Top critical review
The Princess and the pee
on 25 July 2016
Anne Rice re-writes the Sleeping Beauty myth, but you can be sure that this version won't be up for the Pixar treatment. It starts fairly conventionally, with The Prince scaling the walls of the enchanted castle to discover Beauty, sleeping soundly in her bedroom. However, he doesn't wake her with a kiss. Indeed, clearly an opportunist (and a rather adolescent one at that) he doesn't wake her at all to begin with and uses this god-sent opportunity to strip the fair maiden naked and have a bit of a fiddle with her lady-parts. The "waking" is performed internally and a beautiful love story ensues...
...Well, no. Actually, this is very much a BDSM scenario and young Beauty is enslaved, tortured, denied and generally forced to do her Prince's rather adolescent bidding. She is also shared among the Prince's family and friends, with the emphasis very much on sexual torture, control and public humiliation. Be warned (if you need to) that you're in for a fair bit of homo-eroticism as well.
I will admit that the writing is of a pretty decent - if rather wooden - quality and the characterisation is ALSO rather plank-like. It is undoubtedly erotic, indeed it is rather pornographic. However, the BDSM aspect is really a particularly specialised subject matter and if you like that sort of thing, you'll like the story. If you prefer your sex to be performed on a more equitable basis, you may find it less arousing. I, personally found The Prince to be a deeply distasteful person and longed for Beauty to rise up and stab him in the face at breakfast with a fork. However, Beauty being the passive, submissive, and profoundly pathetic figure she is made out to be by Rice, failed to satisfy my baser urges and I ended up wishing I could stab HER in the face at breakfast with a fork.
And it goes on. And On. And ON. And there are several more books in the series, god help us.