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 awakens 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.
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.
WARNING: ANIMATED .GIF DUMP, just because I can't take this book seriously.
Finished, and I am so glad that this book is now out of my life and hidden away. This book elicited very strong emotions from me, from disbelief to WTF to OMG enough with the spanking already! in as little as 30 pages.
I've mapped out my emotional progression from the beginning to end:
Pre-read with high expectations:
Pages 1 - 100:
Pages 100 - 200ish:
Page 200 - end:
This book is absurd. I know this is supposed to be some glorified BDSM sex fantasy, but all I could think when the princes/princesses were punished was How do they *not* get diseases? WHAT THE F-
The worst part is that all of these fetishes, quite shocking when we are first exposed to them, get so darn repetitive. I've never read the word "spank" as many times as I have in this book because it's noted on almost every single page. It was a relief to finally finish the book, not just because of the perversity (not that it's lacking--this book is dirty) but because the overused plot devices became quite laughably boring.
I really don't have anything against BDSM or anyone who's for it. But when it's handled in such an unpolished and over indulgent manner, it's hard for me to place much literary value on a book.
Therefore, 1 STAR and recommended for those curious individuals who can stomach some of the more experimental and dare I say grotesque elements of BDSM. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>
Anyway,here we see the Prince(oh,my heroic prince),heroically scales the walls and bushes and thorns and all the other stuff to rescue Beauty(cursed to sleep with her kingdom). And then as soon as he sees her,he tears her gown with his sword wakes her up by having sex with her(she was still asleep by the way and woke up during the end) and then claims her.
By claiming her if you're thinking he claims her as his princess and they ride away to the sunset,you are very wrong.
He claims her as his SLAVE.
Now ever since I had read my first fairy tale,Cinderella,I had always dreamed of a Prince Charming,loved him,sighed with my friends over him,and just...LOVED him.
And look at this Prince Charming....
"Now everyone is going to want to have a look at Beauty," the Prince said to the Captain of the Guard. "Bind her hands over her head by a rope from the sign over the Inn gate,and let the people have their fill of her.But no one is to touch her.They can look all they like,but you stand guard and see that no one touches her."
Now at this point I stopped to ask....
What the hell is happening???
I went through the blurb of this book again to see if this book was a parody of fairytales and BDSM.
It was not!!
Hence my original question....
IS THIS A JOKE???
And now Readers,the beginning where the Prince finds the princess and takes her (I'm not going into a discussion whether it was rape or not) and then wakes her up,was actually the best part of the story.Yes,you heard me right.The story became more and more ridiculous as it progressed.
And the worst part.....
Nowhere did I feel the urge to laugh!!
I am sorry,but I cannot tell you about it anymore!!**shudders**
Henceforth,I'm going to try my best to forget all about it......
First off: Are reviewers here doing their job when reading? Aren't we supposed to abandon our preconceptions when opening a book? On that note, this is one of those books. In order to fully enjoy it, I have some recommendations:
1) This series IS NOT EROTICA. This is full blown pornography. If we define erotica as the mere suggestion of the sex act, whereas pornography comprises descriptive and graphic depictions of sex scenes, then this book is pornography. And, if your religious, republican, right-wing, or "bug-crawled-up-your-arse" sensibilities are easily offended by pornography, then this book is not for you and you should refrain from reviewing it. 2) On that note, this book deals with the BDSM (Bondage and Sado Masochism)brand of sex. If you're not even curious about it, refrain from reading and reviewing this book. If you're not open to freeing your mind or opening it a bit to other possibilities, by all means, refrain from reading at all, and just go to your farm. 3) This book deals witha fairy tale, namely Sleeping Beauty, but it touches upon other fairy tale archetypes, namely the Arabian Nights. It doesn't deal with history, real or fictionalized, and it should never be read as such.
Having dispersed some doubts, let me now proceed to make my point.
The author cleverly aims to bisexualize the reader. The scenes depicted in the books are either heterosexual, lesbian, bisexual or homosexual. There are other practices, such as dildo utilisation, fisting, ben wa balls, as well as a "garden of torture" meant to teach imprudent slaves. The dregrees of torture range from slapping the buttocks to public gang bangs. The narrator tells us that the raison d'etre behind this feast of flesh, vaginal juices and cum, is to humilliate the would-be rulers of the world, humanize them into becoming wise. As a man who has been at the receiving end of responsible BDSM, I can attest to the truth of these words. Humility is a value that has been lost to many movements, namely the Illustration, it was rescued again by the Romantics, honoured by the Modernists and altogether dropped by Postmodernists. And some feminists, mainly ultrafeminists, in their quest for egalitarian power, also forgot about it.
The series is not about a woman who is taught the arts of the flesh and how to command. The story is about a woman who revels in serving others, even while being a highborn princess. In that sense, this series rivals Machiavelli's "Il Principe", inasmuch as the story spins around the teaching of how to properly serve the people. That is wisdom. And in that sense, this series can even be read as a political treatise.
