poor kitchen girl. She serves all those who once betrayed her father and stole his lands, but she is a survivor.

Lessa wants to take back all that is hers. She meets a Queen dragon, and they form a deep and unbreakable bond.

Now, Lessa must risk her and her dragon’s life to save everything she holds dear!



  • Some readers feel it lacks suspense and is slow-paced.

Themes: Sci-fi, Fantasy, Mythological Creatures, Revenge.



Once again, the deadly Thread is beginning to fall. The Dragonriders must take flight and scorch the strands of thread with Dragonfire before they destroy everything!

The protagonist in this installment, F’lar hopes to find a way to protect the land of Pern, before the rebels do it first.


  • The author creates a highly immersive world.


  • Some issues with consent that some readers are uncomfortable about.

Themes: Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Adventure, Threat, Rebellion.


Dragonsong (1) (Harper Hall of Pern)

Dragonsong is the first in the Harper Hall trilogy, followed by Dragonsinger, and Dragondrums.

If you wanted a taste of Dragonriders Of Pern, then you could read these books as a standalone series, but they are part of and set in the wonderful world of Pern that McCaffrey has created.

In the third installment in the Dragonriders Of Pern series, a fifteen-year-old called Menolly creates a bond with the beautiful and magnificent dragons.

The dragons have protected Pern for many years from the deadly Thread, but their numbers, along with those of their riders are quickly dwindling.

Less and less dragons roam the skies, and Thread threatens to destroy the world once again.

But, Menolly has a dream to become a singer, and Harper. She is talented, but her father doesn’t want her to pursue her dreams.

As a result, Menolly runs away from home and stumbles upon nine fire lizards that could help save the world.


  • Readers are introduced to the crafts and Harpers of Pern.


  • It is hard to follow at points- with the fire lizards being a hot commodity but we are not told why.

Themes: Saving Of Mankind, Fantasy, Dragon Lore, Sci-Fi, Female Heroine.


[(Dragonsinger: Harper of Pern )] [Author: Anne McCaffrey] [Mar-1982]

In this novel, Menolly arrives at the Harper Craft Hall, riding a huge bronze-colored dragon, followed closely by her fire lizards.

A Masterharper of Pern takes an interest in Menolly and has picked her as his apprentice.

Her devoted lizards keep her going through all of the heartaches and issues in her life, with only more of them to come…


  • Second book in the Harper Hall series that follows Menolly.


  • As it is a middle book in a trilogy, some readers feel there is no climax.

Themes: Fantasy, Dragons, Female Lead, Sci-Fi, Identity.


Dragondrums (Harper Hall Trilogy)

While The White Dragon was next to be published, we recommend reading Dragondrums next as it completes the Harper Hall trilogy.

In this book, Piemur was chosen out of all of the singers at Harper Hall to have the leading role, but then his voice broke.

His life is turned upside down, and his future at the Hall becomes uncertain. But Masterharper Robinton and Menolly have other plans for him.

He has all of the skills to keep the fearsome Oldtimers (the rebels) in check.

Now, Piemur must try to maintain his place in Harper Hall, while also running errands and protecting Pern from the Oldtimers. One errand would change his life forever.


  • This is the final installment in the Harper Hall trilogy and rounds up the story.


  • Long-winded storyline, and some inappropriate scenes for younger readers.

Themes: Coming Of Age, Fantasy, Dragons, Sci-Fi.

The White Dragon

White Dragon (Dragon Books)

The White Dragon follows the tale of the young Lord Jaxom and his incredible white dragon, Ruth. He is strong, magnificent, and pure white.

He is different from the other dragons and has a unique talent- he can communicate with the beautiful fire lizards, and he could fly.

Everyone thought that the white dragon was simply a runt, but Jaxom knew that this dragon was special.

He trains the dragon to fight against the horrible Threads that threaten their world, in one of the most thrilling and unforgettable installments of the Dragonriders of Pern series.


  • Often the favorite book of the series for some readers.


  • Jaxom is an unlikable character for many readers.

Themes: Identity, Fitting In, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Dragons, Isolation.

Moreta: Dragonlady Of Pern

Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern. Anne McCaffrey (Dragon Books)

This book follows the protagonist, Moreta, and her golden dragon, Orlith.

It takes place many years ago and encompasses the story of the Dragonlady of Pern, who is one of the greatest legends in the history and dragonlore of Pern.

