Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Book Spotlight: The Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure aka Anne Rice

It's been almost 30 years since the Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by Anne Rice was published and shocked the sensibilities of most readers. I have never read this trilogy and held off because I've heard that some disturbing and WTFckery sex acts occur. But since Plume has re-released this series with new covers, mainly because of the success of Fifty Shades of Grey, they were kind enough to send me the trilogy to read, I thought why not bite the bullet (or perhaps in this case, the strap, and give it a read?)

But then again I have to respect Anne, based on this statement and her reason for writing these books: (from Wikipedia)

"The trilogy was written in the 1980s when many feminists denounced pornography as violation of women's rights, but Rice firmly believed that women should have the freedom to read and write whatever they pleased, and considered the trilogy her political statement."

Interesting facts about this trilogy:

- Anne was able to secure the publishing contract for her next erotic novel Exit to Eden (1985) with an advance of $35,000 from Arbor House.

- The trilogy is included in the American Library Association's list of "100 most frequently challenged books" of the 1990's.

From the NY Times Books: "A spokeswoman for Plume said the publisher had recorded a sharp rise in sales of the Ms. Rice's trilogy in recent months. Sales in the first six months of 2012 were twice those throughout all of 2011. Plume said it would print 350,000 copies of the newly designed books, titled ''The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty,'' ''Beauty's Release'' and ''Beauty's Punishment."

''In the '80s when these books were published, people really didn't want to talk about them,'' Ms. Rice said. ''It was viewed as an outrageous thing to do. The gays were the only people speaking about sexual liberation.''

She said that the empowerment of women today had allowed them to freely acknowledge enjoying erotic novels. ''Women have just as much right to pornography as men do, and I'm talking about literary porn, erotica,'' she said. ''If a woman wants to read about being overwhelmed by a pirate, that's her right.''

For those who have read these books, are they as disturbing and shocking as I've heard or pretty tame compared to what's being published as erotica today?

Synopsis: 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.

Synopsis: This sequel to The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, the first of Anne Rice's elegantly written volumes of erotica, continues her explicit, teasing exploration of the psychology of human desire. Now Beauty, having indulged in a secret and forbidden infatuation with the rebellious slave Prince Tristan, is sent away from the Satyricon-like world of the Castle. Sold at auction, she will soon experience the tantalizing punishments of "the village," as her education in love, cruelty, dominance, submission, and tenderness is turned over to the brazenly handsome Captain of the Guard. And once again Rice's fabulous tale of pleasure and pain dares to explore the most primal and well-hidden desires of the human heart.

Synopsis: This most explicit, erotic series reaches its culmination as The Erotic Adventures of Sleeping Beauty come to an unforgettable close. 



Dana said...

I remember a friend read one of these books in highschool. After being scarred by a passage that included clitoral piercing I just kind of figured these books weren't for me (which I still stick to). I'm excited to see what you think though!


Mireya said...

I have read them 2-3 times. There is fisting, there are m/m encounters, there is intercourse, there is BDSM, there is the use of dildos, basically nothing that you haven't seen in current erotic romance. Is there anything different? well, there is a "sport" called the briddle something or other that I haven't seen anywhere else. But I know you've read your share of erotic romance, so I seriously doubt you'll be OMG over anything.

All this being said, this is Anne Rice, the queen of description. If you like her writing style, you should be fine and not get bored. Additionally, the trilogy is not romance per se though it does have some romantic elements. Last but not least, it is a fantasy, if you take it as that, you should be fine as well. I know a lot of people haven't liked them, and I've read some comments from those into the BDSM lifestyle who consider the books insulting. I read them before I discovered erotic romance, and the last time I read the trilogy, was shortly after I started reading erotic romance. Personally, I can't say that it had me going "OMG" in a bad way, ever. I liked it from the first, otherwise I wouldn't have re-read it.


Mireya said...

P.S. Regarding the "pony play" it's not how you described it in your post (at least I think it was you who mentioned that in a previous blog article, I apologize if it wasn't you). I don't want to spoil it but suffice it to say the "ponies" in the books do take the place of real ponies as it pertains to transportation. I'll leave it at that. Some things may seem offputting to some, but since this book has elements of BDSM, I didn't find certain things offputting.


KB/KT Grant said...

Dana: I've read some of the passage from the three books and there's a lot of fun with the butt-butt,if you catch my meaning?

Mireya: After reading Tiffany Reisz'z The Siren and The Angel, I don't think I'll be too shocked what I read in these books. And I adored both of them. :)

mepamelia said...

I read the first one years ago and got BORED. Abso-freakin-lutly bored out of my skull because they may have beautiful prose and lots and lots of sex and bondage and sado-masochism out the whazoo, but I never cared about the characters enough to want to finish that many pages about them. It just read like sex scene after sex scene with people I didn't want to be around! They're hardcore and titillating for sure, but they just didn't gel for me. I know lots of people love them though and I think they're definitely worth checking out.

infogenium said...

They are worth checking out but very emotionally cold and as stated before they are not romances. I borrowed the books from the local library a number of years ago and also the audio cassette (that's how long ago) only to find it was narrated by Elizabeth Montgomery...weird weird weird! I kept hearing "Samantha" say really really dirty things!