Nataliya's Reviews > The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty

The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty by A.N. Roquelaure
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Dec 04, 13

bookshelves: the-hype-is-overhyped, first-in-a-series
Recommended to Nataliya by: A so-called 'friend' with obviously a very questionable taste in books
Recommended for: Perhaps, people who enjoy terrible books and awful erotica? Otherwise, nobody.
Read in January, 2008, read count: Not even once - I mostly had to skim


I want to bleach my brain after reading this. No, I'm not a prude (I'm a gynecologist, I've seen and heard EVERYTHING). It's just THAT BAD.



Public service notice: This book has been brought to you thanks to the generous sponsorship by the word 'spanking'. Which is repeated so many times it almost does not look like a real word anymore. A drinking game with taking a shot every time spanking is mentioned would not last long (that is, unless you have truly remarkable alcohol-digesting enzymes and a stomach made of steel).

And since there are only so many ways to spank somebody (and this book quickly explores ALL the possibilities), the book quickly becomes quite repetitive and incredibly boring. And 'boring' is definitely not the word that any erotica book should be described as, right? Right?



I've mentioned before that I have zero problem with any sexual activity that however many consenting adults engage in. But I do have a problem with rape presented as being okay and even sexy. The Prince rapes Beauty while she is unconscious. Rape is never okay, and it should not be used as a "sexy" way to start a story. Make it consensual or do not write about it at all, and definitely do not present that as sexy. That's just disgusting. BDSM is consensual; otherwise just call it rape and stop trying to make it sexy.

Another reason for the brain bleach is the sheer awfulness of this dreck, which I really tried to forget. But seeing three women today engrossed in that Twilight BDSM fanfic that we do not speak of reminded me of having read this one a few years ago. Well, 'read' is not quite accurate of a word; it was so badly written that I ended up having to skim through most of it. And still I could not escape the endlessly boring spanking or the atrocious language.

Yes, everything else aside, the writing in this book is unbelievably bad. The language sounds fake, wooden, juvenile, and forced. The descriptions are terrible and would be out of place in every book except for one teaching how to write badly. Don't even start me on grammar and punctuation! (What did these two ever do to Anne Rice? Am I supposed to be so hot and bothered from reading this so that I don't notice elementary mistakes?) But the language itself reads so clumsy that I almost wonder whether A.N. Roquelaure Anne Rice is not a native English speaker.

I don't have much experience with reading erotica, so please, somebody enlighten me. Since these books are, well, books, they should have some kind of a plot, right? Or does the 'sexy' subject make them exempt from such? Because this one definitely does not have a plot unless you count the forty billion instances of spanking. Am I naive to expect plot in what is marketed as a book?

Anyway, as I said, I started skimming pretty early on (easy in a plotless book) because even my semi-saintly tolerance for bad fiction ends at some point. It is boring, badly written, almost glorifies rape, and apparently does not believe in consent. I would not recommend it to anyone. 1 star is almost generous. I have no idea what possessed me to read it. But it's been years since I've read it, and remembering it still makes me shudder.
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Comments (showing 1-50 of 78) (78 new)


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways I suspect Santa will be leaving a lump of coal in SOMEbody's stocking this Christmas....


message 2: by Diana (new)

Diana Leigh I guess I like terrible books and awful erotica! Oh, well...


message 3: by Kay (new) - rated it 1 star

Kay I'm teetering between plowing through (haha...) and leaving this book.


message 4: by Arthur (new)

Arthur Graham Books don't necessarily need plot. But they definitely need more than spanking...


Nataliya Kay wrote: "I'm teetering between plowing through (haha...) and leaving this book."

Leave it or skim it! Life is too short to read bad Anne Rice books.

Arthur wrote: "Books don't necessarily need plot. But they definitely need more than spanking..."

Unfortunately, spanking is ALL this book has.


Nataliya ♣Diana♣ wrote: "I guess I like terrible books and awful erotica! Oh, well..."

Well, taste in books is subjective. This one was obviously not to my taste. But my opinion is only what it is - an opinion.