Many years ago, when all of the creatures on Pern were threatened by Threadfall, Moretea must ride her dragon and prevent the planet from extinction.


  • Provides a backstory of the history of Pern and one of its heroes and legends. It could also be a standalone novel.


  • Does not progress the series, but instead goes back in time.

Themes: Legend, Mythological Creatures, Danger, Fantasy, Sci-Fi.

Nerilka’s Story

Nerilka's Story (Dragon Books)

When a deadly epidemic takes over Pern, everyone must come together to help. Nerilka’s father refused to share his fort’s bounty with others.

So, ashamed of his actions, Nerilka packed up supplies and headed out to help other people.

Her quest took her to many places, but she ends up in Ruatha Hold and meets Lord Alessan, who needs her help to prepare the serum needed to cure the dreaded plague.


  • Told from Nerilka’s point of view and is a break from McCaffrey’s third-person perspective.


  • This book is another side plot and does not progress the series.

Themes: Identity, Adventure, Death, Threat, Fantasy, Sci-Fi.



Dragonsdawn tells readers where it all began…how the dragons came to be before there were holds and Dragonriders, and before the deadly Thread.

Pern was a beautiful, peaceful planet, filled with stunning views of mountains, oceans, rivers, and foliage.

But, when strange circles begin appearing in the grass, everything is at risk.

A horrible death begins to consume all, and every man, woman, and child is under threat. This book is a breathtaking backstory of the dawn of the dragons on Pern.


  • Exciting novel about the humble beginnings of Pern.


  • Again, the pace of the series is slowed down drastically.

Themes: Threat, Destruction, Colonization, Fantasy, Sci-Fi.

The Renegades Of Pern

The Renegades Of Pern (The Dragon Books)

All of the misfits, outcasts, murderers, and criminals on Pern have no home, no Hold, and no Crafthall. They were completely outcast and some even wanted revenge.

That was until Thella, Lady Holder of Telgar began to collect them, creating an evil clan with deadly force. They were now The Renegades Of Pern.

The passing of the Red Star has once again brought a reign of Threadfall, and Toric is working to create his own empire in the southern lands.

Thella is building her strength, banding together her miscreants, and is ready to enact revenge.

One of her renegades, Jayge Lilcamp escapes the group, seeing for himself the evil that Thella has created.

This time, he wants his own revenge and wants to stop the evilest woman on Pern for himself.


  • A very diverse plot with many things going on at once, and a fantastically written villain.


  • Doesn’t flow as well as others in the series.

Themes: Revenge, Identity, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Outcasts.

All The Weyrs Of Pern

All the Weyrs of Pern

An artificial intelligence voice system called AIVAS has been discovered at Landing, and the whole of Pern is amazed at the knowledge it has.

AIVAS has stored knowledge of all of the crafts of Pern that have long been forgotten, and it shows promise to rid Pern of Thread for all time.

All of the great ones of Pern have to learn how to operate it and enact its incredible plan, but this could put all of the dragons at risk.


  • You get to see the ancestors and how Pern developed in more detail.


  • Does not provide insight into the Red Star or Thread, which some readers disliked.

Themes: Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Mythological Creatures.

The Chronicles Of Pern: First Fall

The Chronicles of Pern : First Fall

In this installment, we see a little more of the backstory of Pern. This book is set in the early days of Pern, from the first colonization, and when the mass evacuation from the southern continent took place.

This book also encompasses the story of Ruatha Hold, when Fort Weyr was the only Weyr, and Dragonriders and dragons were overcrowding the land.

When three new Weyrs are set to be created, a girl called Torene realizes that her dragon could be the next Queen.


  • This book is a collection of stories that provide insight into the history of Pern.


  • The collection of stories is not a standalone plot or novel, so it does not progress the series much.

Themes: Short Stories, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Dragons.

The Dolphins Of Pern

The Dolphins of Pern

After being caught in a sudden squall beyond the Paradise River Hold, Readis Lilcamp is rescued by the ‘shipfish’.

AIVAS says that the fish are called dolphins, and are some of the first settlers on Pern.

On Earth, these dolphins were once bonded with men and had learned to speak.

So, Readis and his uncle set out to restore these dolphins and the partnership they had with men. Meanwhile, the threat of the Thread is ever present!


  • The plot focuses on re-establishing a connection between the dolphin characters and mankind for a stronger Pern.


  • There is an introduction to a rigid and sexist society, which some readers fear is outdated.

Themes: Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Dragons, Mythological Creatures, Animals.


