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Singer from the Sea by Sheri S. Tepper

Singer from the Sea (original 1999; edition 2000)

by Sheri S. Tepper

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627615,477 (3.72)8
Title:Singer from the Sea
Authors:Sheri S. Tepper
Info:Avon Eos (2000), Mass Market Paperback, 529 pages
Collections:Your library, Fantasy

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Singer From The Sea by Sheri S. Tepper (1999)


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While this book was not as good as Grass or The Companions, it did have a strong, dark-skinned female protagonist. Science fiction and fantasy novels with intelligent women who have opinions and speak their mind--Tepper's Genevieve calls it "spouting"--are what made me into the reader and writer I am today.

I began with books like the Ordinary Princess and Changeling and later progressed to Madeline L'Engle's novels and The Dragonriders of Pern, eventually arriving at the Avalon series by Marion Zimmer Bradley. Tepper's Singer from the Sea is part of this inspiration; even today, my bibliophilia and my writing is nurtured by characters like Genevieve.

There are moments of lyric prose that can be compared to Grass and The Companions, and Singer from the Sea has a compelling story. I would recommend it to people who also love strong female characters in fantasy/sci-fi settings.
  Marjorie_Jensen | Nov 12, 2015 |
This is one of my favorite stories from a favorite author of mine. A young woman is raised on a planet where the upper class society is very traditional, and somewhat mysterious. The women tend to die very young, but the men tend to live to a great old age. That's how this story begins, but the further you get into it, the more you realize that something is not right. In fact, there are some very disturbing things going on. I won't reveal the secrets, but I will tell you that Ms Tepper has woven into her yarn some very thought-provoking statements about the social impact of wealth, the dangers of having a resource that everyone else wants (think, Arabian oil), the cost of unintended consequences, and how there's often more going on than there appears to be at first glance. Have I got you curious? Read this review again after you've read the book, and you may find yourself contemplating the story and its ending for years to come. ( )
1 vote KristiCz | Nov 4, 2013 |
This is one of the strangest books that I've ever read. It's like mixing "Dune," "A Handmaid's Tale," and Fern Gully. It does beat you over the head with it's message, but Tepper creates an engaging and imaginative world. ( )
  GraceT | May 14, 2012 |
Genevieve is an aristocrat on a planet where aristocratic women marry later and die early, usually in childbirth or while nursing a baby, although common women often live to eighty. Over the course of the book, she rebels against this fate and together with the commoner she loves manages to piece together the terrible truth, and discovers the role she is destined to play in saving the planet.

I never really warmed to Genevieve and didn't think her words and actions always rang true. It was interesting but I didn't like the ending and overall I preferred "Grass" by the same author. ( )
  isabelx | Mar 15, 2011 |
Another compelling Tepper novel - she delights me to no end with the breadth and depth of her imaginings, and each of her novels is so unlike any of the others. Fantastically engaging story, believably terrible and inhumane characters, multidimensional and developed protagonists, a beautiful and optimistic resolution. ( )
  tinLizzy | Sep 9, 2010 |
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In Genevieve's dream, the old woman lunged up the stairs, hands clutching like claws from beneath her ragtag robe.
Our teachers tell us that each world has a song that is begun with the first life on a world, a song that sounds within the world to foster life and variation. All living creatures are a part of the song which shall be sung forever, until the last star goes out. Our teachers tell us that sometimes living creatures do not wish to be part of the song, they do not hear it, they rise up against it, they cry that they are larger than the song and more important than the music, and when their words drown out the song, then the world begins to die. Within the song, we are an immortal resonance. Outside it, we are like the tinkle of a tiny bell, gone quickly into nothing. (p. 119)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0380791994, Mass Market Paperback)

Sheri S. Tepper has crafted a far-future fantasy that reads like the best of whodunits: murder, religion, treason, a mysterious ailment called batfly fever, interplanetary spies, true love, and planetary consciousness are the strands that make up this colorful tale. She limns the culture of this new world so skillfully that the reader never has cause to doubt its 1000-year history.

A nontechnology planet, Haven was seeded by one of the Ark ships that carried humanity away from a dying Earth. Purchased by a consortium of wealthy men who chose peace over progress, the planet and its people appear to be thriving--all except young noblewomen. In the millennium since Haven was settled, it has become a sad truth that these women often die in childbirth or shortly thereafter, while commoners flourish and produce bountiful offspring. Noblewomen are raised to live, marry, and give birth as custom demands, adhering to strict religious and cultural tenets, for they "have been taught that women are happiest in gracious submission to the covenants."

Lady Genevieve, motherless from a young age, experiences visions and knows that somehow she is fundamentally different from those around her--but how different she is may surprise even the most experienced Tepper reader. An ancient voice is calling Genevieve to her destiny, although her path continues to be unclear. Together with the gentle Colonel Aufors Leys, she pieces together a horrifying revelation that will change their lives forever--but don't fear: there is good and wonder mixed in here as well.

Singer from the Sea begins with a deceptively simple storyline and evolves into an ecofeminist tale of the struggle to save the women of Haven, and indeed the planet itself, from a uniquely hideous end. --Jhana Bach

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:44 -0400)

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