Bookshelf Revisited: Rereading the Sleeping Beauty Trilogy

Long before 50 Shades of Grey, Anne Rice wrote an erotic trilogy about Sleeping Beauty under the pseudonym A.N Roquelaure. I read the books sometime in high school, but when I found out she was releasing a fourth book in the series, I decided to reread them to see if they still held up more than 30 years after they were published. What in the hell did I get myself into? [TW for rape and sexual violence and some kinda gross shit.]

Artwork for Anne Rice's Sleeping Beauty trilogyIt’s been about 20 years since I read the books, so my memory was a little hazy. I remembered that in this version, the Prince woke Beauty from her enchanted sleep not by kissing her, but by fucking her, and that she then went off to become his sex slave and got spanked a lot. Somehow this was much more titillating when I hadn’t been exposed to much in the way of erotica aside from reading my mom’s Clan of the Cave Bear books, which are graphic but comparatively tame. As an adult, though… yeesh.

(Side note to 50 Shades fans — stop acting like 16-year-old virgins. Unless you are 16-year-old virgins, in which case go read some of the massive array of much better porn on the internet. I had dialup AOL in my parents’ living room; y’all have no excuse.)

I can’t bring myself to recap the books, but here are some questions and observations I had while reading The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, Beauty’s Punishment, and Beauty’s Release. Since I’ve come this far, I might as well go ahead and read Beauty’s Kingdom as well since I got a free copy from Netgalley, but I need a bit of a break to cleanse my mental palate first.

  • I really wish my library had had the e-books. (Tries not to think about how much previous readers might have enjoyed these books.)
  • Fuck, does this really start with the Prince raping Beauty on page 3??? Nothing like jumping right in to the grossness, right?
  • Of course she’s like instantly dickmatized and is totally OK with being naked from here on out.
  • She’s only 15 and he’s 18??? I’d forgotten that she was underage.
  • OK, her parents the king and queen have no issue with her being taken away to serve as a Tribute in the Prince’s kingdom because when they were young, they were sex slaves too. Ew.
  • I’m so glad there are romance novels these days that don’t rely on Stockholm Syndrome, because damn, Beauty, this fucker just raped you and is carting you off across the countryside naked and spanking you constantly and why are you madly in love with him?
  • Girl, nobody’s vagina is wet that much. And stop calling it a “hungry little sex,” because that’s kinda nasty.
  • How are there like a thousand slaves in the palace who are all princes and princesses within a pretty narrow age range? How many fucking kingdoms exist in this world? And wouldn’t there be a fair number of siblings and cousins in the mix? I need to stop trying to think about this logically, but even for fantasy this is ludicrous.
  • Who knew spanking and bondage could get so boring? I keep falling asleep reading these books.
  • Is everyone in this world bisexual?
  • How do you wind up with a whole kingdom full of doms? Doesn’t a single person think, “Hmmm, maybe it’s a little fucked that we whip people’s asses raw every day?”
  • How do they not get raging STDs?
  • How do they not get pregnant? Or maybe that’s not a problem since no one in this world seems to menstruate. Which is good, with the whole constant nudity thing.
  • They don’t seem to ever go to the bathroom either. Which is good, considering how much time they all spend with butt plugs in place.
  • How do they not have constant scrapes and bruises on their knees from having to crawl everywhere? The book establishes that the Masters aren’t allowed to draw blood or otherwise cause true permanent damage, but just the crawling would fuck me up.
  • Oh my god Prince Alexi needs to shut up. Did we really need a massive section where he tells Beauty about all the torture he’s been put through since becoming a tribute? I guess it’s just an excuse to add some dude sex and lessons on submission.
  • “Banal” and “anal” should rhyme. *falls asleep again*
  • Beauty, you dipshit, why did you get yourself sent to the village on purpose?
  • If your hands are tied behind your back and Prince Tristan’s hands are tied behind his back, how are you riding his dick with your legs around his waist while he’s standing up and you’re both in the middle of a crowd of slaves in a moving cart?
  • Jesus Christ, there are hundreds more slaves in the village. Where are they all coming from??
  • OK, there’s a lot of fucked up shit in this book, but the Ponies are just nasty. Horsetails attached to phalluses and forcibly strapped into the princes’ asses all day long? With the reins attached to the phalluses? Are we supposed to think this is hot?
  • Blah blah, lots of public punishment. Slaves mounted on crosses with wooden dicks up their asses. Yawn.
  • How do they not get sunburned working naked in the village and fields all day long?
  • You’re supposed to see a doctor if your erection lasts more than four hours after talking boner pills, but these dudes are sporting cockstands 24/7. And none of them have a refractory period.
  • Words that have long since ceased to have any meaning: spank, whip, cock, sex, mouth, juices, anus, phallus, strap, crying… you get the picture.
  • Wait, now they’re getting kidnapped and sent off to be slaves of the Sultan?
  • Slaves of the Sultan aren’t considered to be human, and therefore aren’t allowed to speak. This is getting kinda racist.
  • There are slaves literally posed as living statues all over the place. Like, lining the halls and all over the gardens and tied to the bedposts.
  • Why am I still reading? There are so many good books in the world!
  • Beauty, stop falling in love with every cock you see!
  • Third book, third dude narrator to trade chapters (and bodily fluids) with Beauty. Laurent, you’re a sick fucker, and in this world, that’s really saying something.
  • Forced enemas. Sexy!
  • Unlubricated anal fisting! Even sexier.
  • Of course the women in the harem have undergone the pretty extreme version of FGM. And just need some lady lovin’.
  • And Lexius, the guy in charge of the slaves, really just wants to be punished and dominated himself. Good thing Laurent can’t wait to start handing out a physical and psychological beatdown with a side of rape!
  • Wait, the Sultan is the one who taught the Queen about having pleasure slaves? But we already established that the practice has been in place in her kingdom for well over a hundred years! How did an editor not catch that continuity error?
  • And the Queen was fine with Beauty and Laurent and Tristan and three other slaves going to the Sultan… but they’ve been there like two days and the three of them are already getting rescued? But not the others? And they don’t want to leave, but Lexius is begging to go with them. Of course.
  • Randomly, Beauty is getting sent home already, even though she was supposed to serve for two or three years and I think only like two months have passed. And she’s pissed, because she lives to serve and can’t face life without 24/7 humiliation. Even though she’s barely 15!
  • Tristan and Laurent’s unhappiness about leave the Sultan have earned them a one-way ticket to the public pony stables in the village. More horsetail phalluses, yay! But now with even more prancing and eating from troughs.
  • Laurent gets to rape all the other Ponies during their break times. And they love him for it. This book is fucked up.
  • Aw, his dad died and he has to instantly switch from naked Pony time to being the king. That’s a mindfuck.
  • Beauty tries her hand at dominating one of her suitors before sending him on his way to the Queen, advising him to strip and pose as a runaway so he can be a slave too, because he loved it. And somehow despite the thousands of slaves who have been sent from royal families, he’s never heard of the practice.
  • Beauty + Laurent = TWOO WUV. I’m done. Thank god this is over.
  • Anne Rice, you’re a sick fucker.

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[E] Hillary

Hillary is a giant nerd and former Mathlete. She once read large swaths of "Why Evolution is True" and a geology book aloud to her infant daughter, in the hopes of a) instilling a love of science in her from a very young age and b) boring her to sleep. After escaping the wilds of Waco, Texas and spending the next decade in NYC, she currently lives in upstate New York, where she misses being able to get decent pizza and Chinese takeout delivered to her house. She lost on Jeopardy.

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