So, if you're a woman bored with your life, sick of being a maid, in search of becoming a maneater, this book is definitely not for you. It is on a whole other level. However, if you're willing to delve into the most traumatic process of skin delayering, until you see the darkest and most beautiful part of the human soul in a character, then you've come to the right place. Some parts of the books are brutal, some even downright violent. Yet there is a beauty in the whole process of becoming less in order to be more that is enticing and even healthy -in the long run- for the soul.
I was hoping for a more grown up version of the classic Sleeping Beauty tale. Holy Moly! This isn't at all what I expected, and while I am not a prude by any stretch of the imagination, this book was way too intense for me.
According to some, I'm not open minded or enlightened enough to appreciate its value. To them I say... well hell, I'm still too stunned to say anything.
I got this in a boxed set one Christmas from my GRANDMOTHER. She knew I collected fairy tales and their adaptations. I'm fairly certain she had no idea the books were erotic. I think she just saw "Sleeping Beauty" and assumed I'd want it. She wanted to borrow it from me when I was done. I kept pretending to forget it every time.
First Book: Fun and novel read. Interesting background and lots of creative naughty bits for fun.
Second book: Lost steam. She lost most of the background and plot and even though there was a variety of positions and objects -- she recycled quite a bit of the sex scenes.
Third book: I've NEVER read an erotica book that I considered flat out BORING until I read this book. I skipped what little bit of the plot was there. I believe she used MAD LIBS to write out the sex scenes. They seemed idetical except for which piece of fruit was inserted where. I've been more stimulated reading the phone book.
When I was a preteen, I was out with my mom having brunch or something, and I remember these two ladies sitting nearby trying reaaaalllly hard to speak quietly, so all I could really make out was "Pssst....did you hear about...psst-psst...Anne Rice...psst-psst...erotica...pssst-psst-psst...sleeping beauty...pssst...bondage." Then they noticed that I was there and doing whatever the middle school kid equivalent of a dog staring at you with one ear lifted is, and started talking about something way less interesting.
My adolescent trash senses were tingling, but this was before the internet was really an every day thing, so I put that convo on ice and years later, as an older teen on Goodreads casually looking up erotica books to read, I thought to myself, "Hmmm, I wonder what those two secretive ladies were talking about? I'M GONNA SEE IF I CAN FIND IT."
Moral of the story: erotica is NSFB (not safe for brunch).
Also moral of the story: probably not best to discuss such things in front of little pitchers with big ears and semi-eidetic memories (not that they could possibly know that - but hey, if you ladies happen to be following me now, please consider this review personally dedicated to you, mwah)
***WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS AND INAPPROPRIATE CONTENT***
"You get a spanking! You get a spanking! You get a spanking! EVERYONE GETS A SPANKING!"
(I tried to find a funny spanking gif to put her but when I looked at Tumblr and typed in spank, everything was all porn - so no gifs for you today, sorry.)
I'm not even going to try to pretend that Amazon is going to let me get away with this posting this review to their site, so this is going to be one of those (rare) instances where I'm not going to self-censor. I'm sure somebody has managed to come up with a PG-rated review of this book, and I'm equally sure that review doesn't mention the people staked out in the gardens with sugar syrup smeared on their genitals and insects biting their flesh as "punishment," or the people being literally pushed around on the floor by their masters by giant butt-dildos on sticks. These are crucial bits of info that I feel the public should know prior to purchase.
I'm also not a sadist. The concept of sadism in and of itself frankly repulses me a little. I get that some people are into that, and if you find someone who would like to do that stuff with you and there's consent and that's your jam, then whatever, but I find it totally off-putting and do not enjoy reading about it. Especially when there is NOT consent. And not only is there sadism in this book, none of it is consenting. So that's doubly not fun for me.
The premise of this book is really strange. Only the first chapter really follows the fairytale. The prince finds Sleeping Beauty, rapes her, and then announces to her family that he's taking her as Tribute. Apparently his kingdom is notorious for this: they get attractive princes and princesses from other kingdoms to keep as slaves as "tithes." Which begs the question: why is everyone going along with this? They seem so busy investing their treasury in things like gold ben-wa balls, bejeweled fisting gloves, and silver paddles that I can't see them investing in things like a militia, so what's to stop one of those neighboring kingdoms from being all, "Hey, no, you know what? Fuck this, I see your paddle and raise you eight hundred gentlemen on horseback armed with rifles and cannons."