Nataliya I was not expecting high-quality fiction, either. But I still was surprised to see how bad it actually was.


message 8: by Robert (new)

Robert The Forty Billion Instances of Spanking really sounds like it should be the title of a work by De Sade...


Nataliya Robert wrote: "The Forty Billion Instances of Spanking really sounds like it should be the title of a work by De Sade..."

Hehe. But here is one quick correction: "The Forty Billion MIND-NUMBINGLY BORING Instances of Spanking".


message 10: by Jurgen_i (new)

Jurgen_i I hope, writing this review did bleach your brain (sometimes i write reviews of very poor books in order to bear their horrible quality). Otherwise this book doesn't deserve your review, as i see.


Nataliya Yes, Goodreads is like a therapist in a way - sharing with others the opinion of literary badness that scars you can be quite cathartic ;)


message 12: by Becky (new) - rated it 1 star

Becky I said so much of the same thing when I reviewed this. Gah, this book is awful.


Grazed I wanted to read a good erotica that featured bdsm, but the lack of consent in this book made me sick to my stomach. I'm with you.


message 14: by Natacha (new)

Natacha P Your review is both highly informative and hilarious! I am somewhat curious but mostly turned off after reading your comments. Seeing as I completely agree with you on the lunacy of rape being presented as 'sexy,' I think I just might pass on it.


Nataliya Grazed wrote: "I wanted to read a good erotica that featured bdsm, but the lack of consent in this book made me sick to my stomach. I'm with you."

Right. Instead of consent, this book has coercion and then the forced resignation of sex slaves to their fate. I don't know who'd ever find that sexy.

Natacha wrote: "Your review is both highly informative and hilarious! I am somewhat curious but mostly turned off after reading your comments. Seeing as I completely agree with you on the lunacy of rape being pres..."

I think you really should not waste your time on this pile of garbage. There is nothing sexy or even remotely interesting in this book. It succeeded only in alternatively boring and enraging me, which I don't think was the intended effect.


Nicole The whole point of this book well not WHOLE point but main idea is slavery. While it has BDSM in it, it's all based off slaves. The whole "Lack of consent" is due to the slavery..but in reading it you also realize that they actually are consentual to everything that happens to them. That's one of the points made in the book...Beauty tries hard to fight against it but finds herself liking these things that are happening to her because of the fact that it makes her Master/Mistress happy.. So the only part I found that was non consentual was the beginning..and it wasn't supposed to be a big "Oh my god it's rape." It was an idea based off "Hey..the original book was just a kiss..why not have him have sex with her in an attempt to wake her?"
I thought it was an original idea..although I am not and will never be okay to rape, but I loved your review..it was spot on..wayyyy too much spanking in my opinion, and I did find it very repetitive and boring near the middle. I pretty much had to force myself to finish.


Nataliya I'm glad you liked my review, Nicole!
Your comment did make me want to respond to a few points in it though:

Well, here's the thing - it becomes sorta-kinda consensual in the end, but only really after the 'slaves' resign themselves to the absence of possibility of any other fate. And then they learn to live just to please their 'masters'. But I would NOT call it consensual; if anything, it reminds me of people who have been physically or sexually or mentally abused for a while (and here you have all three) who eventually rationalize their feelings and behavior towards their abusers and seem to not mind anymore. But that's not consensual, that's brainwashing. The slavery part that you're referring to made me sick (the fault is with Anne Rice, not with you, of course!); I'd much rather read a well-written book about consenting adults engaging in BDSM and not about teens taken into sex slavery. The master-slave relationship was not anything that the 'slaves' opted for; it was forced on them and therefore it's not okay.

