Powers That Be (Petaybee, #1)
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Powers That Be (Petaybee #1)

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  3,669 ratings  ·  69 reviews
Major Yanaba Maddock wasn't much good to the company anymore. With lungs practicaly destroyed by poison gas in a military debacle, she could barely breathe without coughing, much less do anything the least bit strenuous. But it wasn't the company's way to discard those they might still find some use for... and so they retired Yana to the icy planet Petaybee to do their spy...more
Hardcover, 311 pages
Published June 8th 1993 by Del Rey (first published 1993)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Meghan
I'm a big fan of McCaffrey anyway, but this book is particularly strong. The premise has a breath of native american or druidic intent, but in that way anne has of making it all bigger than life.

After you get comfortable with the scenery (not a difficult task), the plot really takes over. You're pulling for the characters the whole time. I loved it.
Alysha DeShaé
Jan 29, 2011 Alysha DeShaé rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: everyone
My full review is here on my personal website. I'll post my conclusion here, though:

4.5 out of 5.0 stars

So, why did I knock off half a point? I think the relationship between Sean and Yana is a little rushed. I guess with everything else that goes on in the story that both characters are involved in that it just feels like they don’t have time to try to be a couple.

However, this book is incredible! If I had a physical edition of this book it would go on my special bookshelf. One day, I will own...more
Gail Carriger
Oddly apt for a winter read, this book 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 McCaffery books, like the Dragonsinger series. (Which is also my favorite of her work, and feels very YA to me.) Or even like a Mercades Lackey book. The story-line features a native culture full of good people...more
Barbara
I was surprised that I could come to like a setting that was mostly ice and snow! But once again McCaffrey, along with Elizabeth Scarborough this time, created a world that I could live in, and especially characters that I could love. I think my favorite is Bunny, the teenaged snocle driver who first befriends Yana Maddock and becomes her guide to this frozen world.

While the story is science fiction with a little fantasy, there's almost a spiritual aspect to it. It presents us with a planet that...more
Amy
This book started off really promising and was mostly good. And then the ending was truly awful. Everything I hate about fantasy and romance packed into just a few chapters. Ugh.
(view spoiler)
Doris
One of the reasons I picked this up is, at the time it was written there were few good stories involving female veterans, at least not as the central character. In this, we have a female veteran who has been "released" from active duty, and sent to the planet Petaybee to recover from an injury she suffered in the line of duty. Like any military service, the release has a few conditions, in this case Yana is to spy on the colonists and report back on why the company is not seeing the results (pro...more
Amy
This book is. . . well, it's ok. It's not going to change your world in any way, profound or otherwise, but if you have to point your eyes at something for a while, you could point them at a lot worse things than Powers That Be.

The mostly inoffensive story begins on the frozen ice world of Hoth - er, Petaybee, that is - where our hero, Major Yana Maddock, has just been transferred. Maddock is on a forced medical retirement, having been seriously injured, as well as the lone survivor, of some pr...more
Al
Feb 07, 2013 Al added it
From Publishers Weekly

A frontier society outwits a big, uncaring parent company in this appealing joint venture by McCaffrey ( Damia's Children ) and Scarborough ( The Healer's War ), the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning representatives of two generations of science fiction writers. Major Yanaba Maddock, medically retired with severely damaged lungs after military action aboard a space station, is pressured into acting as a spy by her employer, the sinister Intergal corporation. Colonel Giancarlo

...more
Brian Schiebout
Powers That Be by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough is the first book set in the Petaybee universe. The book is a romantic science fiction story whose main character Yanaba Maddock discovers that her life may not be over after all when she is sent off to the world of Petaybee. When the story begins her lungs are shot from poison gas which she inhaled during an insurrection on a planet where she was serving as company military. As a result she is discharged and sent to the ice planet o...more
Minh
Anne McCaffrey is one of my guilty pleasures. Her Brain Ships series is probably one of my favourite SF series to read, and I'd thought for certain that I'd read most of her early trilogies. Powers That Be has never been a favourite of mine (I think the Crystal Singers is way up there though), I do own one or two of the novels from the Powers series, but for some reason it doesn't pull me as strongly as her other books do.

