Series: Sleeping Beauty #1
Published by Sphere on 01-08-2012
Genres: Erotica, Love & Romance
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.
The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty begins with Beauty being ‘initiated’ into the world of sex by the Prince. Naively, when I read the blurb, I assumed Beauty would be…well…awake, for this. She’s not. Beauty then goes with the Prince to his kingdom to become his sex slave.
I requested The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty on NetGalley, pretty much on a whim. I knew it was an erotic retelling of Sleeping Beauty, I knew it was written by Anne Rice, and I knew a lot of bloggers I normally share reading tastes with had enjoyed it. I was convinced enough by those facts to request it, but unfortunately The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty and I just did not get along at all.
For a long time, I debated whether or not to write a review of The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, because while I do write negative reviews, I try to write negative reviews rather than flaming ones (see this great post by Dudette Reads on negative reviews without negativity) and that means highlighting the positives of a story – even if they’re few and far between. Unfortunately, I really struggled to find a positive about The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty.
I didn’t find either The Prince or Beauty compelling as characters, and I couldn’t really bring myself to care about either of them. The sex (between them and others) is prolific, so there’s absolutely no sense of build up, and I found it quickly got repetitive. This is not the BDSM of Fifty Shades or the like – the consent is so dubious, I wouldn’t feel comfortable calling it BDSM at all. It’s also definitely not BDSM-lite: characters are ‘given’ to others to use, they’re humiliated and they’re treated as slaves. Beauty seems to spend as much time crying as she does anything else.
The most intriguing character is Prince Alexi, the Queen’s favourite ‘pet’, who Beauty is drawn to. I really enjoyed the possibility of romance there, but unfortunately this wasn’t enough to balance out the rest of the story. My overwhelming impression of the novel, to be honest, is one of abuse and endless spanking.
Despite being less than 300 pages, it took me pretty much a week to read and I nearly gave up more than once. I’ve read other reviews from people who loved it though, so it seems to be a bit of a marmite read. Unfortunately, while I’ve read and enjoyed a fair amount of erotic (and BDSM) fiction, for some reason The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty and I just rubbed each other the wrong way.
Buy it? I’d borrow or read a sample to see if it’s your style, but it isn’t one I’d buy.
In a nutshell: Just not for me at all.