Beauty is subjected to multiple humiliations: paraded about naked, where she's molested by total strangers, raped again by the prince, spanked, spanked, spanked, and yes, spanked some more, paraded about in front of all the courtiers (naked) while bound and being humiliated and spanked and also yes groped and molested some more, then she's taken outdoors and given pony shoes and spanked up and down the gardens, then she's foisted off to the prince's mother to be sexually assaulted and spanked some more, and on top of this she's fed wine and food on the floor like a dog and is only allowed to dress and undress people with her mouth, and at the very end of the book she finally gets to sleep with the one guy she actually likes - a fellow slave - and the book ends with his recollections of his punishments which include, but are not limited to, being anally raped with a whip, having numerous ben-wa balls shoved up his butt which he is then instructed to poop out, being thrown in rotting garbage while being molested, groped, etc, and oh, yes, constant spankings and rape. (FYI: Breasts are spanked, butts are spanked, dicks are spanked, vaginas are spanked, et al.)
This really is the poor man's Marquis de Sade, because as much as I freaking hate de Sade, he did it first (or at least, most famously) and he shocked the hell out of everyone. Anne Rice tries to do the same, but it's mostly just gross and depressing and sad. Beauty spends most of the book in tears, and the people around her just bully her so ruthlessly, telling her that she deserves her punishments, but also that she'll be punished when she doesn't deserve it because they enjoy punishment, threatening her constantly but then praising her beauty and saying how good she is - this book shouldn't be called THE CLAIMING OF SLEEPING BEAUTY, no; it should be called THE GASLIGHTING OF SLEEPING BEAUTY. The entire book is literally all of these fucked up people telling her that they are making her better, that they are helping her, that they are giving her what she deserves.
If it were me, I'd be like, BITCH. GIVE ME THAT PADDLE. I'M GOING TO BEAT YOUR HEAD WITH IT. (But then, if I were a character in this book, I'd totally be one of those people saying, "Um, yeah, they're so busy doing all that crazy stuff right now, maybe we should bring in our military to free those people they are CLEARLY keeping as prisoners of war and not humanely, either!")
Given that I read bodice rippers, I know some people are going to be surprised at the low rating. I should note that I don't usually have issues reading about rape or dub/non-con in romance, as long as it isn't romanticized or gaslighting the audience into thinking this is normal/acceptable behavior. In this instance, it really bothered me because I felt like the rapes in this book were being roped off with the rest of "that BDSM stuff" as typical kinky nonsense, and no, real kink is all about consent.
The writing isn't so great, either. The word "little" is used every other page, it feels like, and the descriptions of sex themselves are kind of nauseating.
Beauty's breath became uneven, and she felt the moisture between her legs as though a grape had been squeezed there (146).
Leon's quick, graceful fingers had probed her navel, then smoothed into it a paste in which he set a glittering brooch, a fine jewel surrounded by pearls. Beauty had gasped. She felt as if someone were pressing her there, trying to enter her, as if her navel had become a vagina (117).
...with his left hand felt the soft hairy little pelt between Beauty's legs... (17)
...he suckled her breasts almost idly as though taking little drinks from them (17)
Now that I think about it, KUSHIEL'S DART and CAPTIVE PRINCE both had very similar premises to this book (fantasy kingdoms whose courts/culture revolve around BDSM-like goings-on), to the point where I can't help but feel that they were probably indirectly inspired by THE CLAIMING at the very least. The difference is that both those books actually made an attempt at world-building and character-building, and there was some court intrigue beyond "OH NO! TWO PEOPLE WANT TO SPANK ME TONIGHT - WHO WILL GET TO WIELD THE PADDLE?" I actually liked CAPTIVE PRINCE.
Somebody with the ebook version seriously needs to do a word count of how many times "little" was used in this book. I feel like it was probably 100+ times, it was so noticeable.
I can't believe there are 3 more books in this series.
So my friend sent me an article about "50 Shades of Grey", mentioning that real erotica experts thought 50 was crap and "Sleeping Beauty" was the real thing. Because I am nothing if not thorough, I bought Sleeping Beauty #1.
WHAT. THE FUCK.
No. NO! NONONONONO. Who on earth thought THIS would be a good counter from the erotica world? I do not get BDSM off of this, I get some sort of weird torture porn. You know what puts me right off a sexytimes book? Rape. And there is a HELL of a lot of rape in here. Cruelty and meanness and pain and rape. And people who get a charge off of rape can go stand waaaaay over there, where I can keep an eye on you.
I swear to god I'm not a prude. I have read and enjoyed erotica, even BDSM erotica before, but admittedly it's been situations where the submissive is tacitly permitting their treatment rather than being tortured - I guess what I'm saying is I like my BDSM with an undercurrent of actual emotion and enjoyment and with a safe word, or at least with a measure of emotional investment from the sadist side. I get how it's empowering to trust someone else to that extent and to test limits. This is not that. This is not about control, this is about abject humiliation. This is breaking people, and the entire story that Alexi tells just makes me want to throw things. The Queen sends him off to get raped repeatedly by abusive morons. This is not the result of neglect - she deliberately sends him to people she knows will brutally, serially rape him. There's a reason I don't want to watch movies like "Hostel", and also a reason why movies about sex trafficking haunt me. Rape and nonconsensual sex do not do it for me.
