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Beauty (FANTASY MASTERWORKS) [Paperback]

Sheri S. Tepper
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Book Description


On her sixteenth birthday, Beauty, daughter of Philip, Duke of Montfort, Westfaire and Ylles, sidesteps the sleeping curse placed upon her by her wicked aunt, the fairy Carabosse -- only to be kidnapped by voyeurs from another time and place, far from the picturesque castle in 14th century England.

Captivating, uncompromising and unforgettable, Beauty will carve its own unique place in the hearts and minds of readers


Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; New Ed edition (8 Feb 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857987225
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857987225
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 13 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 644,893 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Beauty is the half mortal, half fairy daughter of a 14th century English duke. A fairy curse puts the entire household into an extended sleep, but Beauty escapes using a magic cloak. Outside the castle, she is captured by a film crew from the 21st century who have come to film the end of magic. Beauty lives for a while in the overpopulated, ugly 21st century where nature has been completely destroyed by humans and magic no longer works. She escapes, and her subsequent adventures take her to imaginary countries, the land of Faery, the late 20th century (where she is brutally raped), and to various times during her own century where her descendants become, in turn, Cinderella, Snow White and the Frog Prince.

Like much of Tepper's fiction, this book is driven by a controlled fury. She sees the destruction of beauty all around us by those who believe humanity has a right to use up the rest of nature, and this book is a stark warning that if we don't change our ways we will destroy the world. Her heroine is the guardian of all that is beautiful in the world, of all that is being devoured by human greed. An angry novel, it makes its point heavy-handedly in places, but with great poignancy overall. It's a powerful and thought-provoking read. Elizabeth Sourbut


"Tepper is a wise and compassionate narrator, and when it comes to spinning a yarn that you don't ever want to stop reading, there are few better spinners than she."--"The Magazine Of Fantasy & Science Fiction "Magnificent. . .This adult fairly tale entertains and delivers a message in the best tradition of the fantasy classics."--"The Denver Post.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical Twist 10 Oct 2006
By kehs TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is Sleeping Beauty with a twist, and definitely not intended for children, as it's an enchanting but also frightening retelling of this much loved fairytale. We hear about how Beauty evades the sleeping curse, by getting it placed on her half-sister instead. She manages to escape from the castle by using a magic cloak that takes her into the 21st century. She does lots of time traveling and visits strange and wonderful places - from this world, to the future, to a world of imagination, Fairyland and even Hell. Fairyland was my favorite; Sheri Tepper really brought it to life with her wonderful vivid, descriptive writing. A lot of my favorite fairy tales are woven together in this book, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzal, Frog Prince, Tam Lin and Snow White are a few of them, and they are all given a marvelous slant . There are some very scary moments, particularly a traumatic rape scene, in which I think Tepper is trying to explain the possible outcome of mankind's use of senseless violence and pornography. Underneath this magnificent retelling of our well loved fairytales is a message that mankind is destroying nature, and if we don't wake-up to what we are doing then we will destroy the world as we know it. I can't decide what genre I would put this book in as it's part sci-fi, part time-travel and part fantasy. It's a mix that worked marvelously well for me. I will definitely be reading some more of Tepper's books.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars compelling, but thoughtless and didactic 27 Nov 2005
First of all, it is worth noting that this book is EXTREMELY well-written (at least in my opinion) and I genuinely enjoyed both its opening and its conclusion.
The middle sections of the book, however, were profoundly disappointing, not to say unsettling. This was not so much because of the journeying through time, although I thought that a poorly-incoporated plot-device, but the nature of the challenges the protaganist encounters. Whilst I think that very disturbing themes can successfully and sensitively be encorporated into fairy-tale fantasy fiction (and Robin McKinley's wonderful "Deerskin" is a great example of this) I felt that in Tepper's "Beauty", these themes were presented almost as arguments to prove various "points". This is not to say I'm not in favour of novels which address issues of gender equality or exploitation, or of man's relation to the environment, it is just that I felt that these points felt laboured within "Beauty". This laboured approach is perhaps most tellingly demonstrated in the account of the heroine's visit to hell, which was rather medieval in its almost smug descriptions of the physical discomfiture of those who had transgressed, particularly against women. There should be better, stronger and higher arguments against rape than that the perpetrator will suffer for it. (I also felt that a book which took such a strong moral position in relation to some issues ought not to have contained some of the disturbing assumptions it did: that, for example, the heroine's daughter can be evil and tainted from birth.)
The overall tone of the book, then, feels didactic, with many characters seeming reduced to cyphers or stereotypes so that individuals fail to disrupt the "pattern" of the very flawed world Tepper presents her reader with.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I thought that Sheri S. Tepper could not disturb me more than when she wrote "Gibbons Decline and Fall", but she has.
Her grasp of archetypal myth, and her ability to cut to the bone of the apathy of post-modernism and the effects of a culture that has been manipulated into accepting - without raising a sweat - what the news throws at us and what advertising seeks to have us agree to, despite the devastating effects on a future earth, had me in tears! The title of the book is one thing before one reads it - and is something far more profound at its completion.
Yes, Sheri - if one remembers the word in all its profundity one can be truly aware of what is most precious.
My humble thanks...
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5.0 out of 5 stars No good if you are looking for a light read! 30 Jun 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read it for the first time some 6 years ago but it stuck in my memory as something very strange and magical. It is quite heavy on 'save the earth' theme which is ok I guess. I didn't mind it personally. I have seen some reviews where people said they gave up after first few pages because there's a lot going on and they couldn't follow. If you are tempted to quit soon after starting please do not. Carry on and you will never forget this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good as always 27 Mar 2013
By Catlady
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Tepper is one of my favourite authors who is not afraid to tackle important issues but in the guise of fantasy, but don't be fooled, the issues are important especially to women.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Aiming too high and trying too hard 13 Sep 2012
By Archy
There's a lot in here. Fairy tales (Sleeping Beauty, obviously, Snow White, Cinderella, plus some nonsense with a frog), time travel, ecology, Good versus Evil, romance, horror, you name it, it's here. But for me, way too much, and the tendency to make comments on various 'issues' - the environment, the nature of evil, gender issues, and so forth, became very irritating. Lots of stuff here to show how wicked mankind (should I say humanity?) is.

