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3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  4,603 Ratings  ·  304 Reviews
With the publication of The Gate to Women's Country, Sheri S. Tepper came to be recognized as a major science fiction writer. Now the author of Raising the Stones and Grass -- a New York Times Notable Book and Hugo Award finalist -- turns to Beauty, a fantasy with a story that is more, much more than fable.

Drawing on the wellspring of much-loved, well-remembered fairy tale
Paperback, 463 pages
Published December 23rd 2009 by Bantam Spectra (first published 1991)
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Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson LevineThe Goose Girl by Shannon HaleBeauty by Robin McKinleyThe Princess Bride by William GoldmanFairest by Gail Carson Levine
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Katie M.
Jun 30, 2007 Katie M. rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: dark fantasy fans, environmentalists, feminists
When people force me to choose a single favorite book, I often name this one. It begins as a retelling of Sleeping Beauty. Then the time-travelers show up and things go crazy from there. The book has apocalypse, more fairy tales (cinderella, snow white, etc.), visits to Hell and Faerie, horror, and more. The familiar elements react to make a very original whole. The book wears its environmentalist and feminist hearts openly, but lack of subtlety doesn't mean lack of power. Every time I reread it ...more
Oct 24, 2007 Korynn rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fifantasy
Not so much a fantasy as a giant allegory in which Sleeping Beauty is also all Beauty in the world. We're the sleepers. It's rather depressing, fixating on a horrible future of drones and machines and death and pollution, the standard: the world's going to hell in a handbasket if we don't wake up and save the rainforest, whales, oceans, animals, air, environment, ozone, learn to recycle, reuse and honestly people wake up! It's all true. However I really hate to have the point beaten into me ever ...more
Feb 17, 2008 Stevelvis rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Beauty is a novel about decay and death and horror and ugliness and the fantastic hope that beauty may one day return. Sherri S. Tepper won the Locus Award for best fantasy novel with this story in which the fairy tale princess of Sleeping Beauty magically travels in time from her real life origins to the present day and the distant future end of humankind fighting to save herself. In her travels she encounters many real live people who appear as characters in our world's fairy tales, finds an u ...more
Nov 06, 2008 Jackie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, fairy-tale
I loved this book immensely. It weaves a tapestry of fairytales, linking Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Snow White in a timeless fantasy.
It transported me to the Realm of Fae and I was completely immersed in the novel. Sympathetic characters made it easy to love.
I sent this to my neice and wish I didn't because I'd love to read it again.
Feb 24, 2015 Clare rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
This was one of the strangest books I've ever read. It was like Tepper was trying to write a book about everything, while at the same time have it focus entirely on the one mortal character who only actually lives around twenty years. And so the title character, Beauty, is like a pinball in this great celestial machine, rocketing around from the fourteenth century to the twenty-second, from one realm to another, from reality to imagined reality and literally to hell and back. I finished this boo ...more
Now is not a good time to write a review of this, because I am in a bad mood. I will do, nonetheless, it.

I did have to remove two stars from my 13-year old rating. I did not find this particularly beautiful, or as tragic as I remembered, or even particularly clever. Luckily, though it did not descend into the overwrought sentimentality I was dreading, except perhaps a little towards the end. Even then, though, I maintain that it retained something of grandeur.

Tepper is clearly a very good writer
Jul 14, 2009 Renee rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
This is the first novel of Tepper's I have read, but it certainly won't be the last. What initially begins as a good retelling of Sleeping Beauty becomes... an amazingly insightful novel about the human condition, a representation of a myriad of personality types and their interactions, a theological discussion, an exploration of the aging process and a distopian imagining of the effect humanity has on the planet. What Tepper accomplishes here is nothing short of miraculous. If she had written t ...more
Jul 04, 2009 Lindsay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everybody, particularly feminists, environmentalists and fairy-tale lovers
This book surprised me in a lot of ways. I was expecting a feminist-inflected retelling of "Sleeping Beauty," and while Beauty started out in that vein, it didn't stay there long.