Look, whatever floats your fictional boat is fine, but for me this was actually pretty repellant. I do not want to read a book about people being farmed out to rapists. I do not want to read about people being beaten down both figuratively and literally. I can't quite believe I'm saying this, but FIFTY SHADES IS BETTER THAN THIS SHIT. Yes, it's a gross misrepresentation of an actual BDSM relationship and there are tons of other major issues with the story and characters, but nobody rapes anyone, and that's good enough for me!
I am going to have nightmares tonight. I really, really do not like rape. The End.
Disclaimer: I read this book on a dare. I'm not a fan of pure erotica and I'm no expert in BDSM, so it was pretty much obvious from the start that I wouldn't enjoy this read. That's why I'm not rating this book, as it wouldn't be fair to lower its average rating "on purpose" - not that I think one rating would cause such "damage", but anyway...
So, how should I start this review ranting of mine? ;) Okay, how about the plot? Plot?!? Yes, dear friends, this book has a plot - an absurd and underdeveloped one, but a plot nonetheless. I don't feel like giving away any more of my damaged brain cells to this nightmare, so I'll just copy/paste the plot summary given at the beginning of the 2nd book, Beauty's Punishment: After her century-long slumber, the Sleeping Beauty opened her eyes at the kiss of the Prince, to find her garments stripped away and her heart as well as her body under the rule of her deliverer. At once, Beauty was claimed as the Prince's naked pleasure slave to be taken to his Kingdom. With the grateful consent of her parents, and dazed with desire for the Prince, Beauty was then brought to the Court of Queen Eleanor, the Prince's mother, to serve as one of hundreds of naked Princes and Princesses, all playthings of the Court until such time as they should be rewarded and sent home to their Kingdoms. Dazzled by the rigors of the Training Hall, the Hall of Punishments, the ordeal of the Bridle Path, and her own mounting passion to please, Beauty remained the undisputed favorite of the Prince and the delight of her sometime Mistress, the lovely young Lady Juliana. Yet she could not ignore her secret and forbidden infatuation with the Queen's exquisite slave, Prince Alexi, and finally the disobedient slave, Prince Tristan. After glimpsing Prince Tristan among the disgraced of the castle, Beauty, in a moment of seemingly inexplicable rebellion, brings upon herself the very same punishment destined for Tristan: to be sent away from the voluptuous Court to the degradation of harsh labor in the nearby village.
That doesn't sound too bad, does it? Well, if you think so, just read my status updates to get a "tastier" insight into the extremely kinky, painful and humiliating sex antics Beauty and the other love slaves go through over the course of this book. I gasped, I frowned, I cringed and I gagged - oh boy! - but I also rolled my eyeballs and laughed hysterically at what was supposed to be erotic and thrilling. I "blame" Ms. Rice's juvenile writing for that: it was wordy and redundant, the story didn't flow effortlessly and all characters were one-dimensional and unlikable - in summary, this book became downright boring after the initial shock provided in the 1st chapters. I had to drink myself into almost oblivion to finish this read.
Now, how can an erotic story be boring? One word: repetition. Every other page, there was someone being spanked. Beauty and any other (un)fortunate love slave in sight got spanked for everything, over and over again. Oh, you bad girl, you need to be punished... Spanked! Very good, my girl... Spanked! I'm not amused. Spanked! You're so exquisitely beautiful!... Spanked! Are those tears of joy I see running down your face?... Spanked! I love you so much!... Spanked! Spanked! Spanked! Gaaaaah!
All things considered, I can't say I hated this book. I was irritated and coudn't wait to be done with it, but that wasn't out of utter disgust. It was out of sheer boredom. Even though this book is definitely out of my comfort zone, it could have kept my interested if Ms. Rice had filled its pages with all sorts of kinky stuff. Like I said above, I'm not familiar with the BDSM scenario and I could have been easily thrilled (in a good or bad way, it doesn't matter) by whatever "novelty" she wrote. Alas, all the excitment died after the 1st chapters and I didn't "learn" anything new... Disappointing!
I can’t help comment/review this book from the perspective of someone who has read it before and has recently read it again. As a whole I like to think of the trilogy like a flower. The first novel is the bud and then by the time you get to the end of the third novel it’s in full bloom. Claiming starts of with innocent little Beauty being “awakened” by the Prince. I like how innocent Beauty is because as the reader you’re innocent to this new world she is introduced to as well, this being a fairy tale after all, and you get to warm up to it like she does as if this is the setting stage for what is to come. By the end of it Beauty is still innocent but she’s really only touched the surface and so has the book so the ending isn’t really all that surprising and I think the perfect prelude to the next one. I highly recommend this for anyone into the SM genre or if you are an erotic lit reader but want some shock value then by all means read it. Mind you, if you’re narrow minded forget about it because the “shocks” (when I say shocks I mean for vanilla people) start right from the beginning and become more intense, imaginative and descriptive as the Rice delves further into the psychological factors of it.