And in terms of the beginning - maybe it was not supposed to be 'omg rape' but it became such when a guy (a complete and total stranger) started having sex with an unconscious person who obviously was not able to consent to the sexual activity. That's rape in my book. I understand where the idea came from, but it's a big step from kissing an unconscious person to having sex with her (and I'm uncomfortable with an idea of kissing an unconscious stranger as well - it is an intimate activity which should require consent).


message 18: by Laura (new) - added it

Laura Gass There is a plot... You need to read all three


Nataliya Laura wrote: "There is a plot... You need to read all three"

I don't think so. If I have to read the entire trilogy in order to figure out that there is a plot, then I'm really not interested. Part of a trilogy or not, it should still have a plot of its own; otherwise it should not be called a book. Why would I want to read the rest of them if the first one did not manage to keep my attention?


message 20: by Trudi (new)

Trudi As a librarian, here's what I'm now waiting to unfold (with the utmost amusement) -- Anne Rice's Sleeping Beauty trilogy is getting a re-release to cash-in on the Fifty Shades phenomenon. It will be marketed as a "readalike". Man oh man, won't some people get the surprise of their life. Them apples ain't NOTHING like them oranges. One's vanilla and the other is just ... well ... it is what it is. For those readers who were shocked and titillated by Fifty Shades, I think Anne just might scar them for life :D :D


Nataliya Oh dear. I haven't read '50 Shades of Grey' but I've read the hilarious recaps by Jennifer Armintrout and therefore think I'm familiar enough with the story to say - it is NOTHING like Anne Rice book! Poor innocent ladies wanting to read about vanilla-masquerading-as-BDSM and instead coming to the land of spanking/rape/disgusting kitchen scenes/pointless physical abuse!


message 22: by Trudi (new)

Trudi LOL! I know, right? I shouldn't laugh, but I find the whole thing delectably hilarious, and I'll have a front row seat. I don't know how I'm going to keep a straight face whilst I send unsuspecting patrons home with these little numbers tucked under their arm!!! :D


Nataliya Trudi wrote: "LOL! I know, right? I shouldn't laugh, but I find the whole thing delectably hilarious, and I'll have a front row seat. I don't know how I'm going to keep a straight face whilst I send unsuspecting..."

Right! Well, when that starts happening please keep us all here updated. It will be hilarious!


message 24: by Becky (new) - rated it 1 star

Becky Trudi wrote: "As a librarian, here's what I'm now waiting to unfold (with the utmost amusement) -- Anne Rice's Sleeping Beauty trilogy is getting a re-release to cash-in on the Fifty Shades phenomenon. It will be marketed as a "readalike". "

O_O

Now I haven't read 50 Shades, so I can't comment... but THIS book was one of the worst I've ever read, and so on its own merit, it should be kept strictly on the the "Pretend It Doesn't Exist" and "Books That Shall Never Be Named" piles.

And oh man... If I had to read all 3 of them just to get some semblance of a point to them being written in the first place, I'd have probably gouged out my own eyes.


Nataliya Becky wrote: "Now I haven't read 50 Shades, so I can't comment... but THIS book was one of the worst I've ever read, and so on its own merit, it should be kept strictly on the the "Pretend It Doesn't Exist" and "Books That Shall Never Be Named" piles. "

Hmmmm, now I'm tempted to create bookshelves titled just that...


Nataliya Jane wrote: "But I do have a problem with rape presented as being okay and even sexy.

Yes, yes, this whole review!"


:D


message 27: by Emma (new)

Emma Great review! Believe it or not, I actually read an academic essay in a literature journal during my masters degree (fairy tales and retellings featured in my studies) and it was entitled "Intellectualizing Smut: The Role of Tradition in Ann Rice's Sleeping Beauty" where it was argued that Ann Rice's language belies her outlook not only on sexual domination, but also on the fairy-tale tradition. The essence is that the whole thing is a metaphor on the journey that Sleeping Beauty has gone through in society, she has been essentially "used" by society for entertainment, we ourselves are the ones who have claimed her and made her passively suffer through our retellings. This is supposedly proven by Beauty's journey from the court to a peasant village, where she is also used for the pleasure of the villagers (ie, it correlates to the journey of the tale from Perrault's French courts in the 1600s to the 1800s retellings for the working class....)
Also, the argument in the essay is that Annn Rice is really pointing out that the kiss in the original story was virtually equated to rape, as it was non-consensual...This is, however, their argument not mine, and goes to show you the lengths people go to in order to explain this sort of thing.
But I only really wrote this comment to tell you that my mother bought me this book for christmas one year because she knows I love fairy tales and she didn't know that it was erotica...I had never seen her blush before then, it really was hilarious!!