Yana, the main character is a battle stricken veteran who is sent to Peta...more
Kate Lansky
This is my favorite in the trilogy and, looking back on it, probably was a big influence on my own writing. I think this was likely one of the first books I read that looked at things from an anthropological viewpoint, showing me the reader how to look at a world as an outsider.

I read the book at a time when I was very into all things green - and as such, and being younger, the heavy-handedness of the preservation message didn't quite register as such. I read the book, agreed with the message, a...more
Kyra Dune
Powers That Be is a little strange, but interesting. I didn't find myself really connecting with any of the characters and I'm not sure why. Some of the elements of this story are definitely unique, at least in my reading experience. This is a nice, light science fiction story with a little romance and mystery thrown in for good measure. Not a bad book at all, but it simply didn't catch hold of me enough to make me want to buy the next book in the series.
Roberta
Mar 31, 2013 Roberta rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: McCaffrey fans, SF fans
Shelves: sciencefiction
The start of a series about genetic adaptations to cold weather planets. The main character is pretty well done and likeable, the world is interesting, and if it weren't for that fact that it was a subarctic climate, Utopian.

The book is a little preachy in the pro-environment sense, which doesn't bother me that much since I do feel that most corporations exploit the environment and their employees. But if that part of the writing doesn't bother you, then enjoy.

Mostly, it is a good story told in...more
Kris
I enjoyed re-reading this book, having just finished the Twins of Petaybee which is a sequel trilogy. It's been years (10?) since I last read it and I can't wait to get my hands on the other two in this first trilogy. Major Yanaba Maddock, her lungs badly damaged in a military incident, is being retired to an out-of-the way planet populated by "ips", short for "inconvenient people". Strange things happen to Company investigators looking for the planet's supposedly rich resources, and Yana is ask...more
Blake Baguley
This was great fun to read and makes you a just a tad suspicious about where they got the idea for Avatar from. The one thing I didn't like was how they felt they had to spoon-feed you every plot development. Most of the foreshadowing seemed more like forescreaming, with the result that nothing really shocked you when it finally occurred (after the 10th blatant hint). Or maybe I've just read too many McCaffrey books in a row. That's probably why I'm sick of every character's eyes dancing, flashi...more
♆ BookAddict ~ La Crimson Femme
I enjoyed this book where once again we are pioneers on a new world, trying to cultivate the land. I find this concept interesting and I enjoy it so much when it is fantasy. Somehow, when it is the "wild west" westerners I am totally turned off. Anyway, back to this story, I wanted to learn more about the planet - Petaybee. It is kind of the Mother Gaia concept. I liked Yanaba and her snarky attitude. After reading so many of Ms. McCaffrey's books, I'd have to say that her heroines may have diff...more
Grace
Certainly not the best of McCaffrey's series. I like Yana's military background and the worldbuilding, but this book and the one following are pretty flimsy. There's a lot of Celtic/Inuit stuff, and some political maneuvering, so McCaffrey was certainly still involved during "Powers That Be" and probably also "Power Lines". Quite a bit more heavy breathing than usual, and the mysticism comes right up against being too ooo-ee-ooo for my tastes. Without the military and political elements, I would...more
Mollie *scoutrmom*
The theme of this seems to be corporate ethics. We have a version of manifest destiny in space bumping up against non-scientific forces. The humans who believe the truth are unable to convince their superiors of the facts since known science seems to contradict their stories.

Instead of a government being in charge, it is the profit-seeking heartless corporate entity that is the Powers That Be of the title.

A great adventure story with a love story in the background.

Now I want to read more of the...more
Snafu77
Summary: I missed this series first time around, I don't think it is her strongest material, but enjoyable. I suspect I would have liked it better 20 years ago.

Plotline: Doesn't really make sense if you think too much about it, but a good little plot, with some romance thrown in.

