FINALLY!! (NO SPOILERS)
Yes, *finally* a book by Todd MC worthy of being included in the pantheon of Pern books!
The first couple of Pern books he co-wrote/wrote (DragonKin/Fire/Harper) were shallow and extremely lacking in descriptions and character development, every incident happens at a breakneck pace, foreshadowing of exactly what is going to happen is obvious from about page 25, and overall they seem to be novellas that the publisher had him bulk up to come out in book form. Dragonsblood was ok, but weak with all it's hopping back and forth in time, and with a very pat ending.
But this one - finally! An interesting plot and characters that I actually cared about. Started out with some of the same flaws of the first books, but then developed into a much better book than he's ever written before. The ending was a bit rushed - seemed like there should have been at least a couple pages covering when the two groups reunited for some joint training before rejoining Fort Weyr, but he just skipped right past it.
This is the first one of Todd's books that a) left me waiting/wanting more of the story (he left it right at a point where it will segue into the next book, and b)that I'll be buying to put on my bookshelf with the rest of my complete set of Anne McCaffrey Pern hardcovers. None of his previous books were worth the shelf space, so I am excited to see that he might finally have hit his stride and keep the Pern universe alive.