Ummm...I don't even know where to start. This book was definitely a far cry from the 'Sleeping Beauty' I remember from childhood. LOL! I love a good, dark, erotic story, but this was just bizarre. I had to create a new shelf for this one, named 'WTF did I just read'.
Aside from the overzealous paddle-wielding, the story wasn't really particularly "dark". Nope, the shocking nature of this tale seemed to come from it's complete and total strangeness. It was just so damn weird!
I mean, who the hell administers a rudimentary enema in a kitchen, anyway! I'm surprised the castle's resident perverts didn't all die of foodbourne illnesses with some of the nasty things going on in the kitchen. Yuck! I wasn't turned on, I wanted to file a complaint with OSHA or the Department of Health. Again, not sexy at all!
To top it all off, none of the characters were the least bit appealing. I didn't feel even the slightest connection with any of them. The blurb sounded promising, but unfortunately, the execution left much to be desired.
I'm a firm believer in "different strokes for different folks". Hey, some people like to be defecated on. Whatever. Sounds pretty disgusting to me, but who am I to judge! So if this book does it for you, then more power to you. For me, this book sucked in a big way!
If you're looking for a good BDSM fiction, this is it. Otherwise - stay away. And I mean it!!! BDSM is an acquired taste and if you're not really into it, you'll find the book repulsive.
Now, if you're into love games and are fascinated by mild (or not so mild) pain in an erotic setting - you've got the right book. The fairytale, Sleeping Beauty, is used merely as a starting point, the story goes off on a tangent within the first few pages and then we're taken into the neighbouring kingdom with all its twisted customs.
The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty is well planned out, with the right amount of plot, sex and romance. Much easier to get through than Interview with the vampire (which I found long and tiresome though inspiring too), from which I gather that Ann Rice got better skilled at expressing her thoughts. And boy, are those some sick thoughts! Makes sense that this was published this under a pen name. The subject matter is so extreme (not Bataille extreme, but still rather out there, even in comparison to her vampire books, which weren't all that well behaved either). Thanks for that Ann Rice, you perv, I really enjoyed it! Devoured this book in 3 short bursts.
I'm not rating this because I couldn't finish it, and I don't feel it's right to rate a book unless you've digested the entire thing. But I did want to make it clear why I gave up on this book. I'm not a prude, not real squeamish when it comes to sex, and have no problem with consensual BDSM. Key word there being "consensual". The sexual situations in this book are anything but consensual. The "Prince" regularly degrades, humiliates, and dehumanizes Beauty, and she never objects, never attempts to stand up for herself. The rest of the characters fall into one of the same two camps, as well, either callous, unfeeling rapists or horribly abused victims. The feeling this book incited in me was far from erotic. It felt closer to pure, unadulterated rage. I guess if you're into books where the author's sole purpose was to write about as much sex as possible, and you're OK with people treating each other worse than they would treat an animal, you might like this book. Otherwise, don't waste your time.
Honestly I'm pretty shy to review this book, just bear with me and my random shenanigans. Okay so I'll just assume that people who are reading this book review are 18 years old and above. Please if you're below 18, stop reading this and do something else.
Moving on, the reason I read this book is merely out of curiosity. But my first encounter with the idea of BDSM was last year(I'm not going to explain the definition of BDSM, if you haven't heard of it, please search it on wikipedia) when I've read Lover Unbound by J. R. Ward which was the fifth book in her The Black Dagger Brotherhood series.
When I've first read about it, I pretty much like it, the idea of "BDSM" and actually I think it was also last year when my friend IRL have a VCD about BDSM and we watched it. So at first I was hesitant to watch it but having read the book Lover Unbound I was curious to know how does it look like IRL. After watching it I was surprised and scared like shit because it's not how I imagined it would be. Idk how to describe it but the video was weird, grotesque, ugly, with their terrifying apparatus and what not and I was more like angry while watching it. I didn't like it at all.
So that's why I'm expecting that I'll not even finish reading this book because of that past experience and pretty much I have so many dear GR friends who have rated this book 1 star.
So this is what happens, I read it, and I can pretty much say that I hated it at first. The first scene in this book was actually a rape scene. The premise was copied from the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty and of course the princess was curse and she was in a state of deep sleep. And in order to wake up the princess and lift the curse, a prince must kissed her.
So yeah the prince came and he doesn't just kissed Beauty. He like slashed off her night gown using his sword and then he rape her and then after that he kissed her. So Beauty was finally free from the curse and I think she immediately felt a connection with the prince who have saved her.
The first part was shocking and confusing for me because when I think about a prince like this one
(Sorry Prince Caspian for putting you on this one)
okay as I'm saying when you think of princes it should not be like this one in this book because the prince just raped the princess and he doesn't want the princess to have any clothes on. He just wanted her naked all the time. And he even paraded the princess body to the crowd and he even post her and tied her and then he called out an old man to touch her breast etc.
So yeah WTH right?
