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4.3 out of 5 stars
44
4.3 out of 5 stars
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Price:£5.99


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on 14 March 2017
The initial couple of chapters build slowly, but once you're firmly on Grass it explodes into mystery after mystery... If i had to compare this to other science fiction it would be a mixture of, 'Hothouse', by Brian Aldiss and, 'The many coloured land', by Julien May. It is similar in the colourful, imaginative characters and races of those novels. The utterly​ mad and strange planet created by Sheri Tepper is a plunge into another world, without any inhibitions. What is fascinating is the presence of an abrahamic religion, absent in so many science fiction novels; it suppresses and controls the emotional dialogue of the protagonist. The inner battles fought by the heroin, Marjorie, tormented by her faith, her husband and even her daughter. What could make you support a character more than one who strives towards emancipation from this backward, self chastisement? This emotional wrangling accompanies a fast paced, rich and intriguing plot, with aspects of fantasy, science fiction, battle, coercion..I could go on.. I would thoroughly recommend :)
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on 14 August 2015
Initially I would have rated this 3 stars. In retrospect, I do not think I can rate it even that as I cannot imagine ever wanting to read this book again. While there is a dearth of strong female characters in science-fiction, I do not think the lead protagonist here really comes across as especially captivating.
I think the religious elements of this book are superficial and ill-thought out. They seem to be someone's conception of what religion 'could' be like, without any real deep research or deeper significance behind the thoughts. I understand the need for simplicity, but to reduce the world to three core concepts, that of sanctity, Catholicism and 'the other', is misguided, especially if it is trying to ask us deeper questions.
Furthermore, for all the plaudits thrown at it for being 'class-aware', I thought the relationship between the commoners and the aristocracy didn't ring true.
There were some good points, the planet of Grass is a fantastic setting and the opening introduction to the Hippae is incredibly powerful. There are some nice touches also in rather unusually taking the point-of-view of a horse at certain times. Overall however, a mediocre book. With so many excellent books out there, I wouldn't recommend this.
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on 1 April 2017
Cracking tale.
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on 25 January 2016
Some good and original ideas in this book, but that was so slow to start that I almost abandoned reading it.
Also the S in SF stands for Science, but the author has been more interested in writing a Social fiction than a Science fiction. A lot of the science fiction aspects did not feel realistic or consistent enough to me to make me believe in this world.
Overall I regret reading this book and don't think the reviews on Amazon reflect well enough how painfully slow and dull the first half is. I hope this review can address that.
The rest of the book is better, but not good enough to make up for the lack of interest I felt while reading half of it.
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on 13 February 2010
A brilliant book. I had to read it again, immediately. Well written, fast paced and beautifully unpredictable. It was great to read a Science Fantasy novel so different from others I've read. Sheri Tepper seems to be able to write fantastically individual books. There doesn't seem to be a pattern she follows with the result that every book is a new experience.
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on 10 November 2012
As a general rule, I lack the attention span for long books and the patience for slow ones. The first 60 pages of Grass, then, didn't exactly bode well: it was all a bit impenetrable for my simple brain, rooted heavily and deeply in the richly-imagined worlds that Tepper has created, with their complex hierarchies and precisely observed social niceties. It came over a bit Jane Austen in the 25th Century (less, thankfully, the comedy robots).

Then, miraculously, wonderfully, it took off. As another reviewer has said, it is a book that builds its way to greatness, adding layer upon layer of both adversity and triumph for all the characters involved until the story has a resistless momentum that carries it effortlessly into some of the more potentially whacked-out directions Tepper chooses to head. I found it simply amazing how fully every aspect of this new world has been considered - each piece is carefully placed, yes, but given meaning and significance and filled with such richness that I simply wanted to bury myself in every single word. This is one book that, frankly, could not have been too long.

