Summary: (Taken from GoodReads) 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.
Thoughts: “Retelling” is a very vague word to use. You could retell the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale with all the genders switched around and in a modern setting, for example. Or you could retell it as a story filled with rape, spanking, rulers being required to go through sexual submission training before they can take the throne, more spanking, long-winded boring dialogue, and just a little more spanking for good measure.
If you picked the latter of the two options, your name is Anne Rice, writing under the pseudonym A N Roquelaure.
My own opinions on Anne Rice aside, I picked up this novel so that I could say that I tried it. I’d heard about it, I’d heard mixed reviewes, and I wanted to see for myself. What I ended up doing was sitting through an S&M fantasy, alternately feeling uncomfortable and then laughing at just how ridiculous the whole thing was. Despite knowing that the book was classed as erotica, I was hoping for something that spent a little less time on sexual degredation and a little more time on an actual story. After all, plenty of people class the Vampire Chronicles as erotica and they have plenty of story to them.
But no, this was a severe disappointment. Possibly if you really like your porny prose, don’t mind some serious non-con and dubious acts of sexuality, and have a high tolerance for literary pain, so check out a copy of this book.
Otherwise, get a Playboy if you want to get turned on. It’s more tasteful. And, dare I say it, more believable.