Yeah I was pissed off at first because this is unbelievably absurd but as I got halfway through reading it. I began to understand the story fully.
When the prince arrived at their castle and then you'll be introduced with different sex slaves in the castle. And then I started to surmise that the rules of their kingdom was different from the norm.
So sex slavery and BDSM was the norm in their kingdom. Even princes and princesses were considered as sex slaves. They must submit to their masters etc. And they have the structure like when you're a sex slave you'll be given groom and a page and there are different punishments if you rebel or just to test you. And there are also different sex games I guess that you need to do in order to please your master.
That's when the story got really interesting because I felt like everything that I considered weird at the first half of the book was slowly explained here. And then I love the fact that the sex slaves in this book have different personalities and way of thinking or handling the situations they are into. I just really like it because as I was reading it I felt their emotions, frustrations etc. It was really thought provoking and for me I just realize many things like how can violence especially if it's sexual affect people's perspective about themselves and also about hopelessness and acceptance and yielding.
I think that this is a great book actually if you're just open minded and look at it in a different perspective and not just looking at it with you know sex and everything.
And also the writing was superb and I really like Anne Rice's choice of words. She kind of remind me of Judith McNaught novels with added dark side and erotica flavor on it. Definitely recommended and I can say that this is definitely a "Classic" of the Erotica Genre. _____________________________________________ ***I'll post my in-depth review tomorrow.***
Okay so I just finished the book and I really like it. I'm surprised and a bit shock, idk what else to say right now but it actually was written very fluidly and solidly. At first I don't get the plot at all but as I was reading it, the plot got deeper and I like the fact that I actually sympathize with the sex slaves in this book. The feeling was tormenting and scary and thought provoking I think. I just gave it four stars because the ending felt empty for me. However I'll still read the next one.
I'd really recommend this book if you're an open minded person and you can tolerate reading a book with too much BDSM on it. Just don't expect this book to be romantic. There's nothing romantic in this book to be honest with you. Sleeping Beauty was treated more like a sex toy rather than a princess in this book.
I am not sure how I feel about this book. On PAGE 3 the sex and degradation begins and it continued-page after brutal page. I am not a prude by any stretch, I just think this is not the book or subject matter for me. The sub/dom theme is just a little much for me as it is presented in this book--especially since there seems to be little to no relief for the submissives.
To answer the review question, "What I Learned from this book"--Well, I learned that being a submissive 24-7 seems to really suck with a capital "S". The book was successful at making me feel a number of emotions, being turned on was not one of the emotions. More like angry, sad and repulsed...and let's not forget disturbed. Very disturbed.
I can see the interest in sub/dom, bdsm if it is played out like it is in Lover Unbound--you know where you play the role and then go back to your regular life. Not when you LIVE the role constantly. I do not know if I will finish the trilogy. My nature is to finish out of curiosity...kinda like a train wreck. You don't want to watch and you know it will probably end badly, but you just can't help yourself. One of my GR friends said she read it and the 2nd book only gets worse--my question is: How on God's green earth is that possible?
If not taken too seriously, this book is a hilarous romp. Fairy tales are a study in extremes, and The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty is no exception. From sensual and savory to dastardly and disgusting, this erotic retelling of "Sleeping Beauty" offers a little bit of everything (along with laughable words like mound, organ, and pubis as well as a wearying amount of spanking; good heavens, so much spanking!). Anne Rice explains in the preface that she embarked on a mission to write an erotic novel with sexual content on nearly every page - one that explores the sexual aspects of vulnerability, degredation, humiliation, and subjugation - and she absolutely delivers.
Oh boy. What to say about this book. I love a good smut novel, and not just those PG-13 Danielle Steel novels either. I totally dig trashy, nasty, dirty romance novels, especially the ones that use ridiculous words like tumescent, which is what I expected this book to be--with a fairy tale context. What it turned out to be was 200 pages of rape and sadism and degradation. Within three pages, Sleeping Beauty was awakened not by a loving kiss, as is the tradition, but by sex, which obviously she couldn't consent to if she was ASLEEP! Uh, date rape anyone? Then, she's taken from her kingdom, made to march naked to the prince's kingdom with her arms behind her neck, is molested by courtiers when she arrives in her new castle, and is repeatedly beaten and basically raped for their pleasure thereafter. In what world is this erotic??? No offense to anyone who likes this book. But dude. I'm upset with Anne Rice. What was she thinking? I will not be reading the second and third installments. Haha, because I'm angry.
This is a scrumptious sexual feast from Anne Rice, writing under a pseudonym. It picks up the Sleeping Beauty tale from the moment the Prince kisses her and spins a three-book saga of what happens next. Beauty is whisked off to the Prince's kingdom, but discovers that before she can marry him, she must follow the laws of his land and do as the other princes and pricesses do. That is, she must surrender to several years of humiliating sado-masochistic sexual servitude at the hands of the aristocracy and become a sex slave! If she passes this test, she will be allowed to marry the Prince and regain her royal status.