Nataliya Emma wrote: "Great review! Believe it or not, I actually read an academic essay in a literature journal during my masters degree (fairy tales and retellings featured in my studies) and it was entitled "Intellec..."

Huh, it seems like that essay really tried to justify Anne Rice's approach to the story of Beauty that has nothing to do with the fairytale except for the inspiration for the opening scene. Kudos to the authors for coming up with such elaborate explanation of this book. However, I think that really all Anne Rice 'succeeded' in doing was creating a badly written erotica novel, no real metaphors there.

That story about your mother getting this book for you is hilarious!


message 29: by Derek (Guilty of thoughtcrime) (last edited Aug 31, 2012 05:34PM) (new) - added it

Derek (Guilty of thoughtcrime) Ah, this review dates back to before I was following your reviews, Nataliya, so I missed it. I actually own all three of the Sleeping Beauty books. I slogged through number 1, never finished 2, and didn't start #3. I agree, erotica shouldn't be boring.

She's doing the book-flog circuit now, because of the re-release mentioned above, and she was on CBC Radio's Q last week - a show I almost always hear start to finish. Even that was boring.


message 30: by Aisha (new) - added it

Aisha Oaktree ok so it's not just me, i'm about 13 pages in and i'm just like wait what?? but she was sleeping, why aren't her guards just running him through with their swords?? Yeah this story is sick


message 31: by Ronyell (new)

Ronyell OMG!!! This review is so awesome!!! This makes me really not want to pick up this book, especially if they think that rape is ever sexy.


Nataliya Ronyell wrote: "OMG!!! This review is so awesome!!! This makes me really not want to pick up this book, especially if they think that rape is ever sexy."

Thanks, Ronyell! And if my review saves people from actually having to read this book, I will consider my job here done.
Consensual never ever enters the picture in this book. Rape is what is supposed to be turning people on here, and I'm so not okay with that idea.


message 33: by Ronyell (new)

Ronyell Nataliya wrote: "Ronyell wrote: "OMG!!! This review is so awesome!!! This makes me really not want to pick up this book, especially if they think that rape is ever sexy."

Thanks, Ronyell! And if my review saves pe..."


Me either. I can't imagine rape being considered sexy or anything like that.


message 34: by Lesley (new)

Lesley Ok well with all these comments, that's made my mind up, I'm not going to continue reading it, I'll wait for the market place to arrive by Lauren Antoniou at least that's real!


Derek (Guilty of thoughtcrime) Richard wrote: "I suspect Santa will be leaving a lump of coal in SOMEbody's stocking this Christmas...."

A.N. Roquelaure's, one hopes. And two lumps for Rice who is now trying to capitalize on "that Twilight BDSM fanfic that we do not speak of" by claiming that she did it all decades earlier.

Nataliya, I'd missed that you'd reviewed this one, but I am in complete agreement. One might think that men would have a different take on the story, but I skimmed too. It veered between boring and upsetting.


Nataliya Derek wrote: "Nataliya, I'd missed that you'd reviewed this one, but I am in complete agreement. One might think that men would have a different take on the story, but I skimmed too. It veered between boring and upsetting."

I'm glad to see this reaction from you, Derek.


Derek (Guilty of thoughtcrime) Nataliya wrote: "I'm glad to see this reaction from you, Derek. "

Once in a while I like to show off my sensitive New Age Man side :)


Nicole I sooooo wish I had read this review before I bought this book. I decided to quit reading just after the half-way point, and am afraid it was too late. It's going to take some time to get this sick feeling out of my stomach and these horrible images out of my mind. Glad I'm not the only one who feels this way.


Nataliya Nicole wrote: "I sooooo wish I had read this review before I bought this book. I decided to quit reading just after the half-way point, and am afraid it was too late. It's going to take some time to get this sick..."

I do hope you'll be able to get over the mental trauma caused by this book soon :D


message 40: by Mona (new)

Mona This was the best review ever! Not even once did I want to skim through it or bash my head into a wall like I did TRYING to read this book.