Briefly, the story is about the title character --- a half-fairy daughter of a duke in fourteenth-century England --- roaming through time, space and other worlds after the famous sleep-for-a-hundred-years spell is placed on her family's castle. Among the places she goes are the present day (well, the 1990s), the End of
Sep 21, 2009 Martine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fantasy lovers and those who like fairy tales with an original twist
About 100 pages into Beauty I wasn't sure whether I was really going to like the book, as it kept moving from subject to subject without staying long enough with each one to make it work. About 200 pages in, I was convinced the author had far too many ideas for her own good, and no idea of how to weave them together into a cohesive story. Despite my misgivings, though, I stuck with the book, and I'm glad I did, because the second half more than made up for the flaws of the first. I ended up enjo ...more
Kathy Huynh
Jan 16, 2014 Kathy Huynh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was fussing between giving this novel a 3 or 4. I Decided on 4 because I was really engrossed in this book when reading it. It was definitely a page turner. However I did find Sheri S Tepper awfully annoying for her cluttered preaching. I do like a book with grounded principles and a moral stand I agree with but I just felt like the author tried too hard and interrupted the book with pages and pages of feminist and environmental views. It got in the way of a potentially nice flowing story. On ...more
Mar 17, 2011 Simon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A classic work of fantasy well deserving of it's place in the Fantasy Masterworks series.

I have never read anything by this author before and was pleasantly suprised by her delightful prose and the vastness of her imagination. This is not conventional fantasy quest story but follows in the fantasy tradition of railing against modern times and the direction that mankind seems to be headed in.

Tepper obviously has very clear ideas about what she thinks is wrong with society and which beliefs syste
It's hard to describe this book -- it starts out as a fantasy, and ends up more science fiction. There is a lot of magic and wonder, but it gets very, very dark. Not a light-hearted read, but then, none of Tepper's books are very cheery.
Joy H.
Feb 09, 2011 Joy H. rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
It took me a while to finish reading this book (In fact, when I was more than half way through, I almost quit, but Jackie encouraged me to finish the story.) There are several reasons for my reluctance to finish reading the book:
1. I wasn't able to fully grasp or keep track of the plot because the main character, "Beauty" keeps moving back and forth between different time dimensions and different worlds, meeting different characters. That was confusing to me. So there was a sense of vagueness as
Another astonishingly embarrassing cover. Some parts were very good and others felt like romanticizing a fictional golden age (when people didn't make ugly things). That may seem like a silly criticism, given that its main substance is fairy tale, but the portrayal of horroporn just seemed over the top.
Also, ecological collapse being so close, i require more realism in my ecopocalypses. Perhaps i'm spoiled by KSR in that respect.
Terri Kempton
Jun 19, 2011 Terri Kempton rated it it was ok
This book is a big hot mess! I kept reading because it was such a train wreck, a sick sense of fasciation held my interest. The plot is ridiculous: Tepper throws countless fairy tales, Bible stories, and unrelated fiction into a single storyline. But instead of cleverly weaving together disparate elements, it feels disjointed, haphazard, and nonsensical. Her writing frequently throws us such delicious awfulness as "his eyes glittered with hectic abandon." On top of that, here are my two major pr ...more
Beauty is an interesting mix of fairytale and dystopian fiction. In it, Tepper is commenting on her perception that all the beauty in the world is dying, but perhaps-and we can only hope-it is just sleeping. She uses the metaphor of Sleeping Beauty to represent the world at large and the direction we are headed; perfect Beauty born, Beauty cursed with death, Beauty dying.

In all honesty, to the story itself I wouldn't give much more than two stars for all the enjoyment I got out of it (view spoil

So apparently I wrote a couple of paragraphs about Sherri S. Tepper’s Beauty not too long after I read it. And I just read it and now have no idea where I was going with it.

And the problem is, the indifference, the disinterest. Because with a book you love, it’s so easy to write a gushy, full-throttled love fest. And with a book you hate, it’s also pretty easy to fling it against a wall and rant your head off. But with the indifference, there’s a struggle to move the cursor forward and fill
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 09, 2012 Samikha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Samikha by: Kira
Shelves: fantasy-sci-fi
I hesitate between three or four stars on this one, because while I love the themes of this book, and cannot but approve of its quoting Swinburne, the reading experience is not as good as the premise would suggest. It's a fairytale - a collection of fairytales woven into a single tapestry - with more realism than might be thought, and with a clear, strong but still good moral message: take care of Beauty, in all of its (her) forms.

The book's strengths lie in the way it blends fairytale dynamics
Delicious Strawberry
This has to be one of Ms. Tepper's better works. In too many of her books, we usually see some kind of weird deus ex machina or whatever thrown in (Family Tree, Gibbon's Decline and Fall, the Visitor) so I am pleased to say that this story is more coherent than these.

