Powers That Be Review for the Book Group


This month's book pick, Powers That Be, was a reread for me. But a reread of something I hadn't picked up in decades. It was an interesting experience.

Powers That Be centers on Major Yanaba Maddock, a disabled veteran, sent to the icy planet Petaybee to die, but also on one last mission: to spy on the locals and find out what is really going on there. This book has a naive sweetness to it. It reminds me of early McCaffrey books, like the Dragonsinger series. (Also my favorite of her work, and feels very YA to me.) Or even like a Mercedes Lackey book. The storyline features a native culture full of good people having nice parties and being very accepting of alternative lifestyles versus a counter culture that's more stiff and traditional. This is a trope McCaffrey is fond of exploring, like the Weyrs verses the Holds on her best known Pern. I find it interesting to read about, but in my older years I could wish it were less black and white.


The authors use a lot of Intuit culture and mix it with Irish traditions and some simplistic terraforming in a far future science fiction setting, like the Pern books or the Ship Who Searched series. This ends up feeling far more fantasy than sci-fi. One can come up for a scientific explanation as to why the horses would evolve one horn, but one has still stuck a unicorn on ones ice planet.

I know, I know, it sounds like I'm belittling the book. I'm not, but it is a creature of its time. It's like an 80s rock anthem: cheesy, and nostalgic, and taken SO seriously by the musicians who played it. Now it makes me wince a little, but I still put it on and dance around my living room. And I feel guilty and ashamed any time it comes on streaming, or is mocked in some youtube video, because I know all the words.

Powers That Be is kind of like that, only in book form. I know as I read that everything is going to be alright for the characters, the romantic thread is going to pull through, no one is going to hurt too bad. The SF concepts are going to be pretty basic and predictable, essentially I kind of know all the words.

But there is comfort in that. There's a joy in reading a book like this. It's the book equivalent of a decent cup of tea. Not a really good tea with nibbly bits and company, but still tea. And you know how I feel about tea.

Meanwhile, over on Barnes and Noble I am in some very fine company...



{Gail's monthly read along for June is Warprize by Elizabeth Vaughan}

GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .
Magasin des Demoiselles Tuesday, May 1, 1860 v. 41, plate 22

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
East side of Bedford Square #London  (1857) by Thomas Hosford Shepherd

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
How the Mid-List Died


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Gail Carriger's Scribbles! 

The Finishing School 4 Book Series (YA 1850s)

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 1 Prudence, 2 Imprudence (July 19, 2016)
Soulless Manga 3 Book Series (complete at 3)

 $0.99 short stories (ebook only)
My Sister's Song; Marine Biology; Fairy Debt;
The Curious Case (featuring Alessandro Tarabotti)

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