I remember hating to read back in high school. It was probably because all my teachers made us students toil over horribly written, boring materials that had little to do with the realities we faced every day. And it’s not that we couldn’t appreciate a good fantasy; it’s just that the fantasies we encountered had more to do with socioeconomics and morality than they did with anything fun or exciting. As a result, many adults have no idea what awaits then in the erotic book industry. In fact, some of the best-known movie writers got their start as fiction authors, meaning we should probably start paying a little more attention in class.
Good erotica novels won’t always receive the praises of the people, especially not openly in the mainstream. Only a few books have ever made it into the apple of the public’s eye and, in general, those works are relatively watered down or indicative of the author’s misunderstanding of kink and fetish. The poor execution leads to mistrust, and mistrust leads to missed opportunities. The great writers can get pushed under the radar and the flagrantly can endure in their wake. In other words, excellent literature isn’t hard to find as long as you know where to look.
One such book that’s leading the pack is called “The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty” and it’s actually changing the way our society views sexual expression through masturbation and debauchery. I recently got my hands all over its pages after having it recommended to me by someone I met at a BDSM gathering. My fellow fetishists and I are always looking for bigger and better inspiration, plus my friend said that it was a decent read for anyone with a pulse so how could I resist? It’s not everyday you hear someone suggest something other than “50 Shades” during a conversation about sexy literature. So, did it get me all hot and bothered or was I bored to tears by the first chapter? Well, let’s make sure you all know exactly what I’m talking about first.
Who Is the Author?
The Sleeping Beauty Quartet (as it’s called by fans) is a series of four erotic novels penned by a famous American author. The writer of this book is well-known in the literary and film industries for her work on popular novels that eventually got turned into blockbuster movies. You might even know one of them; it’s called “Interview with a Vampire” and it grossed over $36 million in domestic sales during its opening weekend. Critics are calling Anne Rice one of the best erotica authors of our generation, with top-selling erotica books like “Fifty Shades of Grey” as her only competition. In “The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty,” Anne jots her vivid tale of romance, suspense and kink through a four-part series under the pseudonym “A.N. Roquelaure,” which some speculate is a tip-of-the-hat to her obvious obsession with the fantasy-laden Victorian era (as well as her healthy appreciation for the mysterious).
What Is the Book All About?
This uniquely written series is all about sex, exploration, experimentation, and fantasy. The tale takes place over the course of four distinct books, which include:
- The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty
- Beauty’s Punishment
- Beauty’s Release
- Beauty’s Kingdom
Each one of the books was published in a different year, with Anne’s writing style changing subtly along the way. Throughout the pages, the author takes her readers on a journey of sexy self-discovery as the main character “Beauty” reveals different facets of herself with various partners and conquests. These erotic novels are centered on the BDSM lifestyle, set in a medieval world and loosely based off the iconic fairytale character we all know and love to hate, Sleeping Beauty. Almost every page features a description of an explicit sexual adventure between the protagonist and her lustful counterparts, Alexi, Laurent, and Tristan. Readers get to enjoy a flavorful combination of femdom and maledom scenes while getting lost in vivid imagery involving gay sex, ephebophilia and even pony play.
Critics are raving about the author’s execution of such a mainstream fantasy idea, especially since Sleeping Beauty is such a well-known figure. As it turns out, this book has the main character stripping away various parts of her pre-conceived innocence, leaving behind only traces of the childhood princess we all grew up with. By focusing her style on transforming the details of a familiar folklore, Anne’s alter ego allows readers to find out what happened after the iconic kiss. And instead of Beauty and her Prince Charming living happily ever after, they both start to engage in a series of S/M-style initiations until the culmination of the book(s).
Like I said, reading has never really been my thing. Most of the time, I get bored by the first three or four chapters and then find something better to do. What I appreciated the most out of reading this book is that it kept my attention throughout the entirety of the plot. In fact, I wound up staying awake for far too long several times just to finish the chapter. And to make matters worse, the author likes to leave readers guessing at the end of a chapter so I would skip sleep just to get to place where I could stop and not go nuts. It was like torture, but I loved it so much.
The books themselves are decorated nicely – sophisticated, with no openly sexual imagery on the cover. I felt perfectly fine leaving mine on the living room table when I wasn’t reading it. Visitors just thought I was into some old-school literature and I let them think whatever they wanted. Nobody even so much as asked me about it, and I can truly appreciate that. I mean, how am I, as a grown woman, supposed to explain the fact that I’m reading a book about a character that’s been showcased Disney? And how do you suggest I bring up the fact that this beloved and innocent character is getting fucked four ways from Friday in that book? Just the thought of this novel is kinky enough to get most people wet.
Somewhere around chapter 3 I had to put the book down and click my own mouse for a little while. I brought in some of my favorite sex toys and had a tea party with my ass and pussy, using the descriptions and scenarios on the pages as inspiration. At one point, I asked my partner to read aloud from the book so I could use both my hands. That lasted a whole 10 minutes before we were both in the throws of passion with one another, trying to release some of the sexual tension that had been created by anticipating the plot’s next twist. I didn’t even buy this series to spice up my sex life; I got it to read silently in my bedroom at night when I couldn’t sleep. These things have a way of making a person’s love life unpredictable and I’m pretty sure that’s the idea anyway, so…success.
The Ups and Downs
No book is perfectly written except for the Bible and, although it contains many scenes about sex, it’s not nearly as kinky as “The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty.” We have to let go of our expectations and just take the ride. Anne Rice (excuse me, I mean “A.N. Roquelaure”) has done an excellent job of depicting a wide variety of erotic and somewhat envelope-pushing scenarios while still somewhat staying in line with accepted social norms and average reading levels. However, it’s not a flawless work of literature by any means. Here’s what I think you should know about the book before you attempt to read it:
- Easy to understand language used throughout
- Appropriate for nearly all reading levels
- Provides sensual and/or kinky ideas to individuals and couples
- Plenty of erotic fodder to explore
- Discreet cover art
- Realistic fiction scenes and depictions for better inspiration
- Fit for fetishists
- Ideal for folklore fans
- Four books to read to finish the storyline
- Each book is rather lengthy (about 253 pages)
- Somewhat small print
- Not a completely accurate depiction of BDSM
Very few erotic novels try to do anything but set the scene for unusually hot sex, but Anne Rice’s book, “The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty” has the balls to bring a fresh perspective to an old classic while also setting our loins on fire. The plot is well-defined and easy to follow, the words are understandable yet impactful, and the characters are developed so intently that they’re beyond believable and even likable in many scenarios (even the bad guys). As long as you enjoy reading and don’t mind having to buy more than one book to finish the story, I’d highly recommend this series. Overall, it’s executed in the same great manner that’s already made Ms. Rice a respected author in her niche, meaning you can expect pages and pages of high-quality literature that has the potential to become a movie in the future (fingers crossed).