Dragonsinger by Anne McCaffrey
The second in the Harper Hall of Pern series, following Dragonsong sees Menolly in the Harper Hall, where she must learn not only how important her music is but how to fit in the apprentices and girls who reside there. Harpers are important in the world of Pern, as their music tells the story of what has happened and can influence the thinking of the people who listen to their songs.
This is a story about the new girl at school, one where Menolly is unsure of her place and her talent. At the sea hold of her father, she had been forbidden to sing her songs or to play music, so a place where she is encouraged and expected to grow her talents seems strange to her. However, with the encouragement of Harper Robinton, new friend Piemur and journeyman Sebell, Menolly gradually begins to realise how much she must learn, but also to appreciate what she has already accomplished. She must overcome the envy of the girls from the holds and the jealousy of some of the apprentices, learn to control her little fire dragons, and cope with cranky teachers, but overarching this is her love for music and her desire to play.
Unlike many of the fantasy books published today, this is shorter (288 pages) and easily accessible for readers. The Harper Hall of Pern series is one that would make an excellent introduction to science fiction/fantasy as it is easy to read and the characters are very engaging.
Themes: Dragons, Harpists, Music, Fantasy.