Premise: Some weaknesses here, and though we get to know alot about the planet, not much about the universe.

Writing: Clear and precise, very readable

Ending: Good climax

Pace: pretty good, steady rather than fast.
Samuel Proulx
I really enjoyed the setting of this book; based loosely on reality, the surrounding environment and community is powerful and well shown. The characters[return]are interesting and believable, and the premise of the book works well. Unfortunately, the resolution is just a little far fetched and fantastic for my[return]taste. However, it's still worth the read. You'll enjoy every minute you spend getting there, just beware that at the end you may find you did not enjoy[return]where you got.
Ruby
Apr 18, 2011 Ruby rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: McCaffrey fans and scifi/fantasy fans
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Siobhan Parker
A Quickie Review

Anne McCaffrey may be one of the best-known names in science fiction literature, but this book was merely mediocre. The plot was okay, but it wasn't as engrossing as it could have been, and the writing felt lackluster. If you're new to this author, I would suggest reading The Dragonriders of Pern first, though veteran McCaffrey fans might enjoy this to a degree.



Score: 2.75/5
MarsianMan
A novel about a female veteran discharged from duty due to injury in the line of duty. Except the discharge has a small amount of spy work. It seems that mining teams on Petaybee never end up finding the minerals that are seen from satellite. It is Yanaba's job to find out what is going on this icy planet.

A light novel that was quick to read and more interesting for the unique (at least to me) plot line.
Sharon
This is not my favorite McCaffrey collaboration, but it does have several redeeming qualities. The authors' description of life on a cold climate is very detailed and they include some pretty incisive criticism of religious fanatics and corporate yahoos. Some of the more "woo woo" aspects of the plot (selkies and senitent planets) are a bit hard to swallow, but the romance is quite well done.
Mara
A nice and intriguing plot, but I can't say it's a nice and intriguing book. I could have stopped reading and not really cared of what was going to happen. I did not hook me, the characters are cute but simple, mostly black and white. You know what's going to happen quite early in the story.

I consider it an ok book that doesn't compel me to keep reading the trilogy.
Peter
Brilliant! Anne McCaffrey does it again.: I'm a huge McCaffrey fan, and this start to the Petaybe trio is just as good as the dragon books! A great buy, the others in this series are nearly as good, and round the story of Yana and the people and planet of Petaybe off really well. I have read this book dozens of times since I bought it, and it's just as good every time!
Nicole Marble
Aug 29, 2007 Nicole Marble rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: SF lovers
After reading 'literature' and heavy duty non-fiction, reading SF is fun! In this case the writers create their won world, tell their story, and tey to figure out how to end the story w/o the readers rolling their eyes in disbelief.
This story takes place on a cold distant planet inhabited by Irish Roarks and Seans and hearty familiar animals. I only rolled one eye.
Alsha
Another fond reread from my early teenage years. Vivid, tangible scene-setting makes for an experience of a unique way of life. The characters are simple but wholesome. Ultimately it's the combination of old-country arctic lifestyle cum space age culture that makes it an imaginative read well suited to winter. Also, sled dogs and telepathic cats!
Hilary
This was another of those books where the characters changed so much between the beginning and the end that I felt compelled to start re-reading right away. The unusual mix of Inuit and Irish traditions meant for interesting reading, and from an anthropological standpoint I also enjoyed seeing the comparison between The Company and The Natives.
Peter Walton-Jones
Sentient planet about to be ecologically devastated by mining of its resources story....but not if the planet, and some committed believers, have anything to do about it. A slow start like many of these stories, but a good build up with plenty left in the tank for more. "Avatar" springs to mind....
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26
Anne McCaffrey was born on April 1st, 1926, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at 1:30 p.m., in the hour of the Sheep, year of the Fire Tiger, sun sign Aries with Taurus rising and Leo mid-heaven (which seems to suggest an early interest in the stars).

Her parents were George Herbert McCaffrey, BA, MA PhD (Harvard), Colonel USA Army (retired), and Anne Dorothy McElroy McCaffrey, estate agent. She had two...more
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