This book is like porn. You don't need to read it cover to cover. The chapters are written from the points of view of Beauty and her male friends. Each chapter contains a delicious sex scene, and most are GAY! The chapters written from the perspective of Beauty's male friends are so astoundingly graphic I remember them to this day. In one, the hot prince Laurent is forced to become a "pony" after misbehaving. He and the other ponys must run around the village fully naked all day, linked to a carriage with harnesses, and sporting dildos with horsetails attached. If they ever lose their erections, the "ponys" are severly whipped, but they must never try to alleviate their boners by brushing against one another. Thus they spend their days in excruciating blue-balled agony until the special day when they are set loose inside a walled-in garden and allowed an hour to spend themselves. The ensuing orgy of dangerously horny ponies is a wonder to behold.
I was all for reading a little naughty fairy-tale erotica from an author I liked - but wow. The whole sub/dom theme (the title really should be "The Spanking Of Sleeping Beauty") was funny at first, then ridiculous, and eventually just tedious. Meh.
A princess is inflicted with a curse. One where she would sleep for eternity, unless the spell is broken by a kiss of a prince.
A prince comes and bestows his lovingly affections to the lovely princess. When I say lovingly affections, I mean, him ruining Beauty's dress with a sword, raping her(she was asleep, and she doesn't give permission, which I call rape) and then giving her a kiss.
The thought (aside from the rape part), is absolutely romantic for me. I could already imagine all that the prince had to endure to save the princess, which is absolutely amazing for my standards.
Anyway, despite the rape and all the nakedness Beauty had to endure, I had continued hoping that Anne Rice could offer me something sweeter.
But alas, my expectations were not met.
There is nothing sweet in this story. And I have no idea how I was able to finish this.
Thus I could say no more, because up to now, I am still having shivers just thinking of the cruelty every slave had to endure, and the taste of anus, which unfortunately, Anne Rice described in graphic detail.
I've heard lots about this trilogy, good and bad. It's been touted as great BDSM fic, an erotic fairytale and a great read. There were voices that said it's vile and horrible. There seemed to be no middle ground
Curious, I requested the books on Netgalley when Penguin made them available as a re-release.
Curiosity killed the cat. I should have remembered that old adage.
Despite my usually high tolerance for kinky stories, I struggled through this book, with my teeth clenched and my fists balled in anger. I felt sick to my stomach on many occasions, especially when Prince Alexi tells the tale of his own abuse and degradation.
Whoever claimed that the story told in this book has anything to do with BDSM ought to look up the term and learn that one of the key elements of BDSM is the ability to make it stop, with a safeword that ends either the scene or the relationship. It's also supposed to be sane, safe and consensual.
None of the slaves in this book gave their consent for the treatment they received, nor was it sane or even safe. No thought was given to the fact that injuries would occur, especially if someone is sodomized repeatedly without lube, or proper preparation.
No, this book is about abuse, repeated rape degradation, humiliation, breaking the spirits of young, innocent boys and girls and spanking. It describes the pain, horror and fear these boys and girls experience at the hands and tools of their masters, after having been thrust into this world of sexual sadism without an explanation and being simply expected to obey, in all things, no matter how abusive and humiliating those things are.
Did I mention spanking? Spanking, as punishment or for the amusement of the vile people who are in charge. Spanking with bare hands and paddles and leather covered sticks. Spanking while strung up like a roast pig, spanking while scurrying on hands and feet to pick up things, spanking while bridled (incl. bit) and wearing hoof-like shoes, running for your life. Spanking while having a rod inserted into your anus to hold you up. Spanking, spanking, spanking. Spanking until your behind is welted and bruised (which isn't spanking but beating, but let's not split hairs).
I can't even call this a rape fantasy, because that still would require that the slaves in this book have any kind of recourse to stop the fantasy.
Alas, they have none. None whatsoever. NONE.
I don't understand why the author shrouded this as the retelling of a fairytale. There's nothing remotely romantic or erotic about any of the plot, contents, or characters. Nor does it have anything to do with awakening someone's sexuality.
There's not even much emotion in it. Sure, Prince Alexi confesses his love for Beauty, but I can't believe that he knows what it really means, considering his own story. I don't think any of the characters in this book know the true meaning of love.
The characters are one-dimensional, without any emotional depth. The only one that somewhat intrigued me was Prince Alexi, who then lost all points with me when he unemotionally recounted the tale of his own abuse.
The writing style, keeping it in the tone of a fairytale, also doesn't lend itself to showing. We're told of emotions, but I could never actually comprehend them in the given situations. Lady Juliana professes to 'love' Beauty, but does nothing to help her situation. The Prince who claims her professes to be obsessed with her, that he loves her like no other, yet is the one who begins the rape, abuse and humiliation.
And the Queen, his mother, is the vilest of them all. Her conduct is sadistic and cruel and utterly reprehensible, and her depravity knows no end.
