This is the last book in The Harper Hall Trilogy and is quite different than the first two. The first two books were focused on Menolly, a very musically talented girl from a fisher family whose wildest dream is fulfilled when she comes to Harper Hall to be trained as a Harper. (Think mix of bard, teacher, diplomat.) She brings with her firelizards, the precursors and miniatures of the mighty sentient fighting dragons of Pern who partner with humans to fight "thread," an inimical alien life form that periodically threatens the planet. This "firelizard" young adult trilogy parallels more or less the events of the Dragonrider trilogy, which was (mostly) written first. Although my introduction to this series as a young teen was actually Dragonsong, the first in this trilogy, and I loved it, and Menolly. So I found it disconcerting when the focus on this book was Piermur, who is a minor character in the other books, and Menolly in turn became a minor character in this one. I found that disappointing, and I just can't count this as the favorite the first two books were, but this is still from the time that McCaffrey's Pern was charming and surprising, and certainly is a good read in its own right.