This might be a *slight* exaggeration but getting to LMFAO while reading this review made reading this book okay....oh who am I kidding? I couldn't even get through it.. one more page of that drivel and I was going to spank Anne Rice herself!

Thanks for making my day, Nataliya!


Nataliya Mona wrote: "This was the best review ever! Not even once did I want to skim through it or bash my head into a wall like I did TRYING to read this book.

This might be a *slight* exaggeration but getting to LMF..."


Haha, thanks, Mona!


Derek (Guilty of thoughtcrime) Mona wrote: " one more page of that drivel and I was going to spank Anne Rice herself!"

ooh! NOW, I'm getting tingly...


message 43: by Sofía (new)

Sofía I can't believe this book was written by an adult. It's stupid, full of non-sense things in it... I liked the synopsis: the no-kiss, the rape (¡!), the slavery in a fairy tale seemed very creative. And she is Anne Rice, she brought Lestat to live! What could go wrong?

Everything! I couldn't finish this book. I was just sixteen (just a year ago, LOL) when I read (half of) it, but girl, I've read a lot of fanfictions with BDSM and spanking that were GREAT. I thought that I was reading always the same page. Nothing new happened, just one-dimensional characters were added. I still can't believe that somebody published it, and I can't believe that somebody is going to republish this piece of... Crap. Sorry, Rice.


Katherine Agreed on the spanking overkill. I was also bored. I expected more from the hype of this book. Ugh


message 45: by Ayhan (new) - rated it 1 star

Ayhan Luck "I want to bleach my brain after reading this. No, I'm not a prude (I'm a gynecologist, I've seen and heard EVERYTHING). "

LOL ! You burst me into laughs. I just wanted to thank you and oh, it's an excellent review i happen to agree.


Nataliya Ayhan wrote: ""I want to bleach my brain after reading this. No, I'm not a prude (I'm a gynecologist, I've seen and heard EVERYTHING). "

LOL ! You burst me into laughs. I just wanted to thank you and oh, it's a..."


Thanks, Ayhan! I really think laughing at this book is the healthiest reaction to it (as opposed to making book-shaped dents in the wall with it).


message 47: by TheBookofJules (last edited Feb 17, 2013 09:07AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

TheBookofJules Well, in the plot's defense, it is erotica, so generally the plot literally is the sex or some sort of sexual awakening (which Beauty experiences with a weird and altered Stockholm Syndrome).

I loved this review. I hated this book. You're so right about the language! I was shocked that this had been written by Anne Rice. It's almost as if she completely ignored trying to be a good writer in favor of explicit sex scenes. Unfortunately, the latter doesn't work unless there is good writing to back it. And yes, a majority of this was rape and training the initiates (or whatever they could be called) to be subservient and enjoy being raped. Disturbing.


message 48: by Ayhan (last edited Feb 17, 2013 10:04AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Ayhan Luck Nataliya, yes, it was unintentionally funny or perhaps intentionally who knows?:) Ah and we should follow a doctor's advice,no?:)

Juliebird, Agree, this is a common theme in most BDSM-porn or dark erotica books. Men abduct women, rape,torture, humiliate, abuse, beat and treat them as less than human beings and guess what? These are , in fact, what women want and desire ! They suddenly discover their secret desires, self-awakening ! Then of course they fall for their rapists and live happily ever after. Kitty Thomas mastered about such issues.


TheBookofJules Oh wow, who knew that's what I wanted all along! /sarcasm

The thing that irks me is that it's not BDSM if it's rape. It's rape. They try to masque it and make it sound pretty, but rape is rape.


message 50: by Sandy (new) - rated it 1 star

Sandy Your review is so spot on. I am sick to death of all the spanking. I find myself rolling my eyes every time. Then you think something new might happen when say, along comes the bridle path but nope, just more spanking. It is well and truly used beyond all need. I'm near the end and I've been skimming too. It's boring really and it can't be that hard to use more than 1 or 2 words for someone's private parts. "He put his sex in her sex" hmm yeah, that's erotic!


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