Before E. L. James and Sylvia Day, there was Anne Rice: Discover Beauty’s Kingdom, the fourth novel in the bestselling Sleeping Beauty series
Mega-bestselling author Anne Rice, writing as A. N. Roquelaure, returns to the mysterious kingdom of Queen Eleanor in this new chapter of her Sleeping Beauty series. When the great queen is reported dead, Beauty and Laurent return to the kingdom they left twenty years before. Beauty agrees to take the throne, but she insists that all erotic servitude be voluntary. Countless eager princes, princesses, lords, ladies, and commoners journey to Beauty’s realm, where she and her husband usher in a new era of desire, longing, and ecstasy. Provocative and stirring, Rice’s imaginative retelling of the Sleeping Beauty myth will be adored by her longtime fans and new readers of erotica just discovering the novels.
This book is intended for mature audiences.
WARNING: THIS IS NOT A BOOK FOR CHILDREN OR EVEN YOUNG ADULTS. IF YOU ARE 18 OR YOUNGER, STOP READING THIS REVIEW RIGHT NOW!
This book is so stupid.
That’s right. I said it. In fact, Anne Rice risks angering me as much as Charlaine Harris did, except that I wasn’t as into the previous Beauty books as I was into the first ten Sookie Stackhouse books. In addition, there are only three predecessors, whereas I had invested the time to read ten of the Sookie books by the time the series took a nosedive.
I have mentioned before that Anne Rice could be an apprentice to the Marquis de Sade, based on the first three books in the Beauty series- The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, Beauty’s Punishment and Beauty’s Release. I warn people about them, letting them know this story is absolutely nowhere near similar to Fifty Shades of Gray, even though it is advertised that way. I also tell people that while there is an intellectual discussion to be had about these books, the message gets lost in the shock.
The last of the original trilogy was published in 1985, thirty years before Beauty’s Kingdom which was released in 2015. A lot has happened since then, including militant political correctness. So how does Anne Rice continue this hard core, erotic, taboo, pornographic fantasy? I’ll tell you- repetition repetition repetition.
Beauty’s Kingdom is so repetitive it drove me batty. The whole theme of Kingdom is consent. Okay, not a bad thing. Beauty and Laurent make it clear that their sex slaves must give complete consent. They make them sign a contract. They confirm this verbally. They make sure the slaves know they can leave at any time. They have a six month trial period after which there is a confirmation of service. And it goes on and on and on and on…
And then when a decision or observation is made, three or four people must make a statement in confirmation. And then it is brought up again a few more times later on for good measure. It’s quite tiring.
I usually don’t get into an analysis of the author unless I think it is relevant to my review. Here, I think it may be.
Anne Rice published the first three books in the Beauty series in 1983, 1984 and 1985. Rice returned to the Catholic Church in 1998 after decades of self-avowed atheism (Wikipedia). The last in the original Interview with a Vampire series was published in 2003. In 2005 and 2008, her first two Christian fiction books were published. It seemed she had found God, which she did in 1998 as mentioned above, and intended to make a break into Christian fiction. Then all of a sudden in 2010, Rice broke with Christianity as an institution; in 2014, Prince Lestat was published and in 2015, Beauty’s Kingdom was published. Don’t fret, another book in the Christ the Lord series is in progress.
Maybe I am being too skeptical and Rice is genuine in all her conversions; I am certainly in no position to judge, nor is anyone else for that matter. It just feels so much like money plays a part in all this. I purchased The Prince Lestat but haven’t read it yet. I obviously read Beauty’s Kingdom and it was awful. The original trilogy was good in my humble opinion and had the perfect ending; why mess with that? Sadly, the only answer that makes sense to me is money. I really hope The Prince Lestat isn’t as bad as Beauty’s Kingdom.
Finally, what do you do when you have successfully shocked your reader in the first three politically incorrect books in a series but you write a fourth against all common sense and need a new shocker, one that is more with the current political climate? You end with a big politically correct, all gender inclusive shocker and make two of the characters male, with breasts, that lactate. Yep, you read that correctly.
END OF SPOILER
I’m having a hard time finding interviews with Anne Rice about Beauty’s Kingdom. I found a short one on a blog but Rice was not asked any truly probing questions, so it’s difficult to get a better idea of what her true motivation is in going back to the Vampire and Beauty series. I’d like to take her at her word, that it is simply about more to tell, but it’s difficult.
Oh yeah, and there’s still a lot, and I do mean a lot, of spanking.
If you are not sure and you read the original three, don’t take my word for it, read Beauty’s Kingdom for yourself. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.
And I want to end the review, warning once again that-
THIS IS NOTHING LIKE FIFTY SHADES OF GRAY!
Reviewed by Christina
September 6, 2015