Dragonseye (Dragonriders of Pern Series)

Two hundred years of peace have passed since the last rainfall of Thread upon Pern.

No one still alive remembers what happened, and no one is wary of its return. That is except for the Dragonriders.

They have been training for centuries, ready to take down the Thread if it ever resurfaces.

Soon enough, signs of its return and the approach of the Red Star begin appearing, and many still believe it will not threaten life on Pern.

Dragonriders must face this deadly enemy before history repeats itself.


  • Easy to read, there is no confusion between characters and plot lines like there is in other books in the series.


  • Some readers feel it is too familiar a story with Thread appearing time and time again.

Themes: Danger, Threat To Mankind, Fantasy, Sci-Fi.

The Masterharper Of Pern

The Masterharper of Pern

Master Harper Petiron and Master Singer Merelan were an amazing and devoted couple.

They were the leaders in their fields and had a child, Robinton. But, Petiron could not see the talent that Robinton had, and was so strict and disapproving of him from pretty much the day he was born.

Harper Hall trained the boy in secret, creating one of the greatest talents Pern had ever witnessed, as Robinton was able to talk to the dragons.

Robinton is soon swept up in a plot to save Lessa from the rule of Holder Fax, as she is the key to saving the dragons of Pern.


  • A must-read for fantasy dragon lovers, with an exciting plot.


  • The plot can become disorientating and disorganized at times.

Themes: Fantasy, Sci-fi, Young Adult, Adventure, Music.

The Skies Of Pern

The Skies of Pern

In the next installment, a new age is beginning on Pern, as the dragons have managed to alter the orbit of The Red Star, changing the course of the Thread forever.

However, new threats are beginning to emerge, and the Abominators want to destroy all of the records on Pern of the Old Ones.

A cometary fragment is making its way towards Pern, and cannot be deflected.

The dragons, their riders, craftsmen, and normal folk on Pern are at risk in this heroic tale of survival.


  • Provides a glimpse of what the future of Pern may look like.


  • It is a long and complex book.

Themes: Adventure, Fantasy, Dragons, Mythological Creatures, Sci-Fi.

Dragon’s Kin

Dragon's Kin

This installment follows the young Kindan, who wants nothing more than to join his father in the mines of Camp Natalon.

But, mining is a dangerous task, and the camp is watched over by an ancient creature that is distantly related to dragons.

When disaster strikes, Kindan is orphaned, and the camp has no “watch-wher”. The camp’s Harper takes in Kindan, and he is selected to hatch and train a new watch-wher.

Losing his dream of being a Harper, Kindan has a new destiny that will change his life forever.

When more tension and danger looms, Kindan and his friend, Nuella discover that the watch-wher has its own talents that could save the Hold.


  • Brilliant story-telling and world-building.


  • Not so much about the dragons, but about Watch-Whers instead.

Themes: Fantasy, Sci-fi, Adventure, Dragons, Young Adult.


Dragonsblood (Pern Book 18)

This story begins with the geneticist Wind Blossom in Pern AL 50, who is coming to the end of her very long life, but she is fearful that the colonists will not have the modern technology that the settlers once had.

She worries that society will revert back to a time when they had no resources to fight off disease, and mankind could be at risk.

In Pern AL 507: Lorana is an animal healer, and soon discovers that a horrible and deadly plague threatens to wipe out the dragons. She travels back in time with her fire lizards to the era of Wind Blossom.

Wind Blossom is able to devise a cure for the dragons and tries to leave clues for Lorana so that she can create a cure herself in the modern time and save all of the dragons and mankind on Pern.


  • An interesting tale of the early days of the dragonriders on Pern.


  • This book uses a lot of tropes from McCaffrey’s other books, making you feel as if you have read it before.

Themes: Time Travel, Saviors, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Dragons.

Dragon’s Fire

Dragon's Fire (The Dragon Books)

This installment is set at Natalon’s mining camp, where Pellar is about to go on a secret mission to see if the criminals, the Shunned, are stealing the coal.

He soon discovers a thief called Tenim and finds that there is a lot of value in firestone.

When the last firestone mine is destroyed, Tenim has a plan, and Pellar and his friends must stop him before it is too late.


  • Provides more history of Pern, including the mines and the concept of firestone.


  • Continuity is sometimes difficult to follow.

Themes: Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Adventure, Adult.

Dragon Harper

Dragon Harper (Dragon Books)

In this book, Kindan is an apprentice harper at the infamous Harper Hall and is finding it too hard. He of course has friends, but some enemies too.