Anyone familiar with Ms. Tepper should not be surprised at her inclusion of commentaries against this or that - Ms. Tepper is quite the feminist, and snarks against religion, violence, patriarchy, the abuse of the environment/natura
Jan 27, 2013 Harvey rated it really liked it
This is a great book. The way that Tepper weaves in fairy tales to the story is very, very clever.

And even though I don't agree with her politics or her dystopian view of the future, it didn't intrude on my enjoyment of the book. (Robert J Sawyer please note how it should be done.)

My only quibble would be the Chinanga section of the book. Meh! Not so good. Or is there some literary reference that I'm missing?
Feb 21, 2013 Columbine rated it it was amazing
Part speculative fiction, part philosophy, part patchwork cosmology, Beauty is - intense. It chronicles the life of someone who starts out as a mistrusted halfbreed in an age that values genealogy, and who progresses through multiple worlds, back and forth in time, being entirely too curious about what makes her situation unique. Tepper manages to write realistic Sidhe and believable Bogles, despite the unlikelihood of her audience having any basis for comparison.

The protagonist, named Beauty (e
I love fairy tales and especially those aimed at adults. Beauty definitely delivers this in spades. Not only does Beauty weave in elements of the classic Sleeping Beauty tale, it also touches on many others as well, Cinderella and Snow White to name two.

Beauty is a fantasy, fairy-tale, science fiction mix with an unmistakable message about the future consequence of society turning its collective back on magic. Toward the end of the book, Tepper's Beauty character ponders on how people have esch
Dec 21, 2015 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
No esperaba mucho del libro, y terminó gustándome mucho. Que historia tan bien hilada, se aventó la historia de Bella, historias futuras con un porvenir muy malo para la humanidad, conservó cosas verdaderas del cuento original de la Bella Duermiente, metió historias fantásticas con Hadas, y todavía se las ingenió para incluir religiones y mitos pasados. Nunca se me hizo que perdiera el sentido la historia, aún con todos los viajes en el tiempo. Y el final me ha parecido totalmente adecuado. Me e ...more
Aug 12, 2014 Britain rated it it was ok
I loved the idea behind this book--all these fairy tales/epics woven together into a single character's lifetime, seeing the people that became the legends and how those stories began, fables and reality woven together into one narrative. And Tepper obviously did a sh!t-ton of research into Celtic and other mythologies to give those tales incredible depth and substance. Nevertheless, I can't in good conscience recommend this book. I wanted to love it, and I did love parts of it, but her soapboxi ...more
A half-fairy girl goes on a long journey to discover the fate of magic in a changing world. Normally I approach Tepper like Atwood's genre writing: message-driven to the point of transparency, but sympathetic and consistently well-written. But Beauty is a mess of a book. It begins as a Sleeping Beauty retelling but crams in Cinderella, Snow White, Rapunzel, and the Frog Prince, growing increasingly predictable; it spans a lifetime and jumps between half a dozen settings, the worst of which is an ...more
Laura Darroch-Lassey
Oct 10, 2015 Laura Darroch-Lassey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
...That was intense. Very disturbing - almost like a fever dream. I absolutely loved it.
Carole O'Brien
Apr 05, 2016 Carole O'Brien rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016, fantasy
Great slant on some of the most famous story tales around , this book is a must that delights the inner child, this is my second time reading it and it was just as good as the first time, this is the first time I have had it in ebook version though.
Mar 23, 2016 j rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010, 2016
This is a deeply strange book, twisting fairytale tropes to tell a story of environmental collapse, destructive religion, sexual abuse, feminism, and gender politics, among many other things (including the loyalty of cats, who so rarely get their due in literature). I don't know how well it hangs together but I loved reading it.
Ben Loory
Jun 30, 2016 Ben Loory rated it it was ok
well that was exhausting
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Sheri Stewart Tepper was a prolific American author of science fiction, horror and mystery novels; she was particularly known as a feminist science fiction writer, often with an ecofeminist slant.

Born near Littleton, Colorado, for most of her career (1962-1986) she worked for Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood, where she eventually became Executive Director. She has two children and is married to G
More about Sheri S. Tepper...

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“The sidesaddle was designed to protect a maiden's virginity, while risking the maiden's neck. Rather much for rather little, I thought.” 69 likes
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