Strangely enough, she doesn't seem to have a husband. I wonder if that means anything.
Perhaps I'm missing the point. There is a scene at the end of this book in which Beauty takes a stand and manipulates the situation to get an outcome she desires (albeit one that may not be in her best interest), which is the only time her character shows any kind of backbone. This is the only reason I will likely read the next book, because I'm curious enough to want to see what will happen next.
Cats have nine lives, right?
Also, if you decide to call a male penis an organ or a phallus throughout the entire book, then you probably don't want to call the matching female anatomy a vagina. That just didn't gel for me.
One positive thing I can say about this book is that Ms. Rice succeeded in keeping the writing tone (not the plot or the contents) to that of a fairytale.
I received a free ARC from the publisher via NetGalley.
I reread this recently for a local book group. I originally gave it a lower rating, but with age I have come to appreciate a bit more about this book.
First of all, it's an erotica book unto itself. The language is oddball, the world is complete fantasy, and it's grossly politically incorrect by today's standards. I think if this was published today she would have had to make all the "princes" and "princesses" at least 18 years of age, etc, etc.
With that said, this book did it for me. What that means is, I masturbated my pants off. I masturbated to this book probably more frequently than I have for any other book. Maybe that's TMI...if so I'm sorry. But we all know we read these books to get hot so I doubt anyone is scandalized. But LITERALLY it was a stroke fest, and weirdly when I first read this twenty years ago, it was the same way.
But back then I didn't appreciate this for what it was...a very authentic exploration of the complexities and pleasures of power exchange. The whole world in this book is sex, and Roquelaure/Rice plays very deftly with shifting power and the very essence of submission. As a submissive person myself I was fascinated by the parts about letting go, about yielding and allowing yourself to be broken. I loved how the slaves were not mindless vessels but all had their own inner power or that thing that set them apart. Princess Lynette, Prince Alexi, Prince Tristan, even Beauty. The dominant characters were also shown with foibles, which made them more interesting than perfect, rigid masters.
I loved the hopelessness and dread of it all, and the constant, constant, CONSTANT paddling, fucking (and anal raping, once you get to Alexi's part of the book.) Did I mention the CONSTANT PADDLING? But what can I say, it all gets me hot.
I wouldn't read this book with some great hopes for a storyline or message (hence the four stars rather than five), but if you just want to visit a mystical, lyrical, paddle-filled world where you will read the word "buttocks" continuously and probably masturbate furiously, then this is your book. I think I'm going to have to suck up the price and buy ecopies of book 2 and 3 also. My paper books disintegrated many years ago...
This book was really my introduction into Erotica and is definitely an eye opener. I agree with one of the other reviewers in that this is so well written by Anne Rice (Pen Name A. N. Roquelaure) that you may be ruined for other Erotica - I was.
This book basically picks up on the fairy tale where the Prince awakens Sleeping Beauty with a... He then takes her back to his kingdom where she is basically a slave along with many others that are being groomed for nobility. The BDSM life that they lead there is basically a rite of passage for most before they become full noble men and women. A kind of finishing school, if you will.
This book is the introduction to a series of three books. It really initiates you into the fantasy. Spankings and various other acts that you wouldn't necessarily dream up on your own abound... You must be able to completely give yourself over to the fantasy - leave your inhibitions and women's empowerment at the door and enjoy.
It took me forever to figure out how to rate this book because I couldn't even figure out how I felt about it when I finished. I'm still a little unsure, honestly.
Honestly, I'm not quite sure where Sleeping Beauty comes into play here except she's a princess who awakens from a cursed sleep. That's where any relations to the story pretty much end. What then ensues is such a clusterfuck of actions that I'm just left like...
I was told early on that this was pretty much a BDSM book, when in actuality this is a book about humiliating people by spanking. A lot of spanking. Anne Rice has an interesting view of BDSM because she throws out the love, safety, and trust that comes with a BDSM relationship and instead focuses on the terror and fear that one's "master" inflicts. Beauty is thrust into this world without any explanation of what's happening, she's just expected to obey because the Prince awoke her.
I found most of the characters in this book one-dimensional, except for Alexi, who intrigued me from the start. Then he told Beauty his story and the way Rice wrote it - from the way he speaks, to the language he uses - took me out of it. And I was left going, another fucked up character.
The ending introduced us to another Prince, Prince Tristan, who seems interesting - especially to Beauty *snort*. I will most likely continue the series because I'm me and I feel the need to see what happens next. Thank god they're short.
I can't believe that Anne Rice wrote this book and I am honestly not sure how to rate it. First of all there is no story in the book and no connection to the original fairytale of the sleeping beauty. If the book was called The Claiming of Cinderella or The Claiming of Frankenstein's Bride, I don't think it would make much difference. Moreover if Lestat appeared in a scene spanking the Sleeping Beauty again you wouldn't notice. Still the writing style is flawless and this is a huge plus.