I have always loved the tale of Sleeping Beauty. In fact, that is my favorite story of all time. I guess you can call me a hopeless romantic. You can imagine my excitement when I saw the erotic novel, The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, by Anne Rice (writing as A.N. Roquelaure). The most romantic story with an added edge of eroticism? I couldn't resist.
Now I wish I had.
The book opens with a bang. The Prince (who never has a name throughout the entire story) finds Beauty (who also is just known as that and no other name) and awakens her, but not with the usual tale of a kiss. This sleeping princess requires more hardcore stuff to open her eyes and so we get right down to the nitty gritty; however, something bothers me in this opening and continues until the end.
According to the book, Beauty fell asleep when she was 15 and slept for 100 years. Since she has not aged, I have to assume she is still a mere fifteen when the prince, who is 18, finds her. So basically he rapes her? Not as romantic as I first thought the story would be.
Anyway, he makes her his personal sex slave and demands she remains naked at all times. They travel back to his castle, all the while she's completely naked and on display for the public.
Other slaves, at the castle, are in the same predicament, but we also find out that they are young teenagers being used for the pleasure of the lords and ladies. Under age entertainment? Not my idea of a book that's supposed to excite me.
This book seemed lacking. The sex was rare and when it came, was fast; torture so constant that it was amazing any of these people survived more than a day; and no emotional commitment at all. The characters seemed dry. I couldn't get involved with them and as my editor told me, the reader needs to care about the character whether it be hating them or loving them. I didn't feel anything except horror. I didn't care what happened to the people in this book and I found it amazing at some of the things that were done.
I was sorely disappointed with this first book in the trilogy. Although I would like to see what happens, I don't know if I want to spend the money to get the second book. It certainly wasn't anything I expected an erotic version of a romantic story to be about.
The writing was less than stellar and some of the wording in the sex scenes was laughable. I have read quite a bit of erotica in my time and I can honestly say I haven't ever read passages like that.
How can you get involved with an erotic story if there's no emotion? There's a lot of telling and not enough showing, except for the punishments. This book is all about the punishment and not so much anything else. Personally, I think it should have been a story of Beauty and the Beast, not Sleeping Beauty.