He is bullied by Vaxoram, but things start to improve when he beats Vaxoram in a duel. Then, Kindan becomes the proud owner of the magnificent Valla.

During the hatching, he meets Koriana, the daughter of Lord Holder Bemin.

They soon fall in love, but all is not well, as a plague starts to spread across Pern. Kindan and his friends must find a cure before more people die.


  • Characters are great and very complex. The introduction of telepathic dragons and strong female characters has been hailed by readers.


  • Cannot be read as a standalone novel, and some readers feel that Todd McCaffrey’s work is not as good as his mother’s.

Themes: Fantasy, Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Dragons, Threat, Plague.


[Dragonheart] (By: Todd J McCaffrey) [published: October, 2009]

Dragonheart is Anne’s son, Todd McCaffrey’s first solo novel, having worked in collaboration on some of the others before.

This book has been hailed by critics and loved by the readers of the Dragonriders Of Pern series.

In this book, a sickness falls over the Weyrs of Pern, posing a deadly threat to the fire lizards and the dragons.

When the next Threadfall is looming, Pern is losing their only defense against it.

Fiona, the only surviving daughter of Lord Bemin is about to become a Weyrewoman and is hearing a strange voice in her mind.

Thread has been sighted, and the Weyrlings must come together with the leaders and riders to find clues from the past that could save them from the deadly plague.


  • The introduction of Fion is terrific, she is assertive, a leader, and a strong young woman.


  • The first book entirely written without Anne McCaffrey, which some fans do not like.

Themes: Young Adult, Strong Female Lead, Survival, Fantasy, Sci-Fi.



In Dragongirl, Fiona returns to Fort Weyr and discovers that the queen, Talenth, is infected with the deadly plague.

With Lorena and Kildan’s help, the dragons can recover. But, with thousands of dragons already gone, the remaining ones may not be able to protect Pern from the deadly Thread.


  • This book offers an excellent story arc, with great story-telling and likable characters.


  • Some readers dislike Todd McCaffrey’s intense favoritism for Kindan.

Themes: Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Young Adult, Adventure.

Dragon’s Time

Dragon's Time

Lorena has been able to cure some of the dragons’ sickness but so many have already died.

There are no longer enough dragons to protect Pern. More and more die with each Threadfall, so Lorena goes forward in time to bring the dragons from the future back to fight off the Thread.



  • Some readers dislike the clumsy dialogue and prose.

Themes: Strong Female Lead, Fantasy, Threat, Sci-Fi, Time Travel.

Sky Dragons

Sky Dragons

In Sky Dragons, Pern has its last chance to rebuild the dragon population.

Their chances lie with the young dragonriders and their dragons found on a desolate, unexplored island.

The leader, Xhinna, must earn the respect of everyone, but she has controversial ideas, and without her help, the baby dragons cannot be born or saved from predators…


  • The story focuses more on the dragons and how they hatch and grow.


  • This was the last book that Anne McCaffrey had any involvement with.

Themes: Fantasy, Dragons, Sci-Fi, Adventure, Adult.

Dragon’s Code

Dragon's Code: Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern (Pern: The Dragonriders of Pern)

In the Dragon’s Code, a new hero emerges to save a divided Pern. The last time Thread attacked, the world was unprepared.

That was until the Oldtimers appeared from the past, and helped aid survival. But, the collision of past and present was difficult to face, and the rescuers had to adapt to a new reality.


  • Anne McCaffrey’s daughter continues the legacy that she left behind, filling the rich world with another story and interesting characters.


  • Some readers feel this is a failed attempt to resurrect Anne’s work.

Themes: Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Young Adult, Dragons, Adventure.

Final Thoughts

To summarize, the Dragonriders Of Pern is an excellent fantasy series beloved by many.

It is best to read these books in chronological order, or the order in which they were published, with the exception of The White Dragon, which should be read after Dragondrums.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Dragonriders Of Pern Books Are There?

At present, there are 27 Dragonriders Of Pern books in total, this includes 24 novels and two collections of short stories.

Who Wrote Dragonriders Of Pern?

Dragonriders Of Pern was initially written by Anne McCaffrey, but as the series continued, Anne’s son, Todd McCaffrey worked in collaboration with her to continue the series.

Dragon’s Code, one of the later books in the series, is written by Gigi McCaffrey, Anne’s daughter.

YouTube video
Anna Davis