Beauty's Release - book by Plume Books - review by Lara

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Happily Ever After

In the third and final installment in Anne Rice’s Sleeping Beauty trilogy, Princess Beauty and some of her fellow slaves are kidnapped by bandits and brought to a seductive Sultan in a faraway land. Not surprisingly, more spankings ensue. Read this book to complete the series and discover each character’s own happily ever after. You might not walk away from it sexually fulfilled, but the story will stay with you long after the pages have been closed.
wonderful writing, complex characters, interesting plot
sex is so commonplace that it loses its ability to titillate
Rating by reviewer:
useful review
If you made it through The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty and Beauty’s Punishment, it would be the world’s most ridiculous form of masochism not to read the third and final book in the series.

Beauty’s Punishment ended with Beauty and four fellow slaves having been captured by bandits and tossed in a ship headed for whereabouts unknown. Beauty’s Release begins with the slaves’ arrival in a distant sultanate where they are to be treated by their masters as gorgeous and rare objects of pleasure.

Where they were once princes and princesses adopting a role, in this new land they are seen as mute animals – to be petted and indulged, but not for a moment considered rational or human.

“The young silk-robed boys had even brushed her sleek brown hair and massaged her buttocks and back with their strong fingers, as if such irascible little beasts as we must be soothed in this manner. Of course, they had stopped soon enough when they realized the soft shadow of brown curly hair between Elena’s legs was moist, and that she could not help but move her hips against the silk of the grooming mattress, so excited was she by their touch.”

Upon arriving, the five slaves begin their service – alternating between moments of extreme pleasure and unprecedented pain. Their time with the Sultan is interrupted by a furtive, successful attempt to return them to the Queen’s kingdom where they are then reunited with their former lives and the stage is set for their stories to take their final turn.

What had made the previous two books work for me is their complete separation with any sort of reality that I had previously known. Beauty and her fellow slaves occupied a fairy tale kingdom – one that did not have a name or politics or location.

That dreamy vagueness of the particulars disappeared in the third book and I would say that the series is weaker because of it. No longer is the Queen’s kingdom simply that. It’s now Medieval Europe. The sultanate is specifically called Arabia.

In the arms of the Sultan’s harem, Beauty discovers that the woman have had their clitorises removed and labia butchered.

“Beauty was silent. She knew now why the women of the harem had found her such a curiosity, why they had delighted in her feeling. And her hatred of the Sultan and of all the Lords of the palace became something dark and full of anguish.”

I agree that genital mutilation is a reprehensible act. What I am less clear on is whether or not it belongs in an erotic retelling of a fairy tale. If I am fully entrenched in a fictional world, mention of the real world is a jarring return to reality that, ultimately, detracts from the book itself.

Regardless of these individual weaknesses, Anne Rice’s retelling of Beauty’s story is engrossing and the entire trilogy is very easy to read.

Apart from the sexually explicit content, I find it difficult to see the books as traditional erotica – works of fiction specifically designed to sexually excite the reader. If you are willing to broaden your understanding of either literature or erotica, however, there is much to enjoy in the series.

Rice asks some fascinating questions. Is there really a difference between pleasure and pain? Can such a thing as free will exist when our passions are so easily trained? Is genuine submission akin to a religious experience?

The answers to these questions are entirely in the hands of the reader.
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  • C4ss
    Thanks for the review.
  • LittleBird
    Wonderful review!
  • Lady Neshamah
    thanks for the review
  • Mihoshi4301
    Thanks for the review.
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