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3.82  ·  Rating details ·  5,101 Ratings  ·  365 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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Sep 13, 2009 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
Katie M.
Jun 30, 2007 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
Mar 11, 2016 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.
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
Feb 21, 2013 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
Joy H.
Jan 09, 2011 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
Peter Tillman
Jun 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf-fantasy
I think the most twisted variation on the Sleeping Beauty legend remains Sheri Tepper's "Beauty". That was a great book, BUT. Grim. "Down, down to Happyland...." Disposal chute, for unwanted infants. Ugh. Ol' Sheri don't do subtle....

Critic Gary K. Wolfe said "Beauty remains one of the genre-hopping masterpieces of the last 20 years," and I guess I'd agree, but it's.... Well. Pretty gross at times. Still worth reading. Once, anyway. I think about rereading, now & then, and run through pretty
Nov 06, 2008 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.
Terri Kempton
Jun 19, 2011 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
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
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
Feb 09, 2010 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
Barb Middleton
Beauty is half-human and half-fairy with a mysterious object that burns in her chest - placed there by two fairies, Caraboose and Israfel. Her father neglects her (and her mother) going on excessive pilgrimages to find various holy relics. Beauty's mother abandons her as a young child and Beauty doesn't think much of it until she finds a letter written by her mother that asks her to come to the land of faeries. Her adventures begin as she seeks out her mother beginning in 14th century England be ...more
Laura Floyd
Feb 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars. It took me so many tries to start this book. I don't know why. I liked the premise from the very first page - a fairy tale set in the historical 14th century! - but after two false starts a few years ago, I set it aside.

This time, I jumped in with determination, and was stunned to find - mere pages after the part where I had given up twice before - the plot took a complete swan dive off the deep end and the book became something completely different than what I had expected it to be.
M.M. Strawberry Reviews
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 25, 2008 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
Jul 02, 2012 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
Dec 04, 2008 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
Feb 07, 2014 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
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
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.
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I wasn't sure I was going to like this book based on what my husband had said about it (he already read it). It is definitely pro-environmental and has strong feminist tones! I really liked the way the story went by making Beauty 1/2 fairy. It also ties in other fairy tales besides Sleeping Beauty as well as time travelling. I really liked it more than I thought I would. Well worth the read!
Feb 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, fairy-tale
3.5 stars
This is a standalone fantasy novel which has won the Locus award. And my first time reading a book by this author. Even though I've rated this book, I am still unsure exactly how I feel about this novel. It is a mishmash of fairy tale re-telling(faithful to the original stories, I.e. Dark) mixed with time travel , philosophy and treatise on religion. The story also speaks on beauty and motherhood in very realistic tones. There is the expected feminist perspective. I liked the adaptation of the f ...more
Jul 04, 2009 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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

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
Jun 30, 2014 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
May 31, 2009 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
Kathy Huynh
Jan 09, 2010 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
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Into the Forest: Sheri S Tepper RIP 4 21 Dec 15, 2016 06:28PM  
Time Travel: Beauty by Sheri Tepper, anyone read this? 4 44 May 05, 2015 01:21PM  
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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
“The sidesaddle was designed to protect a maiden's virginity, while risking the maiden's neck. Rather much for rather little, I thought.” 70 likes
“It seems to me sometimes all beauty is dying. Which makes me hope that perhaps it isn't dead but only sleeping. And that makes me think of Sleeping Beauty and wonder if she, Beauty that is, might not be a metaphor for what is happening to the world at large: perfect Beauty born, Beauty cursed with death, Beauty dying - but with the magical hope of being reawakened, maybe by love.” 0 likes
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