So, for large chunks of this book I ploughed on, hoping for the parts, the passages, the ideas, that were genuinely interesting. I forced myself to overlook the chunks that seemed there to fill out an already long book, the characters who came and went with little discernable characterisation - I had to track back 200+ pages in some instances to find out who they were. I still haven't figured out who Israfel was. I tried to ingore the preachiness of some of the points that were made rather heavy-handedly. In the end, I think the whole is somewhat less than the sum of the parts. There are some delightful moments, passages, ideas in here. But Beauty herself is not an especially inspired creation. By the end, I had rather had enough, which is a shame, as I very much enjoyed the first half of the book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Beauty by Sheri S. Tepper
I have had become a big Tepper fan after reading her book Margarets...and when i had the chance to read Sideshow, the like increased to love.... Read more
Published on 20 Jan 2011 by ViktorijaA
5.0 out of 5 stars Beauty + Beast
This is a very clever exploration of socio-cultural norms and values through 'fantasy/folk tales/time travel'. Read more
Published on 14 Sep 2010 by skd
5.0 out of 5 stars love this book!
This is a brilliant, and poignant book which makes you worry for the future, however enjoy the past and folklaw. I love this book! :D
Published on 11 Feb 2010 by L. J. White
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical twist
This is Sleeping Beauty with a twist, and definitely not intended for children, as it's an enchanting but also frightening retelling of this much loved fairytale. Read more
Published on 10 Oct 2006 by kehs
5.0 out of 5 stars .
Other reviewers have extended the opinion that Beauty is hyperbolic and oversimplistic. Although it must be admitted that the author has, at times, abandoned invention for the... Read more
Published on 11 May 2006 by Gregori Fairchild
5.0 out of 5 stars Fairy Tales and SF
This book nicely defies categories - it plays with ideas from many sources, and builds them into a satisfying whole. Read more
Published on 18 Jan 2005 by Dragon
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly adult fairy tale
I must confess to being a long-standing fan of Tepper's work having first encountered her wonderful imagination in a second-hand copy of "The True Game". Read more
Published on 30 Sep 2004 by Jennie Finch
4.0 out of 5 stars Beauty - A modern Fairytale
The thing that interested me most about 'Beauty' is the fact that it starts off as a traditional fairy tale - instantly recognisable to any Disney fans or Brothers Grimm readers -... Read more
Published on 1 Oct 2003
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