Dragonflight is the first book set in Anne McCaffrey’s world of Pern. Set in a time where human have achieved spaceflight, colonized another world, and then devolved into a feudalistic society, Dragonflight introduced the readers to the the people and dragons of Pern.
Ever two hundred years, the Red Star passes Pern, bringing with it what’s known as the Threads. These Threads, if they make it to the earth below, leech into the ground and suck the life out of it’s surroundings. Dragons are the main defense against the Threads. They using their fire-breathing and flight abilities to burn the Threads out of the air before they ever reach the ground.
The people of Pern, though, have stopped believing in the Threads and the threat they pose. They become disrespectful and even mutinous against dragons and their dragonriders. Traditions and training are failing. F’lar, a bronze dragonrider, wants to change that. He sets out in search of a woman to be the rider of the new dragon queen. He finds Lessa, a dirty, mistreated member of a slaughter family. Together, they prepare their weyr (the collective of dragons and dragonriders) for the Threads.
McCaffrey’s first Pern novel is very much story driven. It’s full of world-building and crisis. There’s little room for character development, but that doesn’t seem to take away from the story. And with so many subsequent books, there’s time to delve more deeply into the characters. The Pern books are cannon for any lover of fantasy.