Dragonflight is by Anne McCaffrey. The first book in the Dragonriders of Pern series, originally published in 1968. This book is as good today as it was when I read it well, more years ago that I want to admit to. Pern is a planet settled by humans, who for whatever reason never returned to visit the colony. The colonists genetically engineered fire breathing beasts they called dragons, after the old Earth variety, to destroy the "threads" which fall from a mysterious red planet that orbits Pern every two hundred years (turns). At the beginning of the story, it has been 400 turns since the last thread fall, and many on Pern have ceased to believe in the danger. The land owners see no reason to support the dragons and their riders any longer, even though there is only one "weyr" out of six left and it appears the dragons and riders are slowly dying out. The remaining dragon riders set out on search to find a female to "impress" with the new queen egg about to hatch. The red planet has also appeared in the sky and those who still believe know that threads are coming and the weyrs may not be able to save Pern this time. A wonderful start to a classic science fiction series.
Ratings: 10th grade - 9 out of 10 - AC (some mature thematic content).