It is tiny and intimate, and yet epic and thrilling. A quiet moment of expressed love between two characters is done without any direct speech at all - you're simply told it's happening, which saves it beautifully from triteness - and yet she paints her broad strokes just as effectively: those sweeping plains of grass would be wasted on anything short the sort of large scale chaos introduced, after all. And I personally found the core set of relationships to be excellently drawn - nothing is certain, least of all the survival of anyone, and the pain and complexities and motivations of the vast cast of characters drive things in a fully believable manner.

In short, I cannot praise this highly enough. I was utterly entranced for the too few days I was reading it, and cannot get it out of my head now it's done. For anyone considering giving it a go, do. And stick with it. There are wonders herein that it would be such a shame to miss out on.
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on 12 January 2002
The beginning of this book may seem to dwell on seemingly unrelated topics, but they wind together as you progress through it to give a thoroughly satisfaying read.
The third person narrative is used to its fullest extent, unlike some writers Sheri S. Tepper does not focus in on one character but explores the motivations and feelings of many, giving the reader a comprehesive understanding of the events that unfold.
I found myself not caring as deeply about the characters as perhaps I should, but with a storyline such as the one in Grass it was of little concern.
I would recommend this book to anyone who has become dissatisfied with the meaningless and infantile science fiction that has flooded the market today, for it restores all faith in science fiction as a credible genre.
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on 5 December 2004
It sounds almost like normal on Grass; a spaceport, big estates for the aristocracy in the countryside, hunting, horses, hounds, quarry........ A quick diplomatic mission in a homelike environment or at least that was what Marjorie's family was expecting. Things rapidly show their true colours when they arrive on Grass complete with their horses, ready to join the social whirl. However, Marjorie has never heard of the rigorous training or seen the unusual clothing the Grassians use, nor has she heard of mounts that demand silence, hounds that may not be looked at and riders maimed or 'disappeared' while hunting the elusive Foxen. The true story on Grass is much darker and far more complicated than one at first imagines, culminating in an almost surreal conclusion which ties all the disparate loose ends together. I really enjoyed this book and I still do ten years later.
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on 25 January 2013
Synopsis:
Humankind has spread out across the galaxy and is largely under the control of a religious organisation called Sanctity (a version of Christianity). However a plague is killing them off except on one planet: Grass.
The story follows Marjorie and her family sent to Grass to try and determine why they have no plague. The inhabitants are divided between the 'commoners' and the Dons. The latter are reminiscent of English nobility and regularly go hunting using (or being used by) local species as mounts and hounds.

Pros:
I first read this book when I was around 12 and then again several times as a teenager and it always stayed with me. Going back and reading it again now I wasn't disappointed. The story carries you along and just when you think the secrets have been revealed, you realise you are only half way and there is more to come. You can see the development here of many themes which go on to become common in Sheri. S. Tepper's work.

Cons:
It would have been interesting to know more about the background to the universe she has created, then again not knowing that possibly adds to the whole effect.

Other:
If you enjoyed this then I would suggest reading Sideshow and Raising the Stones by the same author which relate to Grass.
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on 12 December 2006
This is superlative fiction, whatever genre you try to put it in. I came to the book knowing nothing of the plot, and that's as it should be - otherwise you miss some of the most interesting surprises of the book. The reviewer who entitles their review 'the moral responsibilities of aliens' (whilst giving a good review, not that I agree with all of it) gives, I feel, far too much of the plot away. So if you're one of those people who, like me, don't like being told the middle of a book before you've even started it, then I have to say be careful reading such detailed reviews. I liken it to being told the plot twist of 'The Sixth Sense' - it's just 'not done', is it chaps?

Tepper always deals with broad moral themes, but you never get the feeling she's preaching. Her characters remain as vivid to me now as when I read the book last (which was quite some time ago). I won't go on, because better reviewers than I can cover this. My enthusiasm for this book renders me a little useless for rational dissection.

And if you, like me, love 'Grass', my next recommendation of Tepper's work would be 'The Family Tree'. And don't read any reviews, because if anyone gives away the big plot twist in THAT one they deserve to have every new book's plot explained to them in detail before they open the covers for the rest of their lives.
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