From bestselling author Anne Rice, writing as A.N. Roquleaure. In the traditional folktale of ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ the spell cast upon the lovely young princess and everyone in her castle can only be broken by the kiss of a Prince. It is an ancient story, one that originally emerged from and still deeply disturbs the mind’s unconscious. Now Anne Rice’s retelling of the Beauty story probes the unspoken implications of this lush, suggestive tale by exploring its undeniable connection to sexual desire. Here the Prince reawakens Beauty, not with a kiss, but with sexual initiation. His reward for ending the hundred years of enchantment is Beauty’s complete and total enslavement to him as Anne Rice explores the world of erotic yearning and fantasy in a classic that becomes, with her skillful pen, a compelling experience.
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I love the original Sleeping Beauty. At least, the Disney version. It’s one of my favourites. When I saw this on the shelf with that little erotic twist, of course it caught my attention.
I hadn’t realized that this was previously written in the 80s. On the cover, it says that Anne Rice actually used the pseudonym A.N Roquelaure. I’ve always wanted to introduce myself to some of her works, but never really have for some reason. So I added the book to my pile with gusto. There was no better time!
I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. I obviously knew that this version had the kinky twist to it, but I just had no idea when it was about to kick in. I didn’t have to wait very long. I have to tell you though, the scene threw me off that I considered not reading anymore then and there.
Of course, I’ll tell you why…
As the Prince marches through a silent, dormant castle, he finally finds the chambers where the famous Sleeping Beauty has rested for the past hundred years. Instead of the tale that you and I both know: prince charming kisses the princess. She wakes up and they live happily ever after. In the beginning of this trilogy, the Prince takes things further. Maybe the journey to the castle made him a little frisky? He ends up cutting and ridding Beauty of her dress until she’s naked. (still asleep at this point, mind you!) He has sex with her. When she’s otherwise occupied, he finally kisses her awake.
This was not sexy to me. It was actually kind of disturbing to read. But despite my frowns, I tried not to judge the beginning too deeply. I continued on!
Now with her kindgom properly restored, the Prince declares that he’s taking Beauty as his tribute. She’s to go with him back to his own kingdom. The king and queen don’t seem to put up that much of a fight, which is odd. Especially when tells them that Beauty is supposed to be naked the entire time. Village to village, her naked body paraded around for all to see. If she disobeys, she gets punished. Once they reach his homeland, Beauty becomes the Prince’s very first sex slave. Unluckily for Beauty, Queen Eleanor hates her on sight because of her son’s immediate infatuation.
For most of the book, I couldn’t help feeling sympathetic. I don’t seem to appreciate the sexuality in BDSM like some people do. My bad. I don’t mind the erotica genre. I get a kick out of it for the most part. I don’t think this one in particular was my cup of tea. I’m still not quite sure what to think of it.
I do have to give Anne Rice a hand for making this her own though. What do you think of this type of genre being written?