The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty - erotic book by Audioworks - review by Lara

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Not Disney’s Version of Sleeping Beauty

A beautifully written, engaging story that intertwines erotica with an interesting plot and complex characters. The book doesn’t provide a series of masturbatory fantasies, but it does offer readers ample food for thought about the nature of submission and the content of our fantasies.
wonderful writing, complex characters, interesting plot
sex is so commonplace that it loses its ability to titillate
Rating by reviewer:
useful review
Like many of her fans, I stumbled upon Anne Rice when I discovered Interview with a Vampire as a teenager. While The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty is undeniably Rice’s literary voice, readers expecting to encounter vampire bdsm will be sorely disappointed.

The tone and the complexity of the characters are all Rice’s. The story, however, is borrowed from the Brothers Grimm.

We find Princess Beauty as so many versions of the fairy tale have prepared us to meet her – asleep for a hundred years after falling under the spell of a wicked sorceress. Instead of the happily ever after that comes with the prince’s kiss, Rice uses Beauty’s physical awakening as a metaphor for her sexual awakening.

The Prince claims Beauty as his and, with the approval of her parents, spirits her off to his own kingdom where she is to be trained as a sex slave. Once in this new world, Beauty discovers her passion to serve and her aggressively insistent sexual appetite.

Boy meets girl. Boy takes girl to meet his mother. Girl has ridiculous amounts of kinky sex.

Encapsulating the story in this nutshell might provide a road map to the book’s content, but it doesn’t really reflect how strangely un-erotic I found this work of erotica to be. Given that almost every single page makes some mention of a genital or sexual intercourse, I was stunned to find that not one word actually turned me on.

This isn’t to say that I didn’t like the book. I did. Very much. My expectations for the book, however, didn’t match the reality of the content.

Here’s an example of the content:

“All the long night’s teasing and tormenting of her was maddening her. And then he drove into her that thick sex she had desired from the first instant she had seen it. His thrusts were brutal, strong, as if he too were overcome with denied passion. Her aching sex was filled, her tight nipples throbbing, and she snapped her hips, lifting him as she had lifted the Prince, feeling him fill her, pinion her.”

Here’s an example of my reaction: “Oh. Ok.”

Anne Rice creates a very specific world in her novels and invites her readers to come in and occupy a place in it. I think the best writers do just that and Rice is a very, very good writer.

By stepping into the world, though, the content of that world became completely normal. Hundreds of naked princes and princesses having sex on grassy fields became my standard. Walking on one’s hands and knees became expected. Being constantly dripping wet with sexual excitement was… what else?... completely commonplace.

In making this type of sexuality normal, Rice also took away its erotic thrill for me.

Is it still a good book? Yes, it is. Very much so.

I can’t say with certainty that I’ll re-read it anytime soon. What I can say, though, is that if I do read it, it will be for the book’s literary value and not its ability to turn me on.
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  • Adriana Ravenlust
    Hmm. I am not very fond of Rice's work but I think the premise is interesting. From the snippet you posted, I also fell like "Well, okay." LOL
  • Lara
    The premise really is interesting. I think the jury's still out when it comes to how well she executed the idea. I'm curious as to what other people think. When Rice said she was going to be revising Sleeping Beauty... that's a really tough benchmark to surpass.

    Doesn't that snippet read just like some Harlequin novel? Nothing against Harlequin novels, but my imagination was totally uninspired by the sex scenes. What else can you say but "well, okay"?
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